Thursday, July 06, 2006

Freak out

Today I freaked out and didn't even realise it. New-style freak-out. Cool.
Or not.

Normal, monthly Thursday. Keith followed by chemo-suite for port flush and Zoladex implant. *MUCH* better than last time because I was there just before nine. I went to do this new check-in thing and only the haematology assistant was there and he had me write my name and hospital number and the time I arrived on a piece of paper for the chemo assistant. Then, in the chemosuite Ivy told me that she doesn't start until 10am so I should just carry on doing what I've always done and Ivy will pass on the info. After all that hoo-ha last month! Farcical. The nurse who had upset me so much last month actually did the flush and the injection: I thought I was going to cry when I realised but then she was perfectly nice! So, it obviously was just the stressy state the chemo-suite was in last time. So that's, sort of, OK.

So - all OK so far.

When I'd been upset on Wednesday about the GP-thing, I rang Elaine - who said I could come and see her on Thursday - she was having a paperwork day after a meeting at 9.30. Go and have a coffee and find me later. So I did the Starbucks thing (herbal tea, thank you) plus a sticky-bun. Why do I always do to Starbucks when I could go to the non-chain, probably better cakes and buns, place next door? I am a brand-junkie about my coffeeshops apparently.
And so I hung about until after 10 to give her a goodish amount of time before I went up there again. The whole time fighting my 'I should go to work, I'm not really *needing* to talk to Elaine: I'm not totally spare, I just *want* to talk to her' thoughts. I have discovered that I have some thing in my head that says 'if I want something, that is wrong. Wanting is wrong and should be denied'. I only want to talk to Elaine - so that's self-indulgent and shoud be denied.
I get to her office - she's not there. Dilemma point. Do I get someone to bleep her? Do I wait around for her? Do I run away? I'm still so convinced that this is self-indulgent 'chat' that I can't bear to get someone to bleep her; besides, I'd have to go and ask someone to do that and I'm still not really sure what that'll mean so I don't want to do that. I don't want to sit and wait on 'the chairs' because you might as well just hang a sign round your neck that says "I can't cope: pity me" so I'm left with the third option: run away. I'm good at that - I have lots of practice at that: that's what I'll do. But I want her to know that I stopped by, so I write a note and stick to her door. Then she'll know I missed her/she missed me (and she'll feel bad (in my head)). So I write the "I came to see you but you were not there" note with a firm "I'll see you next Thursday". I'm trying to convince myself I can cope until then on my own.

And I go.

Down the lift that takes me out at the Radiotherapy entrance and I go out the doors and I......................................................................stop.
Just outside the doors. And I can't go any further. I don't want to leave, I want to talk to Elaine. And I stand there. I stand there for over half an hour. Not going forwards, not going backwards - and every so often I would call her office and it would always go to the answerphone. As I stood there Keith came by and teased me, saying that the bus didn't stop here - hardy-ha - and then asked if I was waiting for the rain to stop. I replied 'After a fashion' - which was actually a total lie. Now, why I didn't just ask *Keith* to bleep Elaine for me, I have no idea. But I wasn't in a totally logical state really, so that's why. I called again - still the answerphone, I left a message. It was somewhat bizarre I think. Something like "I've been standing ouside the radiotherapy entrance since I left and I can't leave. I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, sorry, bye." Good lord. As I write it out I just think I'm not as insane as that sounds - really, I'm not. Really, I'm not.
Anyway, as I hung up and put my phone away someone came out of the radiotherapy clinic and stopped to put their umbrella up. As he walked off I walked at the same time. Like his movement thawed my inertia and I went home.

In retrospect, I'm alarmed at how off-base I was here. I was convinced that I wasn't in enough of a state to *need* to talk to Elaine - so I wasn't going to. Normally, when I know I'm freaking out I do what I need to do to be helped. I leave her a message if she's not there; I get someone to bleep her. But somewhere in my head I thought I was OK and I wasn't. Is this a step forward or a step backwards?? A step forwards in that my freak-outs are not so dramatic that I can't exercise some control over them? Or backwards in that I'm no longer clearly identifying that panic and distress?
I really have no answers to this. No doubt it will become clear in time.

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