13 Feb 2011
Hestia....and the long dark tea-time of the soul
As I got ready for bed last night I was aware of a twist of pain on my right side. I wondered whether it might be the return of the London Pain and went to bed. Within 30 minutes I was in agony. And that's not a light-hearted Hestia-type exaggeration. It was AGONY. It was worse than appendicitis agony and nearly as bad as Jedward agony.
No amount of position changing brought any relief and eventually I got out of bed and padded through to the bathroom for some co-codemol. I took one horse-sized tablet and hung over the sink trying engage a God in a spot of bargain-making.
As a card-carrying Pagan, I wonder whether everyone does this. Does a belief in a controlling power, bigger than ourselves (God, Source, whatever) constitute a human's default setting? Is it simply that at a basic level, we still hope for a Parent to fix things for us? When we experience our own personal dark tea-time of the soul, do we all, even Christopher Hitchens, get down on our knees in the darkness and ask....something....to help us?
'Please God, if you can just take this pain away I'll do whatever you want. ANYTHING,' I moaned into the old Victorian sink beneath the endlessly whirring extractor fan.
I didn't have a fever, so that was good. Wasn't it? But I felt absolutely vile. Would going to the loo help? No it did not. Would making myself sick help? It did - marginally.
The painkiller wasn't even touching the sides of the pain and I started to wonder, in all seriousness, whether I might die.
Should I get myself up to the hospital? It's only a 10 minute walk away. But what about Sonshine? I couldn't just leave him in his bed. And what would happen to him if I went to the hospital and had to be admitted? Should I phone my Day Carer and her husband and ask them for help? By this time it was after 3 am.
I didn't want to go to the hospital in case it was not important and I was disturbing them. I didn't want to phone my Day Carer and her hubby for the same reason.
How odd. I was struggling to cope with indescribable pain and yet my over-riding concern was not to disturb people. If I make it through tonight, I promised myself grimly, I'm really going to have to look at how I see myself.
I get very introspective when I feel ill. I examine my life and find it wanting. I feel myself toppling into an abyss of inky realisation that my life is just one tiny spark between two endless silences - and I am angry with myself for squandering it. Then I get angry with myself for not ever knowing quite what to do with it. It has been such a waste. Studying Existentialism at Uni only ever comes in handy when you are convinced that you're about to peg it.
Grim, isn't it? This is what I think about when I feel ill and alone. It's not happy stuff. Yet in everyday life, I am always seeking the humour in even the least appropriate situation. What is THAT about? I wished that Tertarus was home.
I took another pain killer and went downstairs to my never-sleeping friend: the internet. Tears of relief began to leak down my face as, at last, the overwhelming pain started to recede.
I googled my pain - gallstones. It was almost definitely gallstones.
After the day of cake mixture eating and baking AND a very tasty portion of leg of lamb (eaten VERY late at night), my bile duct was clearly in open revolt.
By the time I drifted off to a dreamless sleep, I had almost forgotten my ridiculous wheedling and bargaining with God.