Reflective Practice, Religion, Spirituality, The Inner World, Ways of Being

Adding insult to injury

A friend called round recently and we were talking about my experience of life in hospital- which was not enjoyable. It was not enjoyable in ways that had nothing to do with the reasons for my admission. (I’ve touched on these in my last two blogs.) My friend commented on the insult of surgery / admission / trauma. I was intrigued. I would  have expected to hear about an “assault”. Not an insult. But It’s a great description. I discover that I’m furious that this has happened to me. I paid my dues. Kept fit. Went to the gym. Managed my cholesterol levels. Kept (more or les) to recommend alcohol limits. I’ve never smoked. I’ve nearly killed myself cycling. I take two energetic spaniels for an hour a day walk. I work as  a psychotherapist. Have been in my own therapy and analysis.I attend a Quaker meeting most weeks and spend a meditative hour there. I am happily married with a great group of friends. What more am I supposed to do to keep the Universe happy? And how does said Universe repay me? It nearly kills me by giving me a major heart valve that is quietly leaking and will erupt imminently resulting in my sudden and inevitable death age 62. Where’s the justice in that? What kind of universe treats people like this? (For “Universe” add  whatever word  that fits your belief system.) I want to say to the Universe “You’re having a fucking laugh. What kind of fool do you take me for if you expect me to have any confidence in you in the future?” (Or as someone else tartly observed to God “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few.”)

That’s my sticking point. Do I choose to believe in the Christian God of my youth? Do I say with Job “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” Do I retreat to a cynical nihilism? I have no idea.  The most helpful comment I heard on this was from a Chaplain at Great Ormond Street Children’s hospital. When asked “Why has this happened?” he would reply. “I don’t know. Perhaps the only reason is that there is no reason.” That works for me. There is no overarching meaning to my heart problems. I’m lucky. I survived and, all being well, shall continue to thrive and enjoy my life. I’d like to think that I shall become a slightly better therapist. Be able to be a liltle more empathic at times. Beyond that modest aim,I have no master plan. Except to avoid hospitals like the plague.Add-Insult-To-injury-


4 thoughts on “Adding insult to injury

  1. HI Terry – so pleased you are back at home and can start sorting your (new?) life out. I’m convinced part of the problem of medical care is that we are often unconscious for the really big bits, so there is a mismatch between our mind’s experience and our body’s experience. The body knows at a fundamental level that we are in a life-threatening situation, but our conscious mind is unaware though we may hear someone telling us. The rational, thinking part can take on board the seriousness of our condition but processes it various levels that make it mismatch the body’s experience – you know these much better than I do!
    Anyway lots of love to you and here’s to an interesting working out of the issues …


    • I agree Jess. My experience of Papworth was of being on a conveyor belt which had a various side roads to deal with any additional medical problems but which followed a predictable route from admission to discharge. It was organised in a kindly manner but one which lacked any understanding of the emotional battering we were taking. (You’ve been there yourself and with Callum) Nobody-and it was a nursing task- ever sat down with me and talked with me. Or listened to me.I probably didn’t know how I felt but asking tHE question would have been helpful. It might have allowed some integration to happen sooner. I’m still waking up in the night being careful not to stretch because I’ll disturb the monitor leads even though they all came out about a week ago. I’d love to talk to the nurses on the ward about their psychological skills training but I don’t see that happening. Now the physical work feels relatively easy. Do X distance each day and steadily increase .i don’t have such an easy psychological regime as evidenced by my ongoing insomnia. But I\m alive- and that counts for a great deal.
      Much love


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