I’m the patient who brings in her own glass water bottle, rather than use the plastic hospital water jugs provided. It has three crystals inside it and a stick of charcoal too to help filter the water. I pour the water they provide me in their jugs into it.
I’m the patient who brings her own flask, rather then uses the mugs provided. I also bring my own organic mint tea bags.
I’m the patient who has friends and family bring in all of her food because a. Hospital food has been proven in several studies to reduce your nutritional intake and b. They remain unable to provide me with vegan and gf food anyway (I’ve now been offered eggs, steak and ham?)
I’m the patient who will wear a hospital gown during a medical procedure but then, no matter the pain I’m in, will get dressed immediately after.
I’m the patient who washes, does her hair and puts on a full face of makeup every morning…even if it means washing my hair in a sink because they can’t let me use the showers because everyone else in the ward had flu (such as the case is this time).
I’m the patient who eats dinner with her husband every night (sometimes even a takeaway).
I am the patient who stores and administers her own medication, rather than waiting for the ‘drug trolley’.
I am the patient whose husband sits silently beside her until she falls asleep, watching box sets together on an iPad.
I’m the patient who has pictures of unicorns above my bed, created by some of the much loved children in my life.
I am the patient who does yoga stretches in or beside her bed each morning, even with a chest drain.
I am the patient who asks a continuous stream of questions until I am satisfied that I know as much as I can about any given situation.
I am the patient who sits on her bed and meditates each morning, finishing each session with a series of ‘Oms’, regardless of who is listening.
I am the patient who brings in her own blanket to sleep under.
I am the patient who will take the hand of a stressed and tired nurse and tell them it is not their fault and they do not need to apologise to me.
I am the patient who will ask a dr if they need to take a moment to rest in the chair beside my bed before they speak to me.
I am the patient who sees my team as people and accepts that people aren’t perfect, that they make mistakes and that they get emotional and tired too.
I am the patient who strives, in the same breath, to still be seen as a person too and, as such, I am always treated this way.
I do these things because these are part of my inherent values that make me who I am.
I do these things because they are part of my identity and what matters to me.
I do these things because, no matter how sick or sore I may be, this is still a part of my life.
I do these things because it is so important that the people who care for me see ‘me’ rather than a stage four cancer patient.
What is the result?
I have an active say in my care plan.
I am treated with respect.
I am listened to.
I am visited by members of my medical at the end of their shifts when they should be going home.
I am able to get to know my team as I would if we had met one another on the street. We become two people, not a medic and a patient.
It is so important that we do whatever we can to maintain our identity. When we are in hospital we become part of a large machine and we can so easily get lost. However, by taking small measures to preserve our independence we not only remind our medical team who we are, we also remind ourselves what matters most to us, what our values are and why we are striving to get well again.
None of the measures I take negatively impact the work of my medical team, and I would never do or recommend anything that does. These incredible people are doing everything they can to preserve the lives of others. Our only job is to help them to see ‘us’ rather than just another patient and, in return, for us to see ‘them’ rather than just another member of staff.
Last night the nurse who has been caring for me over the past few nights said to me, “You are going to be the one that stays with me. Your story and ability to still smile has really touched me.”
In that moment, there wasn’t a patient and a nurse having a conversation, but two women of similar ages whose lives had connected by chance.
It was a reminder that, at the end of the day, connecting with others on our path in a manner that is filled with compassion, love and kindness is all that really matters in this wonderful, crazy thing we call life.
In order to do this, all we have to do is see those who cross our path and strive to also be seen. In doing so we can connect in ways that are driven by love and light and help to create a more beautiful and magical world.
Wishing you all a day filled with joyous connections.
Love and light, Fi xxx