Hospital Stories

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Slices of my life in hospital and in between residency. Being something of a transient at present, these reflections are just musings and thoughts.

I am lying supine upon a hospital bed in the small Klein Karoo town of Ladismith in South Africa. After suffering a nervous breakdown and taking too many pills, I now find myself in between living situations. I have applied for residency at a group-home facility near a beach. I hope I get into this programme but, if there is any certainty in life, it is not to be found in man but in God. It is better to trust in God than in man. A universal truth one might say. This is not to say that man is not to be trusted at all. In fact trusting others is essential.

I am relatively confident that I will get in to this group home but, if I don't, then I will have to make other arrangements. Perhaps a backpackers until suitable accomodation can be found. "Suitable for what?" you might ask. Well, I have to tell you that I have issues. Deep-seated issues. Issues coming out of my coat pockets. I know them intimately, but knowing my issues intimately doesn't seem to change them. But writing helps. That and smoking. "Je ne veux pas travailler," and all that jazz. 

I do not have as many creative outlets as I normally do, being in hospital. I can't play my bass, so I've taken to singing. As I said before, I am reclining on a hospital bed having had quite a day of things. I had an interview with a member of a board who will decide my fate and whether or not I am a suitable candidate for in-home living. I have torn up the first set of forms I received as part of the application in a fit of pique. This was a bad idea in that it delayed things. I shall have to sort out these issues in a therapeutic setting I think. But now time for a quick smoke, and then back to the grind.

Okay. I had that smoke. There's nothing much to do around here but write and smoke and wait for lunch. Lunch always comes around 11:30. It's a good time for lunch; the healthy metabolism peaks around then. Is it just me or is the subtle art of using the semi-colon fading? I try to be masterful in the way I stack up my thoughts of equal and opposite meaning and import, although I receive very little in the way of feedback in this regard. Who am I supposed to receive feedback from? I'm not at University anymore, and haven't been for some time. I don't think I will feel myself until someone corrects me. What a sordid state of affairs.

My mother has offered to lift me to my potential new residence by the beach. This is very good of her. She is a good person although everyone has their own problems. I don't resent her as much as I used to. All I want now is a cup of tea, delicious tea. Sweet with sugar and hot! Hot, hot, delicious tea. 

I am "waiting for placement" according to the nurses. They have all just wafted in. The great thing about being a writer is that one can do it wherever one is in life. I am in a difficult position right now. Things are not so good between my mother and I. I have been very selfish. Before I tried to be selfless, and that broke me. But I am building myself up slowly. My mother wants a relationship with me. She sounds very tearful, and I have struggled in the past to take her at face value. I don't plan to have anything upsetting happen although there is a lot of "upset" in being alive, I think.

I am waiting for that cup of tea. It usually comes with a piece of bread with something on it. Usually Marmite vegetable extract or jam. I prefer jam, having something of a sweet tooth. I love sweets but they make me feel sick. I eat to excess but I don't hold this against myself. I am a glutton, but a muscular one. You shouldn't hide who you are, it'll make you very sad, very unwell. I am sad right now. My circumstances make me feel sad. 

I like crossing my right leg over my left at the knee. It tensions the muscles on the lower side of my thigh. I do push ups and I smoke. I sing before I smoke. I will always have art, whether or not I have a place to stay. The coughs of the old men in the beds around me keep me company. That and the hiss of ventillators. There is a constant hum in this hospital. That and sounds of pain. There is a man across the room from me in a great deal of pain. He almost starts crying when he coughs. I sweat and smoke and think. There are fluorescent lights and old men getting better and getting worse. I feel a lot better about myself, although I am still here. Still on earth for some reason. Perhaps it is to forgive. Forgive and forget. Forgive myself and forgive others who have hurt me. I have been hurt and I am hurting. I feel pain around some that I love. My belly turns. It used to turn when I was around those who did not understand me. But turn no more it will. My knees click and I feel emotions in my chest. The old fires are still there but, with the help of pills and tobacco, they are glowing embers. I have found warmth.

Okay. I am back in bed. It's around 20:53. I plan to give my mother some soft gums. I think she will accept this peace-offering, although I do not know for sure. I think it is the right thing to do. I think I have to man up and swallow my pride. I hope she accepts them, but, again, of this I am not certain. They aren't the best quality sweets, but it's all I have to give right now in terms of peace offering. Perhaps it would be better to ask if she wants one? Thay will perhaps seem more genuine. Why do I concern myself with seeming genuine? Either I am or I am not. I want to patch things up with her, and I think she wants to too. I guess this is turning into a diary of sorts, so please bear with me.

I have had a hard time of things, and life has not always been kind. I have been experiencing a lot of stigma. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of negative social-feedback for something beyond my control; borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder. I am on new meds having been living the past eight years under the yoke of a diagnosis of "bipolar disorder". Perhaps this is an indication of a misdiagnosis. Perhaps it is the result of psychiatry's infancy and the general trend of gerrymandering facts to support statistics. I'll go with it though and take my pills. Nothing for it. I feel a lot better on them. Like I can see clearly now. The rain has gone.

It's getting quite windy here in the mens' ward of the hospital. It is quite a busy ward. A small, busy ward. There was a man far gone on diabetes before. He couldn't move the fingers of his right hand. He pretty much just lay in bed, shouting in pain. His moaning did not nake my heart feel glad. Another "it is what it is" type situation, just like mine. I have learnt a valuable lesson in forgiveness. It is better to forgive one's enemies rather than to loathe them. Hatred does the heart no good. 

On the topic of peace-offerings, I doubt whether my mother will accept them. I don't mind if she doesn't; I will still be me at the end of the day. 

This hiss of the ventilator is still keeping me company here. Silence is my best friend. There is something so holy about it. Hiss. The movements of a man in bed, coughing his phlegmy coughs. He is very thin. His legs resemble bamboo saplings. I do not feel like sleeping. I don't desire sleep, but recognize its importance. I still have a capacity for language, and this is good. 

I have just woken up. I feel fear and a great deal of it. My mother is coming to visit me today. I don't really know how to approach the situation other than to smoke. It is part of my process. I don't think I am going to give her any sweets. It might seem wheedling. I think that the best course of action would be to keep myself to myself and just listen to what she has to say. It is essential to forgive trespasses. I have been trespassed against, but I have also trespassed. Forgiveness is the only way. I am a forgiving person at heart.

It is quite a windy day today. It is around 05:18 in the morning. I am still waking up and feel groggy. The hiss of the ventilator is still ongoing. An old man on his last legs sits in a chair, staring out at the world through rheumy eyes. Perhaps he has seen a lot of life, perhaps not. This being a small town, I think I can safely say... Well, I want to avoid totalising statements. I have to be creative. If I can't write, then I feel very sad, very unwell. I have to be able to express myself creatively, otherwise I feel very sad, very unwell.

Submitted: October 13, 2021

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