Never ending hospitals
Where we left off the last time was when I told you that I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Having faced the death of a loved one, facing my own turn was not as difficult as I had thought it would be. I woke up one morning and felt as if the heat was scorching my body and there was this dire need to cough out something heavy that was stuck inside of my chest. The sound of the cough itself was satisfying as it resembled the sound of craters breaking apart.
I remember walking to my father and asking him why it was so hot. He was working with my mother in the backyard, where days before I had been helping. I ended up slipping as I naturally do and having spikes of raw steel and splinters of wood enter my skin. I would later need 3 surgeries to remove those splinters from my arm and a tetanus shot to ensure that my sanity was intact.
No matter how much I tried to escape the grasps of the hospital as a visitor, it would call me back in as a patient. Perhaps the hospital was an answer to all my needs.
The paediatrician examining me, did not need long to assess that I needed to be immediately admitted. I had a fever of 39C and the cough was much more serious than just bronchitis. I begged and pleaded to be good, but no one was listening and before I knew it I was in a hospital bed with tubes stuck in me from every which direction.
It all began there, the phobias that is. From the dumping into the cold ice water to get that damned fever out, to the constant renewal of drips because my blood kept going up the tubes, to the 3 hourly medicine runs. I lost so much weight. I remember looking at my arm one day, it had been poked at the base onto of my hand, on both sides of my wrist, on the inner side of my elbow and the same with the other arm. Most frightening of all my wrist began to disappear and caved in so much.
I remember thinking this would be the end…….
Having seen children come in and go, I was sceptical I would ever leave. My mother had told me that they had kept on needing to change my medicine, because they couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting better. It seems the diagnosis was somewhat difficult to determine which type of pneumonia I had. My chest X-Rays which had almost become daily routine showed less and less improvement.
My mother and father were sitting beside me crying, looking lovingly at me. I didn’t want them to ever leave, because the nights were the worst. A baby in a cot next to me was having seizures all night and it scared me. I couldn’t sleep.
I turned to my parents and told them that they would be fine without me and that I would always be close by. That’s when my mother took things into her own hands. She ensured that the doctor on my case prescribed me the right medication and miraculously within 2 days I was on the road to recovery.
I begged the doctor to let me out, to let me go home and I told him that I would do cartwheels to prove I was better.
Eventually he succumbed and I spent the next month recovering, by building puzzles, sewing clothes, painting pillows. Until I was ready to go back to school.
Work hard … play Hard…. learn to value money
I remember the summer prior I had not been ill and in fact I had been working at a supermarket to earn some money. My parents always knew that I liked to do creative things and sell them, like the beadwork that I had made and sold at school. This would be something I would do throughout my life.
My mother’s friend was the owner of the supermarket and we had 2 Bulgarians staying with us that my parents had been helping out to step on their feet.She organised them and me work at the supermarket. It was an exciting place!
I used to wake up at 6am in the morning and come home at 7pm. Having stacked shelves, packed bags and helped customers. My feet had always ached after a long day at work, I plonked myself in the hot bath water and felt the relief spread throughout all my tensed muscles. I wasn’t making much money, but the money I made I used to buy myself a nice wooden hairbrush and my mom a birthday gift. I won out of all the kids the most collected tips from the customers.
As I was old enough to like boys by the stage, I was very much interested in one particular boy with black bushy hair. If I describe him now, you would not think him to be prince charming, but he was to me. He had large glasses, the lenses were very thick and I couldn’t see anything with them, he had braces, but a beautiful smile none the less. We used to work together and chase each other round the shop. Eventually summer was over and we wouldn’t see each other for a long time.
Another School Change
My mother always liked to compare me with other kids, it always made me feel as if I was never good enough. In her mind this was her idea of making me more ambitious, because she knew I would always try to win her affection as I had so little of it when I was a child. Manipulation is something I had to deal with all my life and more than anyone I think woman are very good at doing this to their husband’s, girlfriends, boyfriends, pets, anyone really.
I ended up applying for my first year at Crawford College, known to be the most prestigious school in the country. Reasons: because it was in English and hopefully it would pick up my grades. Till this moment I had no real foundation to build onto in terms of knowledge. With so many languages under my belt and so little time doing any other real learning I really wasn’t sure how I would perform. I would try my best and that is what I did.
However, the majority of the kids there were real socialites and me having come from a now more modest background I wasn’t really ready to embark on having that burden on top of me as well. I at least felt comfortable in the German school, beyond the humiliation that one particular kid had planned out for me, all the rest was nothing too worrying. The humiliation came through when I fell in love with one particular boy and actually was the first boy to ever reject me and that he did in public prompted by his friend a much larger girl than myself that I didn’t really want to take on. Several of the kids there put chillies on my pens also to play practical jokes, but what they don’t know is that I put hamster poop on all their belongings from the class pet.
Makes me giggle when I think of it…. little evil me with my first real payback. I was the only one that knew.
I had my share of crushes there and heartbreaks, but we won’t talk about this now because it is a much more complex topic.
So back to being in this popular school of famous kids of wealthy parents.
I wasn’t a spoilt kid, I worked hard and under the circumstances quickly found myself to be part of the group of foreign kids like me. I was happy to be accepted there, because it felt natural. At the same time, I couldn’t help but attract the attention of people around me.In class I was being bullied by the insults of two boys, but time had taught me to fight back and so I did. I think they got hurt more than I did.
On top of this I actually started to excel at school, which put me more in the spotlight. More bullying by more kids even from my own home country. I took three on at the same time, just words, but I knew how to use mine so they would hurt and humiliate. I hated to be at the bottom of the food chain.
My teachers loved me, I had the backing of my family and I stood strong. I slowly developed a very close relationship with my parents. They would steer me on and help me progress and so I did. The last thing I remember before I was forced to grow up was being sent on an Art tour around Europe.
I really enjoyed the tour, but had been madly in love with some boy from school who didn’t know a thing about relationships. In the end I made one of the bigger mistakes that I now look back on and regret. I ended up buying him so many gifts and wasting my parent’s money and not buying them anything. They could see that I wasn’t thankful for going on this trip and I remember when I came back they told me that it had hurt them a lot to see me moaning after having been given such an opportunity. Slowly I was transforming into a spoilt brat. I felt so guilty and for years now I still try hard to make it up to them.
The year after my mother told me that she was going to move to another town far away so as to be able to open up her own private practice. I blamed her or leaving us and most of all for being so afraid to try and make something of herself in the town we were living in, no matter how hard that would be. To this day she still doesn’t believe in herself.