‘You have to get well. Being ill is like being attacked, you see? Your body is like a great fortress that has been besieged by invaders. You’ve repelled them, you’ve seen them off, but you have to be good, and marshal your forces and rebuild the walls, refurbish your catapults, clean your cannons, restock your armouries. Do you see?’
Iain M. Banks, Inversions
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been unwell recently.
It turns out I was a lot sicker than I thought. This December has seen me go back into hospital, where I almost died from a massive hemorrhage. From there, I was diagnosed with a very rare illness (in the vasculitis family) and told that I’d probably been suffering from this illness for at least six months.
The only near-death experiences I’ve had prior to this have been the result of my own stupidity, but this time wasn’t my fault. There was nothing I could have done, nor was there anything that the medics who’d seen me earlier in the year could have done. Vasculitis is staggeringly rare; so rare that they don’t even know what causes it, and I was well out of the age range for people who usually suffer from my specific strain of vasculitis.
At the time, I didn’t notice nearly dying. I was busy, or – more accurately – distracted. In fact, I only realised how close to death I’d been after a few days, when the nurses who’d looked after me during my hemorrhage came back on duty and were fantastically happy to see me. Why?
Because they thought I was going to die, and I didn’t.
Make no mistake, this was a catastrophic breakdown of my health, and although I’m trying not to be dramatic about these events it’s hard to convey how much of a near thing it really was. Would it help to tell you that I couldn’t eat for six days after the hemorrhage, and was attached to several cannula’s and a catheter? Or am I being too revealing?
I don’t think what’s happened to me was a bad thing; in fact, I’m grateful for the experience. I’m still ill, and I’m told my recovery will take months, but given the alternative I’m happy with how things are going now. I’ve had a fantastic Christmas with my family, and my friends have been amazingly supportive. In fact, I should say that there’s nothing more life-affirming than not dying.