Kaijū (怪獣 kaijū) (from Japanese “strange beast”)
You know when it’s hot and you say something along the lines of “I’m dying”?
We say it all the time, when something becomes unbearable, uncomfortable or just a way of expressing ourselves/over-exaggerating. I guess to an extent we are all dying, but trust me when I say, when you are actually “dying”, when your body is fighting to keep functioning on a basic level, it’s an entirely different feeling, a feeling I hope I never have to feel again.
This post is basically just going to be an explanation of what happened to me over the last couple of weeks, physically and mentally, as well as explain what will be happening moving forward. I tend to ramble, so consider this fair warning.
I’ve been sick for months. I have been deliberately ignoring how sick I have been for the last few months. I could see this light at the end of the tunnel where I thought all I had to do was keep pushing to get to this point where it would tip over and it would be easy, I’d have money, stability and when I got there I could focus on my health. I had been ignoring the warning signs. I could barely eat, I wasn’t sleeping, I was putting all my energy into appearing as though everything was ok. I pushed so much, pushed harder than I ever have. I put my health to the side and focused on my career, not realizing how much bad I was doing. I can barely remember the two weeks leading up to my visit to hospital, I think my body was shutting down and on auto-pilot. I do remember waking up on the Sunday, feeling like I was rotting from the inside and thinking I wouldn’t be able to make it to the charity event, but nevertheless, I went and I’ve been told it went well, so that’s a plus.
I don’t remember much after that, other than a flurry of war-style flashbacks of small events that happened. I’ve pieced it together from what Mum and Jess have told me. I woke up on Monday, needing to vomit, which I did and felt better. I then vomited 3 more times throughout the day, each time feeling better and better. I thought I had food poisoning. Because I wasn’t eating I had pretty much stopped taking my insulin, which was a bad idea, especially since I had been under-dosing myself for months in fear of going hypo (low), because I needed to focus on work (sounds so damn stupid seeing that written down, but I wasn’t thinking clearly) so I was already in trouble before the vomiting started. At 11pm I started vomiting every hour, on the hour. I couldn’t even keep water down, I was throwing up what looked like gravel even though there was nothing in my stomach at that point. Looking back, I should have just gone to the hospital, but no, I needed to get back to work didn’t I? So I was just waking up every hour, vomiting then going back to sleep.
Around 8am, I was feeling real bad, worse than ever. I checked my blood sugar and I wasn’t that high, but when I checked my ketones, I was on 7.5 – for those of you that don’t know, 1.5 is high, 2.5 is dangerously high, the meters can only read up to 8.0, after that it just says “high”. For context, when I was rushed to the emergency room when I was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, my ketones were on 4.1, so it was bad. I had gone into ketoacidosis, my blood was basically acid. There was acid in my brain, my kidneys, my eyes, my entire body was essentially breaking down from the inside out. I remember lying on the bathroom floor looking at a spider, seeing an array of random colour spots all over the place, then seeing a blur of the navy blue ambulance uniform and my last conscious thought was to try and play it cool because I could see Mum and Jess’s faces and I wanted to seem like I was ok. I wasn’t ok.
I thought that I was doing the right thing by mum, Jess and myself this last few months. I felt like in order to be responsible and not feel like such a burden on them, I needed to get to that tipping point and if I got to that point, everything would be ok. But after seeing the way they were looking at me when I was in the ICU, I know now that I was actually doing way more damage pushing myself like that.
The paramedics couldn’t get my veins because I was so dehydrated. So I was taken to hospital. The ER doctors tried multiple times, like 25 times (by my count of the holes in my arms and hands) and eventually one ended up going through an artery in my wrist which had to be stitched in so it didn’t fall out and paint the room red (they wanted to go into my neck, which I’m glad they didn’t) and when I came to, I had about 6 different drips in my arms. Throughout the first 5 or so hours of being there, I absorbed 5L of saline and ate about 1kg of ice, just because I was so dehydrated. I then had a fever, wasn’t breathing right, had a danger of getting blood clots in my legs (they gave me these special massaging moon-boots to keep my circulation going), my heart was going all out of whack too, as well as a whole bunch of other stuff happening, but those are the highlights. I was fighting pretty damn hard, that I do remember.
I have this one vivid memory of having this moment, somewhere between getting the fever and my irregular breathing. It was a moment where it felt like my body was offering up an escape. I was in genuine pain, internally and externally, I wouldn’t be surprised if my body thought I was being tortured. I can’t explain it any better than it felt like there was a button inside me that I could push, and it would have been over, lights out, no more pain. I hovered over that button more than I care to dwell on, but I remember my brain snapping and going “don’t fucking push it!” and I passed out. Now, that could have all been in my head, I don’t know but it felt real, probably the most real thing I’ve ever felt, more tangible than the keys on this laptop even.
On day 4, after not having eaten in 40+ hours, I woke up. I was still a spaced out, but I remember the nurse walking me to the shower and me not being able to walk properly, but again trying to play it cool. That shower was the best thing ever, literally, ever. I felt a lot better afterwards, I didn’t even care that I had been washed by someone else like an old man. I had slept to the sounds of being in the ICU, people crashing, lots of beeping, nurses rushing around, it was haunting me and I knew that any progress I needed to make couldn’t happen in that environment. My doctors all said “it is our strong medical opinion that you don’t leave yet”, so of course I grabbed my plush R2D2 that Mum and Jess had brought me and left.
I went home, totally wacked out. I was barely holding onto reality, even though I was feeling better. It’s the weirdest thing coming back from serious sickness. It’s not just like snap and you’re better, it’s this weird phasing process where I felt like I was watching my life through a stained glass window or something. That night, when the lights were off and everything was quiet, all I could hear was the hospital, the doctors saying stuff to me and little snippets of the whole ordeal. For the first few nights I was waking up crying in the middle of the night for no reason, like flat out sobbing, not just a single tear. It’s stopped now, but I think it was just my body readjusting to, well not being in ketoacidosis. My arms and veins are still bruised from the needles, the artery one in particular which is about 4 inches long down my wrist and still hurts.
With all that said, I am recovering, I’m 99% back to reality, I can stand and walk again, I’m eating lots and even tried skating a little.
So that’s what happened. This is what is going to happen.
If I’m honest, I don’t know. I have quit one of my jobs and I’m easing back into the others. I’m still at 6T4 Bites and Press Start, because I love what I do there. That said, I need to prioritize my health above everything else right now, because the stark reality is that it doesn’t how much career building I do, if I’m in the ground, none of it will matter. I’ve been doing great this last week because I’ve focused solely on my health, I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to do so. I’m taking advantage of having the time to get healthy, because that’s what I need now. I’ve had a lot of time to think about stuff over the last few weeks and I’ve realized I’m very unhappy. I’m only sort of doing what I want to do, but it’s not quite there. I’ve also been denying myself the time to do stuff I enjoy, like make music, skate and just relax in general. I bought a new synth toy, so I have been making a lot of music. I might post about that stuff more. I also want to get back into photography, so I will probably start blogging about that again too.
Also, just blogging in general. I get so much out of writing, so I will be making more of an effort to keep making written content.
This is a strange time for me, the plans are all changing, my body is changing, my mentality is changing, in fact, everything is changing and I’m excited, but equally terrified. I know my limits are there now and the ever-present ticking clock is ticking more than ever. I have a lot of growing to do, but I know that it’s not a race, everything takes time and as long as there’s still air in my lungs and blood in my veins, I’ll never let myself get to that point for any reason ever again.