Following on from my last post not a lot has happened but at the same time so much has happened.
I am much better in myself and am able to stay awake a lot longer (I have glandular fever) however the throat is still really sore and I am still exhausted after doing anything that doesnt involve lying in my bed all day. I am feeling much better though and imagine in the next 4 weeks I will be back to normal.
Only problem is I have missed a crazy amount of school. I think it is 5 weeks and I worked out thats something like 120 lessons I’ve missed and I’m still not ready to go back. Exam period starts in 8 weeks meaning in 8 weeks I would have to catch up on 120 lessons (and counting), learn all of the new stuff when I go back and do hours and hours of revision. At the moment I can hardly stay awake after a few hours of being out of the house.
The decision has been made that I wont return to school this year and I will redo the year 12 next year when I am in a better state to do so. This is all well and good for everyone else and I know it is good for me in the long run but it is not a nice thought.
Not a nice thought to be able to hardly see your friends for 6 months and then when you do so, they are stressing about exams and you are not able to be stressed with them. I have hardly seen them as it is while I have been ill. They have come to visit me as much as they possibly can and I have to understand that they have their own lives and schoolwork to get on with but with me not having much of a life and having no schoolwork to do it is really really really difficult.
I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I wont be seeing much of them even when I do go back next year and I just have to think that it is the only way forward if I do want to do medicine when I go to university.
I have another 6 months until I start back at school now and I have to think of ways to keep myself occupied. I initially thought a job and I think that in a month or 2 I may be able to get some sort of part time job somewhere so at least I am earning some money. Or maybe I can find a way of making money online doing surveys or something I dont know…
At the moment it is about getting it straight in my head that I won’t be able to see my friends much. Also my boyfriend may be moving an hour away which is killing me inside (eventhough I wouldnt tell him that as it is basically his only option) he still has to travel here every day for his job but it means I will only be able to see him a few days and for a shorter amount of time as he would have to travel back. Also wouldnt see him much on weekends.
I’m sure once ive got my head around it all I will be fine it just seems like a lot of things and big decisions are happening all at once and being stuck in the house by yourself all day only leads you to overthink things and end up feeling like this.
Anyways, I’m off.
So it has been one crazy month. One day shadowing a doctor in a hospital to the next day being rushed into hospital myself!
I am not an ill person at all and if I think back there has never been a point in my life where I have been extremely poorly. However with what started as just a sore throat has completely changed my whole year.
I was taken to the doctors with a sore throat one day and diagnosed with Acute Tonsillitis and then 3 days later I am lying on an examination table with drips connected here there and everywhere!
Now I’m not having a go at the NHS at all and I’m completely aware that there are just too many ill people and not enough hospital beds! But spending 40 something hours on a doctors examination table is not nice. To be honest I didn’t know if I was coming or going, my temperature was 40 degrees and I couldn’t eat or drink. The ear, nose and throat doctor said that they had never seen tonsils as big as mine there was no gap at the back of my throat. I couldn’t even talk!
After 2 days I was finally put into a little ward and kept there for a night. I was on such high steroids and painkillers that I was actually able to eat without feeling pain which ended up giving me a false sense of being better. I was released from hospital and as soon as the steroids stopped working I was rushed back for another 3 days of drips and blood tests and uncomfortable beds!
It has been a very eye opening experience and definitely made me realise how hard doctors and nurses work. It has given me a true insight into the world of medicine and made me want to be a doctor more than anything as they sure worked some miracles on me.
One of the worst things about the whole experience was the needles! I was never scared of needles until a few years ago when a nurse failed to take my bloods multiple times and now I am terrified. It became apparent that I just have bad veins! So this time I was sat there holding onto my dads hand crying my eyes out while a nurse tried not once or twice but 5 times to put a cannula into my vein in order to give me medication (since I couldn’t swallow anything.) I can’t really remember it but I know she called me a “vampire without the red lips” as the colour just completely escaped my body. I was the same colour as my white t-shirt!!
Once I was on my drip it was just a case of waiting in the uncomfortable chair until I was better to return home and control it there. I was then diagnosed with Glandular Fever which was the reason for the Tonsillitis being so bad. This was a bit of a shock as I realised what a long recovery process I had ahead of me.
Coming home from hospital was amazing and my 3 incredible friends had filled my room with bright balloons and I had a bouquet of flowers from the boyfriend. It was so lovely to see how people think about you and the amount of get well soon cards I’ve had is crazy!
