Yesterday I had to go to a&e for a wound check on both my leg that got infected after self harming and to check Tuesday’s self harm wounds on my arm. As I arrived at a&e the nurse I come face to face with is someone that I knew from school, she was in my ex’s year and when I was with my ex we were all regularly in the same crowd in the pub at the weekends. Then she fell pregnant and about six months later I fell pregnant. So straight away I felt major anxiety starting to stir up as she was all like “Hi! how are you? I haven’t seen you in ages! How are you doing?!” in a really friendly way and I really really wanted to make up some excuse about why I was there but the department was empty and with my best fake smile I said I was “doing OK thanks” and asked her how her two kids were getting on.
So we stand talking general shit for 5 or 10 minutes and then of course she asks what she can do for me. And I then notice another nurse, one I hadn’t seen before, and for a brief moment thought maybe it would be OK and this girl would get the other nurse to see me. So I mumble that I was there for a wound check and she’s all like “oh no! what happened?” like self harm was the last thing on her mind and I just kinda said something like “you should have a card that I’d to come back today” so she said she would go and check and for me to take a seat.
Now the little office where the nurses sit is right in the waiting room and she obviously came across my card and had a read of it. Then all I can hear is whispering, her whispering that she “knows me” and then one of them saying something along the lines of “she’s been here a lot for this, look at her file” and I felt sick with anxiety, I just wanted to run straight out the door, but before I got a chance the nurse (the one I know) comes and asks me if I want to come through to the treatment room.
I totally clammed up and just couldn’t say anything as I saw her reading the notes from Tuesday. The senior charge nurse who saw me on Tuesday said she would be on yesterday so I thought I’d see her again, but it turned out she had been working an early shift and I arrived late afternoon when the next shift had started. Anyway, this girl/nurse that I know must have been able to see I had gone totally quiet, and before she started looking at any of my wounds she pulled her chair over and sat next to me and said, “look I know that we know each other and I know this might be feeling really awkward for you, but remember this is confidential and even though I know you outside of work I’m never allowed to tell anyone that you attended here” – I managed a sort of smile but still couldn’t seem to get words out my mouth – so she carried on, “we live in a really small town and it’s inevitable that one day a person will come to a&e for whatever reason and happen to know the nurse on a personal basis, so please please be reassured that I am not going to judge you, I’m treating you as I would any other patient.”
But still the anxiety has taken over my ability to speak and all I seem able to do is nod my head and put these “thank you for being understanding” type smiles on. So she then asks me if I would prefer for the other nurse to treat me because I’m clearly finding this really uncomfortable, and finally I managed to find my voice again and said that it was OK, she knew now and it just felt a bit awkward but it was OK I was happy for her to treat me.
Firstly she checked my arm wound and as I took my arm out of my sleeve I couldn’t look at her face as all the scars, one by one, started to appear. Scars running from my wrist area all the way up to my shoulder. Evidence that this hadn’t been a “one off” and I’d clearly been doing it for years. But she didn’t say anything, she just took the dressing off and said it looked like it was healing well, she cleaned it and put a fresh dressing on. Then she said “right let’s have a look at how this leg is healing” and as it was down my calf muscle area that I cut she had me lie on my stomach so she could see it better. And that’s when she started asking me if I’d been given a diagnosis, how long had all this been going on for me, did I feel better after I’d self harmed… and because I was lying facing a wall and she was behind me I managed to open up a little bit and tell her some things about my mental health. Then I told her about the Uni course and how I was trying to find positive things in life and she said that sounded really good and she hoped that I would stick at it. I said I hoped so too. She then asked me to go back up on Sunday morning when she would be on and so would senior charge nurse so I’d know in advance who would be seeing me.
In the end I left feeling a lot calmer than when I went in, but still really awkward knowing now that someone “in real life” knows what I’ve done to my body. I didn’t feel judged by her at all, she was really nice about everything, I guess the time had to come living in such a small town and with it being a small hospital that one day I would come across a professional who I knew outside of their work. Well… at least she knows now I guess.
I then went to the supermarket to stock up on another few days of fresh meat and green leafy vegetables and lettuce and prawns and water. I think this is day 5 of the low carbing, I’m sure it was Monday I started, and it’s really testing me a lot. I have this big part of me screaming that I cannot stick to this much longer, it is too restrictive, why don’t I do a low calorie diet instead and lose weight slower but feel a lot better. The thought of just eating this extremely restricted number of foods for another week or two just makes me feel blah. The headaches every night are no fun at all. The constant taste of meat in my mouth makes me feel sick. But I hate giving up on things and I’m almost through my first week. One more week after that and then I can introduce tiny amounts of carbs into my diet, I just need to get through the first two weeks with pretty much zero carbs to jumpstart my body into burning fat rather than sugars for energy. Energy that is totally non-existent at the moment.
My Dad phoned yesterday to say he is off work today and was going to come down about 1pm and do some more painting. It’s just the bathroom that needs finished off then all the skirting boards. I asked him could he come on Saturday instead, I don’t know why but I just knew I didn’t want anyone in my space today. But he was insistent that he was coming down today because all the woodwork/skirting was going to take him a couple of days and the bathroom would take a little while as well and he knows I have the woman coming on Monday from Child Befrienders and was all like “don’t you want to have everything nice, have all the painting done for her coming?” and I do… and I’m really really grateful and appreciative of all the help my Dad has given me, but I just feel like I need an alone day and everything looks messy, I have Uni stuff lying around everywhere and I know I need to tidy before he gets here but first I need to eat some more fucking meat and yeah…
I just feel like my emotions are a bit all over the place at the moment. Last night I was doing a lot of random emotional outbursts and crying a lot again for no reason.
I’m thinking I might just make up some excuse when he gets here as to why I need to go out and just go and take the dogs a walk for as long as I can manage to walk for.
But I need to stick around until the gas meter guy comes which is supposed to be anywhere between noon and 4pm.
Everything just feels a bit blah, I could really do with trying to get another couple of hours sleep as my sleep was really broken again last night but it’s almost 11am now and I have 2 hours in which to cook some food, have a shower, tidy the place up and be ready for my Dad appearing, in fact the gas guy may appear in an hour so I have even less time.
I just want this day to end and it’s not even begun.