Other Sides

‘…..and I’ve already told you of the experience, how demeaning it was, how I felt like utter shit abandoned at the end of the world- do we really have to go through it again?’

‘Yes I’m afraid so, you know as well as I do that we have to go through each experience of importance and process it so we can begin to understand more fully why you are here today and what we can do tomorrow.’

‘But it just feels like we are revisiting the same instance, the same scene, again and again, I do not feel that this is not the main theme of my life, I’ve gotten over it, why are we doing this?’

‘I think we could be at a turning point in this session if we pursue this particular point, please can you tell me again how you felt at that point in hospital?’

‘Okay fine.  Well, it was maybe the 2nd week after the surgery, and I was managing to get to the toilet with a little help from the nurses to push me over to it on a portable commode (not the most glamorous mode of transportation), and on this occasion the nurse helped me get over to and on the toilet seat, told me push this orange button once I had been and done my business, as usual.

Fine I though, this wouldn’t take that long, heck it was nice to be sat upright, even if it was draining and made me tired and nauseous.  So I was enjoying being out of the lumpy bed, my bowels moved and I cleaned myself up, lent over to the sink and washed my hands.  After that was done I pressed the orange call button firmly and waited…’

‘Please continue..’

‘I was located in a side room, away from the main bays of the ward by myself, and the toilet was also in my room.  Effectively I was two doors away from the main artery of the ward, out on a limb from the nurses station, but I didn’t think this would be a problem.  A few minutes drifted by and I sat and wondered where the nurses were, tried to remember what time it was and if they would all be busy serving drugs or meals.’

‘I could see the orange glow of the button I’d pressed so I knew it’d be making that humming noise every few seconds, with a light above my bedroom door flashing as well.  It was only a matter of time, but the longer I sat the more sore my bum became, my bones ached more and I felt more and more uncomfortable generally.’

‘I began to feel like I’d been abandoned, lost, and I was racked with aches and pains.  I hadn’t moved this much since the surgery, I began to tremble. and I… I…’

‘Go on, you are in a safe room here,’

‘Well I’m not afraid to say a tear fell loose from one of my eyes, I felt like I had been cast away, left to rot on a desert island of clinical smells and frustrated, worn out, bodies.  Surely I must have been in there for more than half an hour?  Maybe more?  The seconds turned into minutes, and the minutes seemed to drag into hours.  This can’t be right I thought, surely someone has seen the orange glow, has heard the hum above the hustle and bustle of the busy ward?  it’s not hard to ignore, but at the same time it signifies that someone needs your attention.’

‘Sure, it hasn’t the red glow and the violent incessant thud of the emergency alarm but it was still a signal saying that someone needed attention, was waiting to be seen, hoping to be heard, right?  I was there and I needed someone.  And I just couldn’t help it or myself, I felt broken by such a small thing, by being left on the toilet atop of my own shit, my own weak body holding me back, and I just couldn’t fathom how… how I could get out, how to do it, I think at one point I shouted a bit, not much, I was meek, weak at the knees at needing attention but never actively seeking it.’

‘hmm right, please go on, how did the situation resolve?’

‘Resolve?  It never resolved, I was found on the toilet half asleep from the weakness of sitting there for so long.  The nurses told me that it had only been 30 minutes but it had felt like a lifetime.’

‘And how did you feel towards the nurses after the incident?…’

‘I viewed them the same as before, how could I not?  I depended on them, I needed them.’

‘Did you think you were consciously abandoned?’

‘No, of course not, I mean why would they when they knew I was out of bed so recently after major surgery, they probably had better things to do right, you know this is a hospital, right? Some people are far sicker than me…’

‘Hmm…’

‘I, I don’t know, I just thought that this is it, this is how my life is going to be, waiting for help, waiting to be moved, waiting to be noticed…’

‘Ah, I’m afraid the session is up for today, please can you come back next week, say Wednesday at 2pm?’

‘Yeah of course, I guess so…I just don’t feel as though we have made any breakthrou…’

‘Goodbye Mr Petersen,’

‘Thanks…’

The day was bitter and the wind whipped at his face as he left the gray tawdy building.  It looked warm in the sunshine, it looked relaxing to be outside in the great bosom of nature, but it was a facade, it was cold and unwelcoming.  Mr Petersen knew this, but he could not comprehend it.

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