220. Not quite road worthy.

Tonight I hit the gym for the first time since my crash. I could hold it off no longer. The inability to excercise has been incredibly frustrating. I can’t afford to rest too long or the weight will creep back on.

Tonight was a test of what my hip and back could handle. The limp home suggests, just a little less than I put them through. I was sensible, sticking to low impact machines, at a lower resistance than normal. I couldn’t wait to get on the spin bike, but the pain induced bolt upright position that I had to hold, suggests it will be some time yet before I’m road worthy.

Loopy x

219. The hardest thing to let go off.

In the quest for better mental health and a better life balance, I’ve made some huge changes. What may surprise you, is the thing that I’ve found toughest to let go off.

IRONING!!!!! I’m an obsessive ironer. Every little item packed in little man’s nursery bag was maticoulsly pressed, and folded. It was ironed again if staff disrupted his bag through out the day

My work clothes were also pressed into oblivion, and I couldn’t leave for work if I noticed a rogue indentation.

Creases made me cringe. Creases induced anxiety and frustration. Creases were my nemesis. Creases noticed on other commuters clothes irritated me, and honestly made me think a little less off them.

During my stay in hospital, it was not the patient outbursts, lack of liberty, mediocre food or lack of mental stimulation that tortured me.

No!, by far the hardest thing to cope with, was those gut wrenching moments when I had to remove my laundry, all wrinkled and deshevelled from sitting in a dryer over night. I remember once asking the nightstaff if I could get my clothes at midnight. The dagger stare that I was met with, whuch screamed: piss off, was rage inducing. What they didn’t know was that leaving my clothes to wrinkle overnight, meant sleep was hard to come by, as the anxiety took hold.

The thing about ironing and ‘re ironing after every wear, is that it eats up soon much time. It takes away from time spent with little man and OH. It reduces down time, and for what????

So I’ve let go off ironing. I no longer steam little man’s clothes obsessively,. I allow myself weekends in slightly wrinkled clobber.

As for my work clothes????? Well come on now. YOU HAVE TO IRON WORKWEAR!!!

Loopy x.

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.

213. Little white lies.

I couldn’t sleep, that part was true. I’m totally dependant on pills now. Audio books and zopiclone are the perfect combination, but without the zopiclone (or a prescribed alternatuve) my eyes remain open and my thoughts attack me.

“Did you do anything?” asked a caring NHS voice this morning. “No” I replied but in truth yesterday I was a little self destructive. I once again put straightening irons against my skin, until the flesh was white and leathery. The edges blistered immediately and now I’m dealing with the aftermath. I don’t really know why I did it.

In the evening myself and OH treated ourselves to a “Subway”; the chicken teriyaki on Italian herb and cheeses went down easily. Then the guilt took hold and I followed the ritual of drinking tea (to fill my gut with liquid), sneaking off to the bathroom, expelling some of the guilt, and washing my hands and around my mouth thoroughly with soap.

I don’t know why I lied this morning. I guess I felt like the truth would let him down. The truth would label me attention seeking. The truth would prove that I’m pathetic.

Loopy x.

212. A post from my work desk.

Today was huge!!!! gut wrenching, nausea inducing huge. After 6 months of absence, I made a lunch, adorned my lanyard, swallowed some PRN (lirazepam) and went back to work.

I’m currently sitting in my old office, albeit slightly rearranged. I asked my boss if I could have it back; and he said he’d think about it, but within 20 minutes following our meeting I was informed that its current occupant has been turfed out, giving me my space back. My office space is something that is important to me. I’m on the 3rd floor of the building which means that I’m not subjected to same levels of student traffic as the main teaching rooms are on the floors below. Being “hidden away ” in this manner means less ad hoc student drop ins, less ad hoc concerns, complaints or general chat, which can quickly eat away at time preserved for tasks. I’ll still get the occasional knock but with less frequency than staff on the lower floors.

Coming back to work has been very emotional for me and I’m still feeling a little shaky and overwhelmed. Colleagues have been lovely, with hugs and offers of coffee and no prying questions. I’ve just eaten lunch with a few but i really didn’t participate much in the conversion. I’ve lost that side off myself, lost all my confidence but it will hopefully come back.

A nice little work related task just appeared in my inbox this morning, not from my manager but from one of my previous students, who is applying for PhD’s. I was his undergraduate project supervisor and he wishes to use me as a reference. I am delighted to do that for him, and even more so because his email helped to ground me this morning. His email was my first interaction with any students albeit electronically., but it also provided me with an icebreaker manageable task to get my fingers typing and my mindset back to work. It was exactly what I needed. It also helps that he was a great student, and his reference will reflect that.

I’m now emotionally and physically drained, and really just need to go home. I shall leave soon.

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

202. Occupational Health Review.

Well it’s official, I’m going back to work. It took some lies and half truths, but the doc eventually agreed it will be good for me.

I’ve read his report;;” I recommend that Dr. Loopy is completely supernumarery for the first couple off weeks” This makes me feel a bit pathetic. I can return but not be entrusted with anything. I can return but treat me delicately or I might crack.

I’m at the stage where I do need to go back. Financially we can’t struggle on any longer and I need another reason to get up in the morning.

I’m scared though; absolutely petrified that I’ll crumble again. I’ve not recovered to quite the extend I would have hoped for by now.

I guess I’ll never truly know how I’ll cope until I try. So tomorrow I shall phone my boss and set the wheels in motion.

Loopy x