April 13, 2005 - 9:50 am
My first week back at work.
Monday Ė I wake up feeling excited to be returning to the world of normal activity, looking forward to doing normal every day things like commuting, making tea for co-workers, chatting about telly, checking emails, writing minutes, doing all the mundane every day PA type tasks that I did four and a half weeks ago before my world got turned on its head.
I arrive at work at 10am (they agreed I could do 10am-4pm this week to ease me back in). By 11am I began feeling nauseous. At 11.30am, half way through my ďback to workĒ meeting, I had to run to the toilet where I threw up my breakfast. I left at 12.15pm and endured the worst journey home ever. You know when youíre really hungover and youíre on the tube and every stop you think maybe Iíll just get off here and throw up. Well it was exactly like that. I made it as far as Leytonstone then threw up all over the pavement outside everything I had eaten in the last 24 hours. It was my least dignified moment in life I think. I was totally alone and totally terrified of what was happening to me.
Then some guy came running over with a cup of water! Bless his heart, he had seen me being sick and grabbed some water from the Fried Chicken place to give to me. Restored my faith in human nature I can tell you. I told him I was eight weeks pregnant, terrible lie but it was better than ďIím throwing up and have no idea why but itís possibly the side effects of the obscene amount of drugs that I am currently taking to prevent surgeons from removing my colonĒ.
Twenty minutes later I wobbled in my front door. I knew I was about to be sick again, I could hardly stand due to the muscle pain in my back (muscle pain is a side effect of one of my drugs) and my vision was blurred and I was very dizzy. I was terrified that I was going to faint and choke on my own vomit, so I grabbed the phone from the bedroom and collapsed onto the bathroom floor and managed to call Mr D and blurt out everything.
I was sick but I didnít pass out and choke. Instead I started to shiver and my temperature soared and I spent the afternoon in and out of consciousness wrapped in three duvets with a hot water bottle, with the sun blazing outside. Mr D came home early to look after me. He is my hero, he really is. Five weeks of a pathetically ill wife and he had only lost patience mildly a couple of times.
Tuesday - I woke up feeling dodgy but better. I was determined to get back to work and being normal so I showered off the night-sweats and headed to work. I sat in a meeting for two hours, a focus group on a new project for employing ex-homeless, and the whole thing just washed over me. I had nothing to say, nothing to contribute, not a single intelligent thought in my mind, this made me extremely upset, itís like the past four weeks have erased any useful part of me that once existed. I felt like a ghost, and I was steadily feeling hotter and more nauseous.
I went home at 12pm. Fortunately I wasnít sick this time. But once again I was shivering under a mountain of feather duvets all day.
I have no idea what is wrong with me Ė I donít know if I have got the flu, or a bug, or if itís side effects from the drugs I am taking. I am hoping and praying it is flu or a bug, because I need to take the drugs. And I feel so so so guilty, like I am letting everyone down: letting my family down because they are so worried, because they want me to be well so badly; letting Mr D down, because nobody should have to put up with this day in and day out; letting work down by not being there, by taking so much time off sick and then having to take even more time off when I am supposed to be coming back; letting myself down because I can feel it getting to me, I canít take much more of this, I can feel it getting deep inside of me and I am beginning to feel depressed. It is totally terrifying when your body just seems to keep failing on you, all the time, and every time you try to be normal, to get out there, to work, to be human, to be part of the human race, you canít.