"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.” Isaac Asimov
I am sitting at the desk in my room up on a hilltop away from the rest of the world. You cannot even see the lake that curls around the building because of the heavy dense fog today. The weather perhaps best matches my kind of mental state - heavy and low. I am on day four of my rehab adventure and things are not going quite the way i had intended. I don´t know if my expectations were wrong and I was off the mark by expecting a happy go lucky place where the rooms were like a hotel, there were spa like treatments and the people warm and open. But this has much more of an institutional feel and I am really finding the whole experience challenging. I pride myself on being fairly open and friendly and can make friends pretty much wherever i go but this is a whole other level. In addition the fact that the staff have not been able to actually give me a plan for my stay until next week and I am one of the few that are not allocated to a group, makes it even tougher. Life revolves around groups here and there is little mingling outside of them. There is the muscle skeletal group, the back group, the heart group...and so on...And then there are the few islands like me who float along on their own but it seems those who are "lone rangers" are quite happy to exist on their own and keep to themselves. Hermits is perhaps an accurate description. No joke - I had a man who sits at my table actually put his hand over his face while he ate to avoid making any eye contact for me. But for me - being plucked out of your comfort zone and put in a new different place away from the people you love, having all of life´s normal distractions gone and being pretty much on your own, is my idea of a nightmare. I think most of you, despite what you say, would freak out too. And let me tell you - time alone with your thoughts after having gone through what I have is a dangerous exercise. I am craving common ground - people who get what i am going through and understand what it is like to be so sick and be a parent at the same time. People who have had cancer would be a good starting point. Maybe I didn´t do enough homework before I came or failed to truly understand what an "individual program" meant but this is bloody hard! I know there will always be an element of transition involved in something like this and it is common for people to freak out abit when they first arrive here but I am struggling to see what benefits I am getting from being here right now. I know I am impatient and my illness has made me even more so as I am so angry at the time I feel has been taken from me and I want my life to start again right now. But I feel low here and am surrounded by people who seem much worse off them me. I can sit and talk with them and there are definitely some nice people here but they don´t understand my situation nor do I theirs. And I don´t think I am being that over dramatic because I was adopted by the Lung-Emphysema group who felt so bad for me eating alone and not having anyone to do anything with. Very sweet of them and I am ever so grateful for their kindness but this is not what i signed up for and I can´t relate to them. And last night the resident doctor took me under his wing and invited me to dine with the nurses and physios seeing as most of the time no one sits at my assigned table. When I brought my tray of baked fish and boiled potatoes (there is no chance I will be putting on any weight here!) over, the physio said to me "Oh are you a visiting medical student?" God how I wish i could have said yes - anything feels better then being a patient.
In my discussions with the kind Danish Doctor with the big beard, he has asked me lots of questions and listened to my difficulties in transitioning to life here. He even offered to drive to the closest city to pick up my husband and daughter to come visit me. What a sweet guy! But I told him that if they came now I would most definitely pack up and leave with them. I told him that a big part of me doesnt want to give up and feels so silly and embarassed for wanting to pack up and go home with my tail between my legs. It isn´t me - i am a fighter and I thrive on new adventures and experiences. But this feels so uncomfortable and all I can think about is my family that I am not with. I knew it would be hard to be away but not this hard. My husband tells me that I am not in prison and can decide what i want to do and he is ready to come break me out of here as soon as I send the sign. But I am reluctant because I want to try and tough it out. I guess you need to try and find something positive out of every experience (FYI - the Danish doctor disagrees with that statement). I am trying really hard to do just that and rest, do nice activities, etc...but maybe this isn´t me. Becoming a patient again surrounded by people in reduced capacities isn´t exactly the most empowering environment. I am so desperate for my life to get going again and it feels like groundhog day here. My advisor (the doctor) tells me that I am someone who needs to learn to slow down more and put myself first and being here is doing exactly that but I just don´t know if I can stick it out. I am so conflicted. I do feel like one of the only things keeping me here right now is a fear of defeat and of people thinking I am crazy for not enjoying this opportunity I have been given. i know lots of people would give their right arm to unplug for a few weeks away from everyday life but I just don´t know. Being away from my family is hard and I need to feel like it is worth it. Right now I don´t know. I don´t know alot right now. So as you can see things haven´t quite worked out the way i had imagined - there is an internal struggle ensuing inside me. And I don´t know which way it will go.
A Conflicted OBB