We’re home from hospital, and as excited as I was, it’s hard. I’ve been through this process before, and it takes time to adjust to being at home, but this time it feels harder.
Gone is the highly structured and enforced routine. Several weeks in hospital and nearly every day went like this:
7:30am – 9am: Breakfast
8am – 9am: Morning medication
9am: Community meeting
9:30am – 10am: Anxiety management group
10am – 11am: Morning tea
11am – 12pm: Morning group
12pm – 1pm: Lunch (and brief visiting hours)
1pm – 1:15pm: Lunchtime medication (if you have any)
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Afternoon group
2pm – 3pm: Afternoon tea
4pm: Walk/yoga/other group
5pm – 6:15pm: Dinner
5pm – 9pm: Visiting hours
8:45pm – 9:30pm Nighttime medication
10:30pm: Second round of nighttime medication for those who go to bed late (not me!)
All of that routine is gone. I didn’t participate in all of the groups because of my physical health issues, but there was still plenty to do. I also saw my doctor six days a week for what was often an intense therapy session. Plus chatting to my nurse in the morning and afternoon. Then throw in tidying my hospital room, washing my clothes, showering, and other self-care. Very little free time!
Now I’m home it’s really hard to keep any routine going. I can sleep when I want, for as long as I want. I can take medication when I want, eat when I want. Complete freedom.
Admittedly I was craving my freedom a couple of weeks in. Desperate to be able to have more down time, and time for Netflix. My focus was therapy though, so Netflix had to wait. Now I can watch as much as I want, but I’m finding myself bored with it already.
The hardest part? Loneliness. I’m an absolute introvert. I need time to myself to process my day, recharge, and plan for the next day. That doesn’t mean I don’t like socialising though.
In hospital it was easy. If I was feeling sociable I could sit in communal areas and chat with other patients. I could participate more in groups. I could stay longer in the dining room and chat with other patients after finishing my meal.
At home I’m almost always alone. My housemate is physically well and able, and is out a lot. It’s almost like living alone. It’s such a huge difference to being in hospital. In time I’ll adjust to spending more time alone, but for now it’s hard.
I wasn’t anxious about returning home, I was excited! I always am, and I think that makes me forget how hard the adjustment can be. Going suddenly from being surrounded by people, talking to multiple people multiple times a day to seeing one person, chatting briefly, then being alone all day is really difficult.
I feel so lonely. So isolated and alone. I’m working on it though. I’m not giving up and sitting in despair. I’ve got a couple of things planned with close friends and family. I just need to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to feel lonely. It’s okay to feel whatever I feel, but I need to remember that there’s something I can do about it too.
Onwards and upwards! More posts to come about the work we did in hospital.