The Bad Days

Following up on Emma’s post last week about the good days, I would like to invite you to what thus far was not one of my better days since being diagnosed with MS.

Like good days, bad days are often made of compounding issues; as time moves on and it seems as if Murphy’s Law really has it in for you. Getting out of its grips can be done by crawling under your duvet and hiding, providing you don’t trip on a loose-fitting piece of carpet on your way to bed first!.

I still feel shivers running down my spine when I think back on the day when I was diagnosed with a superbug called Clostridium Difficile. It knocked me when I was told that I had been steadily getting worse due to something only elderly people, or only people who take a lot of antibiotics, contract. The fact was, I was only 35 years old, and I never used antibiotics.

What I did have, however, was one very wonky immune system that messed up my central nervous system. It also tricked my medical team as they never suspected that a superbug could be the cause of why I was near that dark, mouldy and wet six-feet-under we only want to visit when we’re old and grey.

Once the shock had settled somewhat, I realised that earlier that day, I had brushed off my Mum on the phone by saying that a nurse was by my bedside that moment and that I would call her back later.

I didn’t. 

And that nurse? She wasn’t there either.

Overnight, my system had slowly gone into lockdown. I had no energy left to talk, let alone give an overview of what was happening. At the time of my Mum calling me, doctors didn’t know yet that a superbug was the reason.

A few hours later I was hastily taken into surgery, with two doctors on each arm trying to find a suitable vein. At that stage, my veins had learned a few vanishing acts when they’re near doctors or nurses. I later joked that having two doctors on every arm was a dream come true, even when it was in dire circumstances!.

I was put in an isolation room, and my consultant later walked in and said, “You are quite ill, but we will take very good care of you”. It suddenly hit me that morning could have been the last time my Mum and I would speak to each other.

When I was finally able to return to work weeks later, I felt fabulous. No doubt a placebo-effect of some sort had taken place, and I felt more alive than I ever had. It didn’t last though, as eventually MS took over again.

Like Emma learned from her hellish symptoms, I similarly learned to focus on what is in front of me: my future, better medication on the horizon and despite being told that C. Diff can return, simply getting on with life. Every moment since, I call bad days ‘less good days’, as the worst day has happened already and nothing has felt more intense or frightening since.

For those less good days, which thankfully don’t seem to happen a lot, I have some ways of feeling better mentally:

Taking a shower

Singing along to some of my favourite songs

Writing

Making coffee or going to Starbucks

Reminding myself that it’s OK not to be OK

Watching favourite programs

Any cranky day now gets discarded pretty fast, as I can’t allow any negativity affecting my days. Even positive excitement sends my eye and facial pain into overdrive. If you see me with a stern facial expression so, please know that I am positively excited inside. 

What having a superbug taught me was that life needs to be lived. You can’t hide from it; you need to address it head-on. At the end of the day, even bad days can teach you something worthwhile.

If you want to read more of Willeke’s own blog, please check Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me and Twitter

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