For a split second, I saw the deeply concerned look she gave me before she masked it behind ‘adulthood’. Even though my reason told me to give my mother the usual “I will be fine” and “trust the doctors”-speach, something just wasn’t the same. The fact was that I didn’t know. The doctors didn’t either. The nurses spoke about it when they thought I was sleeping. The specialists brought along their students to, what I later realised, was a unique opportunity for them to experience a rare case in Emergency.
Instead of acting my proper age, I became 5 years and I just wanted to hold my mothers hand, close my eyes and wish it all away. I found it difficult to navigate what was done with the best of intentions for my situation and what was a health system using my situation as a “learning opportunity” leaving me with a feeling of being used.
I have been the relative looking helplessly as my loved ones vanished into that big dark hole our healthcare system can seem to be. I have also been the admitted with the relatives trying to hold on for me.
As the relative, I felt left behind with a responsibility that wasn’t mine to carry. As the patient, I felt left behind by a system that made me vow to do whatever it takes for me and my loved ones not to be admitted at specific hospitals without an adult present.
For months, I’ve been grasping on to every opportunity to take my adulthood back and leave behind that 5 year old girl I became in those uncomfortable hospital beds. I have taken every chance of getting rid of the feeling, that nurses looked at me as if I wanted to stay there. As I write this, I am reminded of the looks I was getting by employees who didn’t know how it felt like seeing your life crumble due to a diagnosis no one seemed to know that much about but didn’t want to admit to. They looked at me with an expression that said, why are you even here? We have cases in here worse than you?
I am now stepping into the new year with a small hope of being able to dream big again. But the experience will always be imprinted in me as that time I became the one relatives fight for. That time that forced me to continuously ask for help – not necessarily a bad life-experience, but it has broken something in me. Challenges I previously met with a “let’s figure it out”, I now consider with slight scepticism before I even dare myself to consider doing it myself. We are slowly leaving these events behind us with prayers that it will not be like that again.
And yet. I’ll probably never forget those eyes of a mother trying not to consider the thought of loosing her daughter laying in that bed in the midst of hospital personal that ‘just didn’t really know’.