My husband had a hospital appointment last week and I had a few hours to spare. I had already seen the signs for ICU and some of the other wards I had stayed on (almost this time last year). My legs were trembling as I walked the corridor. I phone a friend and recognised a porter who I said thank you to for all his ferrying me around to and from dialysis, X-ray, theatres etc. I didn't know whether it would be appropriate to press the buzzer or ICU unannounced knowing there were seriously poorly people in there with loved ones by their side. I got myself a coffee and bought a card from the shop. I wrote a few words of thanks and went to the door. " hi I was a patient on this ward last year and I've brought a thank you card for the nurses" "oh how lovely" said the nurse and I she let me straight in. On walking the long corridor which lead up to the ward I immediately recognised a nurse who was part of the outreach team, I think she remembered me and then another nurse who was also a family friend gave me a big hug. Then they offered to take me on the ward for a little look. A bit nervous but I really wanted to see to help me remember. It looked exactly as I rendered. Last year I was in an isolated cubicle directly opposite the fridges and cupboards that I remember were constantly being restocked with medicines especially during the night. I think I remembered the place well as I had 2 says there and the second I was much more alert and conscious. This time there was another patient in the cubicle, loved one by side, I didn't really want to look as their moments were private. I stood at the nurses station and I recognised a few other staff faces. I sort of of the impression that they were struggling to remember me, after all I was now standing tall, taller than some of them, with make up on and my own clothes. I know they probably see hundreds of patients every year so i don't expect them to remember me but I think maybe they might have a lightbulb moment later and realise. They said I looked too good and well to have been a patient on their ward. They said its nice to see an ex patient as Not all the people they look after are able to come back and see them. i had a chat with a male nurse about my stay, a few of my hallucinations and odd moments during my recovery like beeping of supermarket checkouts freaking me out. I was there about 15 - 20 minutes and then the all had to get back to work. I left bravely and quietly. I got quite a lot of comfort from seeing the ward again. I think because that time is in my thoughts every single day. Not in a bad or traumatic way but because it was such an intense time in my life. When I was through the door I sat on the bench outside for quite a while. Probably where my friends and relatives sat last year and maybe shed a tear. I'm glad I went, I felt happy, I made some peace. It was a very draining experience. And now 2 days later I'm still feeling quite drained by it. I remembered how ill I felt and how sad I was and how I am actually sill recovering. I really pushed myself when I got home as have a family to look after and as soon as I could walk I've just got in with doing all the normal stuff I have to do for everyone else. I think especially as its coming up to a year since I was in hospital I need to just slow down a little and look after myself a bit more. My psychologist called it being mindful and I just want to focus on my home and the people immediately around me and the things I do day to day. I turned up at a&e 28th October 2012 and was discharged in January. I've had a lot of follow up appointments, declined some medications on my own ethical grounds and also declined reconstructive surgery. I'm so thankful for this community as I know no one in real life who has been through anything like this who could possibly understand. Thanks for reading.
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