24th March ’17
I had started sleeping better.
Although the pain in my jaw and head tugged at me around 4 am.
I was administered my cocktail of Opioids minutes after pressing my buzzer, but the pain lingered on till after breakfast. Amidst the discomfort, things were beginning to look brighter for me. I meditated with an assurance that my days of sorrow and tears were over. I was feeling ecstatic, so I had an early shower, and dressed up in my Burgundy Print-Midi Skirt, pairing it with a grey button-down sweater.
Before I settled into bed to have my afternoon nap, one of the nurses walked up to my bed, asking me to pack up my things as I would be moved to another ward. I wasn’t given any notice, so I kept asking questions, “Why am I being moved? For how long? My things are a lot and I won’t be able to pack by myself……I need to call my sister.” At this point, I was feeling malaise and relegated to my bed.
In-between the rhetorical questions, two nurses reported back to my bed, helping to pack my things. In less than an hour, I was wheeled out on my bed, from Ward E1 up to Ward I.
The journey up was a bitter-sweet feeling.
A part of me was excited about the change, and another part was anxious. I mean, I had spent 63 days in here, and honestly had enough. I thought about the loving bonds established with some health professionals/ward mates—as memories was all I had now, considering I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye or express my gratitude.
From the moment the elevator opened, everything felt different.
The ward smelt and looked pristine, everything appeared brand-new and sparkly.
Each corner was as crispy and neat as the Rheumatologists that visited me on Hospital Rounds.
(The rheumatologists were one of the specialists attending to me and they consistently showed up on ward rounds in groups, looking excellently dressed.)
The view from my bed, wow!
‘How is this the same hospital?’ I muttered to myself, bewildered.
The nurses who escorted me up shared their last goodbyes and left.
I was now alone with my thoughts, in a new territory, still stuck with the elderly.
My new room’s size was more expansive, with 2 aged women opposite me (Shaniz and Nancy).
I got the window corner again, unpacked my things and settled in.
It was past 2pm on Friday, feeling lonely, I noticed I was slipping into a despondent state. So I got busy arranging my belongings, and bed space. Ordered Chinese takeaway, ate it feeling immense gratitude because my body could now accommodate spicy food. After my lunch, I took out Emma Farrarons Mindfulness Colouring Book and started colouring.
This was one of those days I lacked the hardihood of initiating a conversation with new ward mates.
Shaniz was an aged-woman admitted opposite my bed. She stared intently, looking like she was intrigued by my presence. She kept this on for an extended period of time before walking over to my corner, asking questions, “where are you from? your family? what is wrong with you?” We both exchanged words as she responded in deconstructed sentences, as English wasn’t her first language.
After our short exchange, Shaniz heads back to her bed and immediately returns with Oranges and Satsuma’s. Before I could explain that I couldn’t eat them, she walked back to her bed and was back with a small purse. She emptied all the change she had left on my desk with a twenty pound (£20) note, then walked away.
I sat back in stillness, overwhelmed with gratitude.
I couldn’t muster the right words so I kept it simple, and said, ‘No thanks, Shaniz. I am fine, thank you. I don’t need these, its okay……..’
Without a response, Shaniz was back for the third time, this time with a five pounds (£5) note. At that moment I realised the best I could do in return was to accept her offerings and bless her with love.
Later in the evening, Shaniz’s son came to visit and I told him about how charitable his mum had been. He later informed me of her discharge later that night, so I quickly painted a Thank You letter and asked him to hand it over to her.
I tell you, Shaniz’s absolute quality of unconditional love is truly one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. She calmed my anxious spirit that was afraid of change and experiencing new territories with unfamiliar faces. She made me feel safe and became my source of rainbow on a cloudy day.
With all that’s going on, as we collectively experience these uncertainties, I will like everyone reading this to remember the power of connecting with others by extending nourishment without hoarding it, by anticipating the needs of those around us. Offering encouragement and comfort, giving someone else something you would want when in crisis.
And also, don’t be afraid of change. Because you never know what amazing person or view is waiting out there to nourish your spirit.
I will end this by sharing one of my favourite quotes from the Iconic Maya Angelou:
“The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.”