Friday, 5 October 2012

Heaven and Hell

Life is one big mystery. Not one person can predict what tomorrow may bring... what the next second may bring. We all have those days where we think we've cracked it, where we think we've figured out what the route of our own individual path is, and are certain of where it's going to take us... but it only takes a second, a millisecond for all that certainty to be thrown on its head.
Life isn't boring, it's not meant to be predictable. We don't want to look back on our years and just see a pattern, a routine. We want to look back and see the fights, the heartaches, the struggles, the tears and then remember the triumphs, the victories, the smiles and laughter that follow. 
Life is a gift, and it is precious. It only throws at us what it knows we can cope with. Everything we go through makes us who we are. We need to embrace the good times and the bad, and not let anything stop us from living.
We only get this one life, so live it... and love it.

The morning with the psychologists had really taken it out of me, so while my family milled about in my small side room that I now called my temporary home, I drifted in to a deep sleep, that couldn't even be disturbed by the phsyios, who had come to collect me for the days session. Mum woke me gently, and I automatically let out an exasperated groan when I saw the physios eagerly waiting for me at the end of my bed. 
Everything about me was tired. My body was tired. My brain was tired. I just couldn't be bothered. The  physios were so happy all the time, so excited to work and make progress. It was annoying me that day.  I didn't want to work, I didn't want to smile and be happy. I wanted to sleep. I had no patience for myself never mind anyone else, and I didn't want to be told that I was, 'Doing a great job,' and 'Doing so well!' Because I wasn't. I was broken. These people in navy blue uniforms, who's bodies worked fine, who didn't have a clue what it felt like to not be able to feel your arm and leg properly, were not who I wanted to spend my time with at that moment. I didn't want to spend my time with anyone... I wanted to sleep.
My feelings aside, the politeness that had been drilled in to me by my parents from toddler state, betrayed me and took over my bitterness. I swallowed back a heavy sigh and with some help, heaved myself in to a sitting position on the edge of the bed, and slipped on my granny style pink slippers, that supported my whole foot.  
I was nervous. I'd been in the hospital well over a week and I hadn't had to think about going up and down stairs. My days had been spent on flat even ground and that was proving more than enough of a challenge. As the phyios, Mum and I made our way to the nearest stair well at snails pace, I felt my heart start to race slightly, and the back of my neck began to feel hot. I was panicking. What if I couldn't do it. My breathing quickened as I thought about the challenge that lay ahead. What would happen if i couldn't walk up and down stairs? Would they ever let me go home? 
We walked past the different bays on the ward that housed such poorly people. Before hand I had avoided this area of the ward, not really wanting to come in contact with such sad sights. I couldn't help but stare.  There was nobody on this ward that was even close to my age. My heart ached as I saw the state that stroke had left some of these elderly people. Their independence ripped away from them. Being fed by tubes, surrounded by pillows so they didn't hurt themselves, their eyes staring, slipping in and out of focus. It made me shudder. What I was seeing could have been my fate... but it wasn't. I had to get my head in to gear... I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. 
OK stairs... Give me your worst!
We entered the echoey stare well. I looked up between the banisters and saw the stairs wrap in a spiral. I felt dizzy at the height the stairs rose to, and the toes on my right foot seemed to grip tight to the bottom of my slipper, as though my subconscious had made the decision that I wasn't moving from the spot where i stood. The stairs looked pale, cold and hard. Their right angled edges looked sharp and dangerous. They were made of solid concrete. The bannister that creeped and curved up along the staircase was black, shiny and thin. I didn't trust it... Would it save me if I slipped?.. Could I save myself?
I placed my hand on the rail and the student physio wrapped one arm around my lower back and gripped my other hand in his free one. The rule of the stairs was, 'Good foot to heaven, bad foot to hell...' I placed my good leg on the first stair and gripping tight on to the phsyio dragged my left leg to follow... I'd done it. I repeated the same actions around eight times till I'd reached the top of the first set of stairs. I felt my body de-tense and my teeth unclenched themselves. Then, gripping to the physio once more, i turned around and stared at my Mum. I'd made it up the stairs, one step at a time.... I now had to make it down... Looking down, those eight steps that i'd just climbed now felt like I was staring from the top of Everest. I started to shake and my balance was letting me down. I pleaded with the student physio to not let go of me, and he promised he wouldn't. With the sight of those elderly patients who bodies lay there motionless, etched in to my brain, I shivered in a deep breath and let my left leg fall on to the top step with my right leg following it at lightening speed... 
Left leg down, right leg followed.
Left leg down, right leg followed.
Left leg down, right leg followed.
... and finally I was on flat ground once again.
I'd done it! I'd tackled the stairs and won! 
Still leaning on the student physio, with my legs shaking uncontrollably, I grabbed my Mums hand and smiled... I smiled a genuine, happy smile. 


  1. Actually wanted to clap my hands and shout "u did it" (pinkboots on twitter) x

  2. Your physio stories remind me of my aunty I live with who has had a brittle bone disease from birth she only knows of one other person in Britain to suffer from something similiar but not the same. Only one doctor has ever understood her condition but he was old when she was a child, she always tells me her stories of physio and hospital and living with her I also see this everyday and reading it on your blog and knowing you let people know how it is is incredible. But you just have to remember this happened to you for a reason and that reason being probably because you're strong enough to cope even though you don't think it most days. My aunty despite her condition and barely being able to walk without getting fractures cares for my elderly grandparents and my gran is chronically ill who has to be lifted in and out of bed. So you can do it Becky, keep smiling :)

  3. I tease my therapist that I don't mind going down stairs as much as going up. I told him, going down, you will get to where you are going, one way or the other! He just rolls his eyes.
    - jenni

  4. You are an inspiration to us all...Keep it up!