It is so so so hard recovering from this. The only thing I can do in order to get better is stay in bed. This is my 4th week of being stuck in bed with nothing to do now. Most of the day I am sleeping. I am constantly exhausted and one trip to the shop the other day and I suffered for days. Being such a busy person normally it is so hard to just lie here having no energy what so ever. I am normally busy every single day out doing something and when I’m not out then doing school work or playing the piano etc.
I have been very lucky to have such amazing and supportive friends and family and my boyfriend has been here every single day taking naps with me and watching endless movies. He must be so bored but it is all he can do and he hates seeing my like this. I am so pale and feel completely lifeless. He is so good to me. I don’t know how he comes over every day knowing all he will be doing is lying here quietly with me. He says he doesn’t think he’s helping but he doesn’t realise how much he is doing just waiting out the illness with me- there is no way I could have done this alone.
It is almost like there is a fog over my brain. For example the other day I attempted to get out some school work as I have missed so much school but I just resorted to tears as my brain couldn’t cope and it just seemed like a jumble of words.
That is when I realised that I am never going to be able to catch up on all of the school work that I have missed. I am in my A Levels now and having missed 4 weeks of school, which works out at almost 100 lessons I have missed. There is no way I can catch up with that considering the workload. So all down to this illness I am now having to take an extra year to complete my A Levels. I will now only be doing 2 subjects when I return to school and then next year go back to 4 and take a 3rd year to complete exams. This is not how I wanted to start my working life and I definitely didn’t want to be going to university a year late. But I am such a stress head that I would be unable to complete the year now having missed so much vital information just a few months before all of the big exams. It is the best way forward in my situation just such a shame since I work so hard for school and I finally had a goal set that I wanted to work towards medicine and it all seems to have been stalled.
Everyone is getting annoyed at me because I keep asking to go out and to do things because I’m so fed up of being stuck in bed but I really can’t!! I’m currently trying to convince everyone that I am well enough to spend the weekend at my boyfriends house just laying on the sofa all weekend so I am in a different environment!! I will have to wait and see. For the time being it is back to sleep and time fore some more rest!
Anyways, I’m off.
For the past 2 years I have been volunteering at a weekly session at a disability centre in my local area called ‘Touch Trust’. It is something that is now very close to my heart and I am extremely grateful that I have been able to attend and be a part of it for such a long time. One of the main highlights of my time at Touch Trust so far is James. He welcomed me with open arms and a beautiful smile from my very first session there and continued his love every single week that I saw him.
James is an inspiration to me. I am so happy to have been a part of his life and to have been able to experience his beautiful heart and his beautiful soul. Every time I have been to Touch Trust over the past two years I have looked forward to seeing him and getting a ‘James Hug’ as I liked to call it. He would wrap his arms around me so tight with love that I could hardly breathe. His mum would almost have to prise him away from me – but I loved it. I loved the fact that he was so loving and caring.
He would let me play the drums with him and I would watch him perform little plays with his mum. My favourite part was to see him dance and join in with him!! James and I would spin around again and again until I would almost fall over and it was just amazing! James didn’t talk, but he didn’t need to. You could understand just what he was trying to tell you. He could communicate to you with his hands and most importantly with his beautiful smile.
James’ mother is also extremely inspirational to me. Looking after him must have taken a lot of work due to his needs but I have never, not even once seen her without a smile upon her face. This is despite the fact that she faces tough medical problems herself. She is so strong and full of love that you just feel love being in her presence. She is a wonderful woman who I have so very much respect for and I am so sorry to see what she is going through.
I only saw James once a week, however I often found myself thinking about him mid week and seeing things that reminded me of him that I would tell him about in the following Saturday session. My favourite reminder of James was charity shops. I thought of him every time I went into one or even walked past one in our local town- as his mum had told me that he could spend hours looking around a charity shop for books, CDs, DVDs, all to add to his extensive collection.
I was extremely saddened to hear that this wonderful boy’s life had been taken away from him. I didn’t even know what to think – I had been thinking about him that morning hoping he would come to the session that day as he had not attended for a while due to his mums illness. I can’t even imagine how his family are feeling. I only spent one hour a week with James and felt full of his love I can’t even comprehend how people who got to experience his love every single day could feel.
James was a beautiful ball of shining light that will continue to shine and stay in my heart along with the hearts of many others and I am so sad that his life has been taken away from him at such a young age- I just ask that you all keep James and his wonderful family in your thoughts and prayers and most importantly appreciate every moment of your life- as that is just what James did!!
I’m off, Beth x
If anybody is touched by James’ story and would like to donate to Touch Trust in memory of him, please feel free to do so.