Even if the hospital is not an obligatory moment for all chronic diseases, it is often part of the equation when one falls ill, if only at the beginning to make a diagnosis.
In my mind, the hospital is associated with smells, the smell of disinfectant and cleaning products, tastes, the taste of undrinkable tea or herbal tea, but above all with people, the nurses, the doctors, the physiotherapists, etc. I’ve been lucky enough to always be a patient in the same ward for over ten years. It does create bonds!
A feeling of imprisonment
For a long time, I was quite anxious about going to the hospital, probably because the first times were always for an undetermined period of time. I would go in and never know when I would come out again. I had a feeling of imprisonment, of not coming back, coupled with a loss of control that I still feel today whenever I go to the hospital. As if my hospitalization would never end, the hospital becoming an eternal prison.
When it was really bad, I endured the hospital, the treatments, the tests. But when I started to get better, I began to wonder when I would get out, when I would finally be able to go home. Because in fact I was fine. Or at least, that’s the impression I had. And then I was cruelly disappointed when I was allowed to go down to the hospital garden to get some fresh air: ten minutes or so was enough to exhaust me and make me happy to be back in my hospital room. Going out of the hospital still seemed far away, although it always came eventually. But not knowing when I would get out was very hard.
Pain and co
The hospital is also associated with a lot of pain in my mind because at the beginning I went there when I was not well at all and later to receive treatments that exhausted me and put me in a very weak state. There were also the examinations, those at the beginning to find out what was wrong with me, the operations, the doctors who were not always very human, the other patients who also suffered. All this put together was sometimes very painful, both physically and morally.
But fortunately, I was always lucky enough to have many visitors to help pass the time and escape. Even though not all of them necessarily always had the most subtle remarks, like:
- “Ah what a beautiful view”
This in itself was not wrong, but just hard to hear.
Time and control, big unknowns in a hospital
Today, when I go to the hospital, it is not the same. It’s for a routine treatment that makes me very tired, but for a short time, and that does not hurt anymore. I know that I will not stay, the hospital will not become my prison.
Every time I go back to the hospital, even if it is for a short time, I am struck by two things:
- The way in which time passes: It is as if time were suspended, even though I know that it continues to pass despite everything. Hospital stays give me the impression of being out of time, as if everything outside disappeared. You come out after five days, which seemed like an eternity and yet so short compared to what you have done and achieved.
- Loss of control: Surprisingly, even though things are going well now and I remain autonomous when I receive my treatments, there is still this feeling of loss of control and autonomy over what happens, what I can do. In a hospital, you no longer get to decide, but they decide for you that you should have such and such an examination, receive such and such a treatment, eat at such and such a time, etc. You endure more than you choose. So, without necessarily losing physical autonomy, there is a loss of control and freedom that I have always found difficult to live with.
Despite everything, despite the hardship, despite the suffering, in spite of the loss of control, I also associate good memories with the hospital, those of relief when I was finally feeling fitter, those of generous and devoted carers, those of competent and attentive doctors. I also know that it is thanks to them that I am where I am today, fit and active, despite my symptoms, thanks to a well-balanced treatment.