Wednesday, 7 October 2009

I think I'm losing my grip

Last night was tough. The mad woman in the next room was somewhat agitated, and coupled with the pain I was experiencing I didn’t manage to get any sleep until 3am. The day on the ward starts at 6am so you can imagine after just three hours’ sleep, I’m feeling shaky and rough.

Lunch arrived and for some reason that I cannot adequately account, for, I chose roast turkey, roast potatoes and vegetables; something I’d never order. But something snapped. I slavishly devoured it just to stop the low blood sugar level shakes I was experiencing. I can’t say it was tasty or especially well cooked but I simply hovered it up without even tasting it, simply to fulfil a basic human need. I have a feeling that this is one of the first signs of becoming institutionalised.

This week will be my sixth week in traction. There may be another five or six still to go; I just wonder what sort of state I’ll be in by then. It’s genuinely scary.


  1. You are experiencing a low TM, this is so difficult, especially for someone who is so used to an active life, you are tired, nothing worse for bringing on the blues, the food is rubbish, in pain, and you want to go home, you will one day, one day this will be over, and your life will come back. For now all I can offer you are my good thoughts for your improvement, and to know that people care very much for you.

    As for the dinner, how many times have we eaten something we don't really care for, just for the sake of it. See the peas are back again. I am missing my rubbery desert, what was it today.

    Hope you get a good nights sleep tonight.

  2. Thanks, Ann. You're right of course, but everything in this situation becomes magnified and distorted after a while. No disgusting pudding today. I had a banana instead which I think was far more nutritious and there was the bonus that I actually ate it.

  3. Strangely enough, I had been musing over your comment about yesterday's pudding that it had low sugar levels because sugar is supposed to be bad for you. it occurred to me that lack of sugar can be just as problematic, if the body needs it. In my son's case, low sugar levels gave him severe migraine. And here you are, saying you are suffering symptoms of low sugar levels. Let's hope this gets though to someone. Hang in there, TM. Like Ann, I hope you get a good night's sleep tomight.

  4. The Nurse (The Mummy)7 October 2009 at 13:44

    Aw TM! I really feel for you. Sleep deprivation is the cruellest torture! Take it from me, I have had years of it!
    The last time son was in hospital I got about an hours sleep in total but broken on the first night. Thankfully on night 2 we were on our own in the room so I got sleep between nurse's visits and about 4 hours on night 3. I am still trying to catch up!!! It is so hard to cope when you can't get the rest you need.

    As for the food, well, it doesn't LOOK too bad! You have had a lot worse! However, plastic turkey never tastes nice! And the 'roast' potatoes look anaemic! Frozen mixed veg, well, always pretty nasty!

    I am not surprised you ate it. Lack of sleep combined with all those pain killers is enough to addle any one's brain. Hopefully the nutritional content is as good as they claim it to be and it will actually do you some good!

    Good luck for sleep tonight!

  5. James May for PM7 October 2009 at 13:55

    I have a feeling that this is one of the first signs of becoming institutionalised.

    It is!, the thing is that when you are stuck in hospital or a nursing home or some other institution things like meal times become very important indeed they can be the "highlight" of the day - TS Elliot puts it counting out the afternoon in coffee spoons - so when what should be an enjoyable distraction (excuse the pun) is crap or whatever you will feel pretty crappy and this goes some way to explaining your current state of mind - the only thing to relieve the boredom is food and thats crap etc etc.
    Anyway, enough of the cod psychology ive tablets to take!!
    PS forgive the spelling

  6. we're all here for you TM - chin up, or is it leg up?

    i think you are being very strong - you know as soon as you let us know which hospital you are in you will be snowed under by food parcels and lots of vists from strangers (like me)who have come to think they know you.

    Susan x (sorry Mrs TM and Mr Susan but poor old TM needs a x today)

  7. My sympathies! Sounds like a rough night. But don't worry about being institutionalised; that is complete when you accept everything dished up in ovine passivity; you're still independent enough to take the piss out of everything in public, you'll be fine (plus of course you have the support of all of us admirers!).

  8. Thank you to all of you. It's so heartening to know I'm not entirely on my own. This blog does indeed give me strength with all your comments. I enjoy reading every one. I can't always answer all of them as it's difficult without threaded comments, but it's like receiving a mailbag of letters each day.

