Last week I had a really surreal experience. I met two of the doctors and two of the nurses who looked after me in hospital last year.
Meeting up with them, in the hospital itself was both a difficult yet cathartic experience. There is a lot about June and July last year that I don’t remember, thank goodness. There is also a lot of that time that is burned into my brain by severe PTSD. I had moments last week where I experienced strange déjà vu like feelings. Where I had to remind myself this was a year later, and not June 2016. I also remembered little memories that I hadn’t remembered before, and which the staff could confirm to me actually happened.
Being able to speak to 4 members of the staff who were primary carers for me was vitally important in trying to recognize the extent of the recovery I’ve made.
I must admit that I literally didn’t remember one doctor or nurse who looked after me after I was rushed into emerg. They were able to talk about how very seriously ill I was when I arrived there. They spoke about how worried they were about me when I first arrived and how amazed they were at how I am now.
The other doctor and nurse looked after me during my recovery. I asked the nurse what she could tell me about how different I am now to when she first met me. Her insight was invaluable. She told me “you couldn’t breathe when I first met you, our main concern was to keep you breathing. You couldn’t talk or communicate and even when you started to be able to communicate you couldn’t hold eye contact, your thoughts were very mixed up, you had to be reminded where you where and why. Your progress is remarkable. To see you smile, to see you laugh, to see the real person that we knew was in there, that’s such an amazing thing. We rarely get to see a patient a year along the road, and your recovery has been remarkable.”
It’s still hard to believe how seriously ill I was just a year ago. Not being able to remember the initial aftermath of that trauma a year ago saved my life, I believe. I don’t know if I could cope with being able to remember it all. The brain is an fascinating organ, it can protect us from memories that are too traumatic to remember.
I know I’m still recovering. I’m not fully recuperated. I’ve received therapy, including grief therapy, to get to where I am now, but it’s an ongoing process. I live each day knowing that my wife died. I live each day knowing that my life will never be the same as it was before. That there is something forever changed. I will never get over losing my wife, but I know she would want me to be the best I could be and I try so hard to fulfil that for her.
Dealing with the issue of being homeless is just one element of the many difficulties I’ve faced in the last year. Grief, trauma, serious illness, and the road to recovery have all been major factors in my life.
I’m determined to get myself fully back on my feet. To get my immigration issues completed, to get a job, a home, and be able to live independently are goals I have set myself.
I want to thank the staff at the QE2 hospital for their work. They take people who are at their most broken and piece them back together again. They are worth their weight in gold.
UPDATE: I’m still trying to raise the $200 needed to be able to have my immigration medical. If you feel you can help me out, I have a gofundme page at gofundme.com/2t6y7ds4 and any help is gratefully received. Namaste