To paraphrase my previous blog:
At the beginning of last week I felt awfully run down, tired and lethargic…Now I’m feeling pretty good again.
Yeah, about that, body. It seems I wasn’t. Not long after writing that blog post, I became ill. Quite ill. So ill, in fact, that I spent 12 days in hospital. Eeek.
I’m okay now. Well, not okay, but getting there. Ultimately it’s nothing life-threatening, but I’ve been diagnosed with a chronic thing (I don’t want to say disease, it makes me sound contagious) called Ulcerative Colitis. I’ll let you Google it if you want. I’m one of around 100,000 people in the U.K to have it, and it’s apparently a tricky disorder to pin down. Where it comes from, who knows. But apparently stress can play a part.
Now I can’t, for the life of me, think where the stress part may have come from…
People occasionally ask me questions about getting into teaching, and I am always honest with them: it’s hard, but if you want to do it, you’ll get through it. I’m not generally an ill person; I had that norovirus that was going around at Christmas time, but apart from that I’m generally in good health. Even my immune system has built itself up enough to stop being infected daily by poorly children. So being hit with terrible illness as soon as half-term came round hit me hard. I did no work, and by the end of the week, having been basically led in bed for most of the time, the doctor suggested I be admitted to hospital.
Now if I think the life of a P.G.C.E student is stressful, I can only begin to imagine what it’s like for the nurses that looked after me. Not because I’d consider myself a bad patient: on the contrary, I thought I was pretty easy to look after. But unfortunately I can’t say the same about the other people on the ward I was eventually able to call ‘home’ for four nights.
At first, because the doctor wasn’t sure if I had some sort of bacterial infection, I was given my very own room. That’s quite nice in an NHS hospital, to be honest. Shut away from the noise, with a television (£7 a day) above my head, my very own toilet to use as I pleased, and nobody staring at me, the first few nights were okay. Not great, not pleasant, but okay. It’s a hospital, after all.
Then I was moved to a normal ward after it transpired that I wasn’t about to infect everyone and kill them all. Again, this ward wasn’t so bad. I had a nice view, my television was still with me, and I could just about get on the internet through my phone.
But then came the killer news: I was being moved to a more ‘permanent’ ward. Not that I was being kept in for a long time, but it transpired the ward I was on was more of a ‘couple of days’ ward. So I packed my stuff off and travelled the two minute journey to my new ward.
The first thing that hit me was that the swingy television thing above the bed was mysteriously missing. I’m not the sort of person who has to watch tv all of the time, but when in hospital it can prove a real time killer (pardon the pun) and provide some actual entertainment. Apparently my ward was an older one that ‘couldn’t get a decent signal’, hence no televisions. Oh well, I could cope.
Then I discovered who my neighbours were. To put it kindly (and as one of the nurses said) I was about 50 years younger than everyone else. I soon came to know the two characters opposite me, after one of them decided to light a cigarette in his bed. As it transpired, this was the fifth time he’d done it, and so his final lighter was taken from him. At some point in the day the two were allowed to go down to the entrance to have a cigarette. An hour later, and after a search of the hospital by security, they were found wandering, lost, down a random ward. They weren’t given permission to go out again.
That didn’t stop them though: four four days (and nights), I’d say once every half an hour one of them would ask if I had a lighter, then proceed to try to open the fire-door (“Eddie, I’ve told you before, that door’s locked), before walking out of the ward. I’d hear the familiar “Eddie, you need to get back into bed…no, you can’t go, you’ll get lost….you’ll have to wait for someone….Eddie, that’s the ladies ward….no, I don’t have a lighter….because there’s oxygen behind you….no, I don’t have a lighter….”
Believe me, after hearing that for the 200th time, I was ready to walk out. I was feeling much better, and seemingly just waiting to be discharged. But as it was the weekend, I had to wait until Tuesday.
How the nurses managed to put up with that, and the constant shouting of random names from other people on the ward, I’ll never know. I imagine they’ll be job satisfaction along the way, but even after all that this year has thrown at me, I’d still much rather be a teacher. I’ve a lot of respect for those working in the NHS, even if they did stick cameras both up and down me.
So now, after that bit of a ramble (it feels good to actually get it off my chest), it’s back to the world of teaching. I’d missed some time from my final placement, and this week was due to be my last. Thankfully my university have been very supportive, and I’ve been given some extra time to complete my final three weeks, meaning I can gain Q.T.S this year. Hopefully.
I’m still not feeling great, and considering I’m taking 11 tablets a day, it might be a while until I do. But I’ve spent today in school, teaching 75% of the timetable, and drove an hour to school, and an hour back. So I can do it. I just need to make sure I do it 14 more times. Then I’ve got (at least) 6 weeks to be as ill as I want.
Though if I do have to go back into hospital, can someone provide me with a “No, I don’t have a lighter!” sign?