    I'm sure tomorrow will be better. I'm expecting slop tonight as that was what was on the menu. I have a strong feeling that peas will be involved.

  9. The Spuds n Veg look edible but that tepid looking gravy and grey protien slap they've passed of as turkey is definatley v v grim.

    institutionalised? I think you should take note of a scene in the film Scum based in borstal. Change your religion and/or say u have special dietry requirements ie vegetarian so you get special treatment :)

  10. That gravy looks really watery!

    The thing that makes a nice turkey dinner are the trimmings - like garlic & rosemary baby roast potatoes, sage & onion stuffing, chipolatas, yorkshire puddings etc.

  11. I hope you sleep better tonight - can they give you a sedative to help, or would you prefer not to do that? Tiredness is a tough thing to work your way past, I sympathise. On the plus side, the mad bird may be just worn out enough by her own nocturnal shenanigans to get a bit of shut-eye tonight?

  12. Hang in there TM! Sugar lows are not nice :-( Def' try the vegi option will prob be loads nicer, they usually use cheese which at leasts tastes of something! We're all out here rooting for you. Thought - can you get someone to bring you in chili sauce, HP, etc to add to stuff?

  13. Come on TM - mind over matter - just keep it together - you have come half way through - so congratulate yourself on that. Concentrate on the real things that matter - family - you have Mrs TM and Mr Iams Kitty - not sure what else. You have friends - now is the time to call in favours - time for visits/picnics brought in - think and act pro-actively!

    Come on TM or I will send around my Chelsea Gang (three black cats aged one and a bit) to sort you out.

    Best - Cats' Mother

  14. G'day

    I had a really weird night during my prolonged stay in hospital, I couldn't get to sleep, there didn't seem to be anyone else around and the night seemed to be endless, I thought the end of the world was happening and someone forgot to tell me, may have been the drugs I was on but my advice to you is if you have one like that, have a meeting of the escape committe and start diging a tunnel, I got mine started, it was hard as I was on the 6th floor but never got it finished before I heard those magic words "You can go home tomorrow". Try to get into an Oz hospital food isn't brillant but what I sent back has been bagged, frozen and exported to the U.K. sorry about that but the tuna mornay I sent back 2 years ago should arrive for your dinner soon.

  15. TM,

    Here's something to cheer you up...if you haven't already seen it.

  16. Makes me laugh every time I watch it. Priceless!

  17. Can anyone bring you an MP3 player with a lovely get-to-sleep hypnosis track? It's the only way I can sleep on a plane when surrounded by babies that are distraught by their ears popping. When I switch on the entertainment, I don't check for what I'll watch as an in-flight movie, I check that they have that calm, softly spoken man, ready to talk me to sleep... Failing that, what about some really good earplugs? You can't have another night with no sleep - it's literally torture...

    Hang in there - as Sarah said, you've made it half-way, you can make it to the end.

  18. Not being able to sleep on my side doesn't help. I've been on my back since February. How I long to revert to the foetal position. I do have my iPod but it doesn't have a timer to turn it off once you've fallen asleep. Are you listening, Apple. Give me a sleep button please.

  19. sometimes you just have to close your eyes and dive in .bon apetitte. smooch

    rhonda ,usa

  20. Hang in there TM.....although not in the same boat as you, i've had alot of sleepless nights lately (thank you The Ex...)it sucks big time. The most memorable, and self induced lack of aleep was 46 hours, which involved flying to Germany to look at Russian bunkers for the day....

    What Ipod you got?. My new Nano has a sleep wanna borrow it?. Although you probably wont like my taste of music!.


  21. Those slices of meat looked suspiciously like they may have originated from a certain Mr Matthews of Norfolk - bleeeurgh

  22. I think Bernard might have a case for slander against you on that one :-)

  23. You've reached the halfway point, TM - you can do it. Just another few weeks and then you're home. Do you have any favourite (long)novels/ series you love that you can lose yourself in - Lord of the Rings/ Terry Pratchett/ John Le Carre/Ian Rankin etc? It sometimes helps to have another familiar world to escape to. (Also lots of chocolate = extra sugar/mood boost??)

    Get well soon.

