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I've Seen Better Days: Why I Can't Go To Hospitals Anymore.

by meg ivy brunning 10 months ago in advice
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A mini essay on: Why I can't go to Hospitals Anymore.

Just A Shadow -- Artwork by me: Meg Ivy Brunning

I never liked hospitals, they were always too clean.

I remember how squeaky the floors were, the last time I had visited the hospital was when I was 12, high as hell off painkillers because I had broken my ankle from a freak dancing incident (we don’t need to talk about it, I’m still recovering!).

I was so out of it, looking up to the ceiling and talking to my Dad about stars and space, while singing to some song I was apparently obsessed with. In fact, I was so out of it, (I couldn’t stop talking or laughing or singing), that a nurse had to come over to my parents and ask them to take me to another location that wouldn’t disturb so many people.

The next time I visited a hospital, was in the thick of summer, my skirt brushing my ankles as I walked down the corridor, trying to keep up with my Father’s long strides and Mother’s whispered reassurances.

The place was bright, of course it was broad daylight and really sunny, but I mean it was blinding. You could almost see your reflection off the tiles as I kept my head down, only lifting it up when my Father told me to be careful of oncoming traffic (and by that he meant one person walking down the opposite side of the hallway).

We made it to a desk, my Father greeting them like they were old friends of his, as they smiled and signed him in, telling him to take a seat in which he turned to me and led me and my Mother to his normal seat.

Nothing was normal about this.

I laid my head against the wall, the brief contact of cold on my neck, a grand welcome compared to the sweat that was creating a thin layer on my forehead. My Father was talking to me but I wasn’t really listening, I was too busy scoping out my surroundings, my exit points, all of the other people sat around me.

Suddenly my Father’s voice filters back into my surroundings as he said:

You can come in with me if you want Angel Pie. They’ll let you stand behind the screen and you can see Dadda have his scan taken ... just like the one you had with your ankle. It’s kind of fun honestly. I look like a bit of an idiot too, so you can take some photos!

I remember slowly turning to look at him, trying to understand the full extent of what he just said to me. As much as he was trying to make it feel normal, like it was the time I broke my ankle, it wasn’t. Because the scan I had wasn’t of my brain, it wasn’t to make sure any sort of cancer was under control and I didn’t get a mould made for me.

It was an X-Ray, nothing big or important. This was important and it meant something. It meant that it was serious, that my Father wouldn’t be coming out of the hospital today just with a cast on and some crutches. No. He was walking out with a terminal illness that he still had when walking in. He wasn’t being fixed or patched up. He was being monitored and checked up on. My irrational frame of mind had never been kicked into action so quickly, my rational thoughts drowning out as I thought, no, no, no. This shouldn’t be happening … why is this happening? I came back into reality again, trying to fight off my anxious brain, screaming for me to run, to run so fast down the hallway that I hear my feet slap against the shiny tiles (why are they so shiny?) until I reach my Mother’s car and can go back home again.

I wish I could have been the kind of girl to jump up and say yes, to hold onto my Father’s arm as he shows me around his new humble abode, me taking photos of him behind the screen because he said too, watching him have his scan done.

But, I’m not. And I never will be.

I just smiled at him, as gently as possible, replying with a shake of my head, everything I wanted to say getting lodged so far down in my throat that I thought I would throw up.

My Father knew this was hard, he was just trying to make it bearable for the both of us, my Mother sitting in the middle. I knew he wanted to say more, try and persuade me to go in with him, I think a part of it was so that he didn’t feel so alone, but instead he smiled back, nodding his head.

He knew his question was a long shot ... he knew that I was going to say no.

“I’d rather see you when you’re all in one piece again!” I chuckled weakly, trying to lift the mood as much as I knew I could when being seated in a hospital.

He chuckled, nodding his head once again.

He reached his hand out, as I grabbed it, him squeezing it. “You got it, Angel Pie. You got it.”

It wasn’t that seeing my Father making (what he called) “a fool out of himself” sounded less than appealing, it was just the situation I was in. I didn’t want to see my Father like that. I wanted to see him like this, with his hand in mine and trying to lighten the mood.

Alive and well. Not with a plastic mould of his face on top of him, as he lies super still for however long it takes to scan him. Not having to try and what I would imagine, make small talk with the doctors in there, as if nothing is happening in front of me…as if my Dad isn’t having an MRI scan.

Soon his name was called, as I released a gigantic sigh I hadn’t even realised I’d been holding in. My Mother’s hand replaced my Father’s as she squeezed it and didn’t let go until we saw my Father again exit whatever room he came out of.

That was the last time I went to the hospital with him. Or for that fact, saw him in either.

I couldn’t stomach it again, I felt sick whenever he would mention how his scans went or over FaceTime when he would show me his scars from the operation or the burn that he acquired when he had a fit. It became too painful to look at, so like with anything, I pushed it to the back of my mind.

As far as it could go, until it just became static.

Radio silence.

And sometimes I wished it could have stayed like that.


About the author

meg ivy brunning

writing whatever is on my mind and about music i really like (and sometimes don't like) ... or something like that <3

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