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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Hospital after Shock: Random Reflections

On the 27th September, I was hospitalised at our state hospital Mater Dei where I had to spend nine days until I got better. Yes, the doctors and nurses and others who worked there at the M3 ward where I was consigned as Bed 9 were supportive and treated me well.

This post isn't about that. It's about the sense of helplessness and emptiness that hospital, like any institution, leaves behind. I remain amazed and somewhat shocked at how such an experience affects me on a personal level each time it occurs.

I remember getting into hospital with a job and ideas for my research thesis, only to discover that inasmuch as I pretended to be a significant person so to speak, i was once more a subject requiring a diagnosis and treatment followed by a prognosis. My daily routine dictated by a regiment comprised of blood testing, temperature readings, exercises and the visit of countless medical students who were supposed to discover "what was wrong with me.".

Granted,I did give my consent to these medical interrogations because I understand that these will be future doctors and they need to learn that what they refer to as patients were and are persons first. I also agreed to having my body scrutinised, I confess, because time became almost irrelevant when I knew that the decision on when I could leave was beyond my control.

Thankfully, our hospital has now the facility of offering cable television, a telephone service and Internet to each individual patient at a fee which meant that I wasn't totally cut off from the world. However, the screen needs some work as I found difficulties in using the touch interface given my visual impairment. Not to mention how awkward it was to answer the phone with my physical impairment. Honestly, this technology was partly disabling me which added to my frustration.sometimes I also relied on my iPhone to entertain myself at times I just couldn't sleep.

Yet, in spite of all the possible distractions I could think of, life here was missing something important. Friends and family did visit. Friends on FaceBook also sent their wishes. I was moved and thankful. And it wasn't enough. After a week, it felt a link with the world had been severed. Not forever but the damage had been done.

I'm not sure if you're understanding my position. In truth, I need to understand it myself. The fact is that the days I spent in hospital reminded me how terrible it is to be stripped of an identity and perceived only one dimensionally - in this context as a medical subject and object. The horror of realising that you are vulnerable and really nothing in comparison to nature and the universe. It's both a humbling and humiliating experience. To think that all my life i had tried escape from being reduced to a label or stereotype. To fight for the right to be who I want to be. Only to realise how easy it is to lose, even for a few days, exactly what?

I know that this is an atypical post. It's charged with personal reflections which may appear obscure and random. But there aren't devoid of meaning. I admit that this experience has affected me greatly. I need to put back the pieces. What is sure that it reawakened my awareness of the potential destructive power we have. The threat of an institution based on superficiality and generalisations.I'm referring to the disabling tendency of society to view people with impairment as partially human. Forgetting the fact that we don't want to be special but ourselves. And this isn't just about disabled people. It concerns all of us. As long as we keep living in fear of ourselves preferring the safety of our limited experience and misconceived prejudice, the world will …regress. I think that I will end this post here. For I return to work on Monday.