  24. Stay strong Traction Man! Sending you love and best wishes from California. Maybe the nurses can get you soe ear plugs, to help you get some sleep? I hope they are taking your pain seriously and giving you all the medication you need. Your situtation is sort of like when you are out in the woods on a survival trip, in that you sort of have to eat whatever you can, just to stay alive. But I swear, as soon as you get out of there, you will never, ever, have to eat any of that slop again. XO

  25. I really feel for you, I was only in hospital a few days and the lack of sleep is torture. Fingers crossed you'll get out early (for good behaviour? hehe!)

  26. Lack of sleep is torture, having a dead main thyroid gland since 30 years and on maximum dose of thyroxine is bad enough, but the thyroxine makes me hyper at times and as i have to take other medication for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabeties, these interfere with the thyroxine so every week or so i go 32 hours or more without sleep.

    The Greek doctor won`t listen to me when i try to explain that mixing thyroxine and the other tablets counter effects the thyroxine, as it says in the thyroxine leaflet with the tablets not to take the other tablets, I mean, the leaflets are not printed to tell lies are they ?

    But doctors being the all knowing and all experts like, they say it is all in my mind.

    TM, i now resort to meditation to get off to sleep and it works.

    Just close your eyes, visualise you are walking up a hill, green fields around you, birds singing, sun shining and peace all around, make your way up to the tall old tree there, sit and rest against it and close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature.

    Try it TM, it works for me.


  27. TM you sound in dire straits. I cannot imagine not being able to go and have a natter with mates and chew over the horrors of the day or the week.

    Have you got a Skype phone or do they not grab you? Free calls and you could yak away to mates so they wouldn't be able to do any work. You'd be doing them a kindness at the same time!

    You sure need something to distract you from that sense of isolation - now don't go hospital-barmy on us. Hang on in there. See, this is why I was wittering on about this before - centres of excellence are all very well but they don't allow for the fact that patients need the company and support of friends and family, particularly if you're on long stay. It's lunacy to expect ill patients to thrive under your conditions.

    What other writing are you doing whilst you're in there? Found any freelancing stuff? Or are you just not up to it yet? - being there must rather sap your resolve to do anything, even read. Particularly if you can't get comfortable.

    Courage, mon brave! We're all rooting for you out here, and if we knew where you were you wouldn't get a minute's peace! hehe the visiting queues would be stretching right round the county .. but you'd certainly get fed well. 8-]

    captcha word - AGRAPIN .. think Blogger knows something your orthopod doesn't? :-)

  28. @sooz: I've got Skype on my phone but I'm surprised by how many of my friends who are technology journalists actually use it. perhaps they do but want to avoid being bored to death by Traction Man.

    I've just had a go at my first freelance piece of work this year. It was much harder than I thought and it was commissioned from by an old friend. Finding work on spec is difficult. Firstly you can't network or visit someone to pitch an idea. Secondly sometimes you need to travel places to do the job. I don't think I'm fit enough to do too much as mental and physical exertion make me so tired really quickly.

  29. Hey TM, sounds to me as though you are in need of a group hug from all of us. Just imagine all of us joining in from all corners of the world sending you a huge hug.

    I popped into to see a couple of neighbours who are both in their 90's yesterday evening. Papi has fallen again and has stitches in his arm, under his chin and on his back and they are driving him daft itching( Mami keeps telling him off). I had made them some buns and it really cheered them both up as they are both really tired with life at the moment. Mami says all the celebrities are people she has no knowledge of. The politicians are all mad and so they don't put the tv on they just read and talk. I have been telling them about your plight and Papi having been a surgeon is really interested in our plight, Mami thinks the English eat weird stuff anyway so she at least gets a laugh from some of your tales. Just think in 40 years time you can relate all of this to the younger generation who will sit with big wide eyes and keep saying NOOOOO. Tell us that bit again.

    Chin up and start thinking of all the places you can now visit around the worl visiting us to see what kind of cooks we are - have you thought of driving a mobile home or a VW camper van??

    Take care Zoe

  30. Hi Zoe... Please say hello to your neighbours. I feel much like they do and I'm half their age. My youngest daughter dreams of owning a classic VW camper van. The strange thing is that I did too when I was her age.

    Thanks for the group hug.