Many of you know me and my struggle with the chronic illness of colitis. Most of the time the immune suppressing medication I am on keeps things in check, but occasionally there is a glitch with the meds that lands me in the hospital in an extreme state of illness. Fortunately that has only happened 3 times in the last 3 years since I was diagnosed. Today I wanted to share with you some of the gifts that come with the comedy and the horrors of being received into the medical system we call hospitals.
Being within this system affords one a birds eye view with a glimpse of the human condition, both at it’s worst and it’s best, of being both comedic, and disquieting. There were times when rather than having a birds eye view, I wished I was able to just simply fly away, but then I wouldn’t have these stories to share with you.
So, comedic, horrifying event #1.
Here I am, along with 3 or 4 other patients waiting on stretchers to be admitted into the emergency department in the holding bay. No big deal, until one woman takes offence to her paramedic who brought her in, and flies off her stretcher screaming, swearing and flailing about, aggressively hating everyone. She throws her phone and hits my paramedic rather painfully, all the while, a giant catheter and catheter bag clearly impairing her ability to be the effective assailant she wishes to be, while she tries to untangle her tube from the stretcher, screaming threats, bag hitting the floor, and requiring 3 police officers to finally subdue her back onto her stretcher! I really expected us all to get hit with this giant water balloon full of urine before things calmed down. More than a little horrifying, considering she was a mere 10 feet from me. But the comedic entertainment value was unprecedented, albeit a little dark to find humour here. Let’s just say by the time my paramedics felt it safe to make our way past her into the ER, my heart rate was definitely racing!
Skip a few more stops and more dark comedy along the way, to being in a ward and winning the lottery (sarcasm) to be that patient that gets to be the third wheel parked between 2 regular beds where the curtains between them usually are. Not a bad deal to be parked right in front of the bathroom door, particularly when you are a colitis patient, but it becomes less enticing when your poor little 97 yr old roommate has trouble making it to the bathroom before the urine all hits the floor, and being witness to her humiliation time and time again. It became impossible to not have tears spring to my own eyes as she cried in front of me on the toilet. This seemed like a really good time to remember my yoga teachings that we are not our bodies, we are not our minds, we are a soul experiencing life through a body. On her last day there she was particularly emotional, knowing she was leaving the hospital that day to be re-located from her assisted living residence to the old folks home. Once recovered from her bathroom follies, she sat on her bed sobbing in sadness, knowing it’s all downhill from here, and I couldn’t help but join her on her bed and put my arm around her to offer her some small comfort of compassion and kindness, as tears streamed down my own face.
Lessons of humility continued to come my way. My roommate on the other side of me was a single mom of a 6 yr old, and having been in hospital for several weeks with complications from blood clots, was having difficulties with continued child care. Since she was living in a 3 story walk up, was not allowed to go home until she could manage the stairs. I so wanted to say I would look after her son and bring him to the farm when I was released, but knew as much as I wanted to extend that kindness to someone in need, I wasn’t healthy enough yet myself to make that happen. Somehow she would make something work, but it was heartbreaking to hear the struggle this person was going through, having experienced an unexpected health crisis, while being alone in the care of her child. I have to say, I’ve been there done that, and it is not fun.
My next stop provided me with a roommate on 1 side who was lovely, and had gone from being perfectly healthy one day, to liver failure the next, and being given an 85% survival rate in the first 6 months upon her release from the hospital. My roommate on the other side had struggled with crohns her whole life, and it seemed like every disorder & illness possible.
That night I decided I needed to use my Reiki training to clear this room of the heavy energies of fear, anxiety and illness that hung about, weighing us all down. I then set about sending Reiki to both my roommates before doing my own healing, determined that I was going to change my inflammatory numbers overnight and get myself the heck out of here! (and I did!) Both my roommates said they had the best sleep they’d had since arriving in the hospital, and my inflammatory numbers had dropped by half, so I am going to say it was a success!
I had a mini epiphany that morning, that our western medical institutions are in dire need of energetic clearing and healing. The medical staff are constantly exposed to these heavy energies that hang like dark clouds, in these rooms that are constantly filled with people that are depressed, ill, full of fear and anxiety, and don’t even realize the drain this puts on them, let alone the ability of patients to heal in these places. Hospitals I realized, are institutions where one is assessed, diagnosed and medicated, while being monitored, but they are not places where real healing can take place. It was a sad realization, but a real one that hopefully will slowly change in our western world.
All in all, my 4 day stay in the hospital system tested my ability to remain positive, to an extreme, many times over, but without the difficult parts I wouldn’t have experienced the beautiful and touching parts. Without the forced fasting and sleep deprivation, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the heightened states of awareness I experienced as I lay awake at night, eyes closed in meditation. Envisioning the beautiful garden walls, vines and trees that encapsulated me, and protected me as I manifested my healing. I found myself arriving in states of Yoga Nidra so quickly and effectively, many times, at a level I am not able to achieve easily in my everyday life.
All of these experiences were gifts. Like having gone on a vision quest of sorts, these gifts came to me in unlikely ways and places. The gifts of awareness, the gift of being able to offer kindness to strangers for no other reason than I can, of compassion to someone who really needed it when there was no one else there to offer it. The gift of gratitude for the health that I do have, when so many others have lost that gift. The gift of extreme gratitude for the beauty of the nature after being deprived of it for 4 days.
The gift of insight, and the gift of having a small glimpse of that inner knowing, that place of Pure Awareness.
For all these gifts, I am eternally grateful