214. It was boss!!

Today for the first time ever, I got to spend time with S, outside the confines of a hospital visiting area. Today was the first time, we both basked in freedom, drank mochas and laughed from the pit of our bellies. She has not yet been discharged, but her progress has been such that she is allowed accompanied leave. In her words; “It was boss!!”

She continues to inspire me, and although those days in a psych ward were some of my darkest, they brought me a friendship that was unexpected, and a friend who makes me stronger.

Loopy x.

211. The fear!!!

I’m literally shaking, my stomach is in knots and I can’t control my worrying. How on earth am I going to endure work tomorrow?

On top of that I’m emotionally exhausted following today’s psychotherapy assessment, and CPN chat. I’m also not exactly happy that I’ve finally been allocated to someone new, but she’s off for the next two weeks.

On top of that I’ve walked a total of 12 km7 today, just to attend the appointments and swing by my village pharmacy to pick up my meds on the way home. God I wish I could drive!!

I also bumped into a familiar face today, from my old ward. I was supposed to give her a shout after my assessment, but when I went to reception her name escaped me. I left a half baked message with the wrong name and was a little frazzled anyway as I had to rush off to meet my new CPN straight after. I would have loved to chat to her today though, and I’m gutted that I missed my chance.

This evening I wish I could call my previous CPN, no one else. L would know what to say, L would reassure me. I need L!!! I’m kind of freaking out!!!

Loopy x.

208. Wound management.

I really should know better. I’ve been doing this long enough!

Dressing brands make promises of longevity, absorbancies and water proofness. When you’re dealing with burns (often full thuckness) as I do, it requires the Rolls Royce of wound care management tools.

Burns result in exudate (the cells and fluid released during inflammation); copiuos amounts in fact, that can rapidly seep through sleeves and garments.

Burns are extremely prone to infection. The skin is our largest protective organ and our first line off deffence against invading pathogens. Furthermore as tissue dies it provides an all you can eat buffet for staphylococcus and his other microbial buddies.

To reduce scarring and achieve improved pain management the healing environment should be moist, and sealed from the elements.

I use Meplilex border Ag when I can. A foam dressing, with a gentle silicone adhesive boeder that can deal with the exudate, combat bacteria with its silver impregnated layers, and provide optimism healing conditions; or so they claim. It’s also thick enough to reduce the odour that accompanies burn healing. Think of your food waste bin, full of meat, during hot summer months in the run up to collection day.

I’d asked my GP for a prescription of said dressings, but my stock is now low. The reality is that these things bend and flex with the contours off your skin. Inflammation induced itchiness forces you to claw and scratch at them. Burning over,or near to old wounds where kelloid scars have formed creates airpockets and channels in the adhesive. All off these factors render them useless within a day or two or immediately following a shower. When my stock is low I try use them sparingly; if at all. They’re incredibly expensive to buy with regularity.

Today’s decision to ration their use created quite the conundrum for me this afternoon. I was going to the gym and knew I’d be showering after. The previous dressing had fallen apart for all the reasons mentioned above and it stunk, so had to be removed. A new one before the gym would waste it, so I left my arms unprotected, covered only by my rash guard. The wounds continued to weep, and a couple of hours later the fabric of my sleeve had congealed with the wound site. IT WAS STUCK!!!

Many of my burns heal with hypergranulation; essentially a process whereby tissue and tiny blood vessels grow back exuberantly above and beyond the original site, creating little delicate flesh mounds. It was one of these that was stuck!!

I soaked my sleeve with water, to no avail. I was forced to “tug!!!” All I can say is Ouch!!! Newly formed nerve endings were severed, blood vessels burst and flesh ripped.

In the context of lecturing I’m used to creating sessions and activities that have “learning outcomes” This was a perfect experience to teach someone not to burn again, but that’s not what I’ve taken away from it.

Despite the trauma, the pain, the odours, the recovery proccesses and the sheer difficulties associated with exudent wound management, and hiding it all from everyone else; I crave it. I need it! It’s my valium, my reality checker, my grounding strategy and my fucked up comforter. It’s my one controllable constant.

I will hoever, be more careful with my wounds.

Loopy x

198. Call of Duty.

What are you going to do, to distract yourself?; it’s a question that i’m often asked. It’s relentless and exhausting!! Activity after activity after activity, all so that I’m not alone with my thoughts.

Today I dusted off our PS4 and whipped out Call of Duty. Psychologically speaking, sitting all day in front of our telly shooting machine guns is maybe not the healthiest. As a distraction however; it worked for a while. My eyes are tired now though, and I’m stuck on a level that’s frustrating me.

There’s a few more hours yet to kill before bed. What will I do now?

There are pills on my kitchen window sill and a dressing gown cord that I’ve been eyeing up lately in my bedroom. Half my head is shouting, just do it, DO IT NOW! The other half is reaching out for hope; YOU WONT ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THIS.

I am sooo tired……and scared……and alone……..

I was given yet another dosage increase today. A schedule of two antidepressants, a mood stabiliser, sleeping aids, 16 sessions of psychology, once weekly supportive chats………….and none of it’s working. My arms are raw and sore (and stink!), my stomach is rumbling since I expelled this evenings dinner, and I’m feeling defeated.

Loopy x.

190. Another loss.

My CPN is leaving and I’m gutted once again. In my last psychology session with K, we chatted about the security and continuity of having my wonderful CPN.

I can’t imagine anyone else being as good or kind. I can’t imagine building up the same rapport or trust with someone new. I’m feeling this loss as heavily as losing K.

In therapy, you’d call it “a last minute bomb”. She dropped the news near the end off our appointment today. I guess its hard on both sides.

Loopy x

169. Flashbacks.

I headed off at dusk, light rain in my face, a chill that called for gloves and my headlight dipped. It’s been a while since I’ve whirred a chain, and whizzed along the sea front.

It started well, but soon flashes of fiery red curly hair surrounding tear filled tired eyes, interupted the focus of my beam ahead. She was just too young to fully understand, but just old enough to know that Daddy’s never coming home.

Each wave crashing on the rocks, echoed the slapping of a deadly calm sea disturbed only by the racing of a RIB for shore. Emergency services lay in waiting, but it would be too late.

The men shouted at me to gaze forwards and watch for bouys, it wasn’t until some years later that I realised this was an attempt to save the innocence of a young girl who’d not long graduated from childhood. It was too late though, I’d seen it all.

Come on Loopy, shake it off, focus on the path ahead. Switching to full beam as darkness settled, intensified the darkness in my head. Every turning of the crank brought images off those oxygen starved blue lips and grown men fighting back tears as they pounded on a water filled chest.

I’m so sorry. I could have, and should have done more.

I love the sea………..and I hate it!!!

Loopy x.

116. Physically exhausted.

My ears are crackling, my nasal passages are inflamed, my glands are swollen and my body feels heavy and unwieldy.  My mind is fuzzy and everything aches. I’m physically exhausted.

How do you elevate your mood when your body just wants to collapse? I’ve just come back from a short night bike ride.  I really had to force myself to go. It’s the one thing though that I seem to be able to push upon myselft, and it doesn’t put much stain on my aching ankle joint.

It was eerily quiet except for a couple of anglers down along the shore front. It was just me, the sea breeze, the city skyline and my thoughts. My thoughts move a little slower when I’m pumping pedals. I’m no longer able to kick Wilson, which is proving problematic, so I need those few moments of calm that two wheels bring me.

I cried on Mum today.  She finally rang me this morning and I broke down. Nothing has really changed and I’m losing hope.  OH who promised to step up seems less motivated than ever.  I think I’ve broken him too.

We need help.

Loopy x.

bike ride 2