Last week I discussed how my illness altered my thoughts and feelings in the lead up to my hospitalisation. To cast a slightly more cheerful light on things, I thought that this week I’d talk about some of the hallucinations I had whilst I was in hospital. Obviously, at the time the experience was pretty scary for both me and my family. Now, we can look back at some of the crazy things I came up with and have a good laugh.
Before we get to the bit where you all get to have a giggle at my expense, let’s talk science.
There’s not much scientific evidence as to what causes hallucinations, but they’re a common symptom of sepsis, high doses of morphine, sleep deprivation and inflammation of the brain.
I was battling all of the above, so my hallucinations could have been caused by one factor, or all of them. We’ll never know!
What we do know, is that some of the things my brain conjured up were downright hilarious.
So, here are my top five:
1. Automatic Patient Delivery System
I didn’t just come up with random ideas during my hallucinations. I solved some real-life problems. With all of the scans and specialist treatment I needed while I was an inpatient, I spent a lot of my time waiting for porters to take me to other parts of the hospital. My solution? An automatic patient delivery system. A simple system whereby a nurse types a location in to a keypad next to a patient’s bed, a chute under the bed opens and the patient slides their way to their destination. Think ‘Wallace and Gromit, The Wrong Trousers’ – NHS style. I think it’s definitely something the NHS should invest in!
2. Hockey World Cup
Next up on the list of craziness: my visit to the hockey world cup. In January 2019 it was hosted in Kimbolton – the Cambridgeshire village that I grew up in. Not only was Kimbolton hosting, but the village had put together a team who had made it to the final! That’s right. Kimbolton vs Iceland in the hockey world cup final.
Obviously a small Cambridgeshire village hosting such a major international event means that the village needed a little bit of a refurb. For some reason, most of the houses in the village were left as is, but I decided that my Aunt and Uncle’s house would be converted to a Disney store. Just what’s needed during a sports event!
3. Help, I’m a shopping trolley centaur
Picture this: A standard supermarket trolley with a fold out seat for toddlers next to the handle. A few days after I’d been admitted to hospital I decided it’d be a brilliant idea to climb inside the trolley and I got stuck. My parents came back from getting a cup of coffee to be crying out for help. I think my exact words were “Help, help, I’m a shopping trolley centaur”. When I’d escaped the shopping trolley (in my head, of course), I very wisely advised my parents and the lovely nurse on shift that day “Don’t climb in a shopping trolley if you’re 23 years old. It’s a bad idea. You’ll get stuck”.
4. We’re going to the zoo
In at number 4 – a zoo was being built near the hospital! Obviously, the most obvious route to the site of the zoo was through the hospital, so the animals had to go through my room. Not the giraffes though, they were too big to fit! This meant that I spent at least an hour trying to convince both my parents and a nurse to hide from the lions in the bathroom. I was fine because I could hide under the covers of my bed. The lions couldn’t get me there. A few hours after the lions had gone through, I reliably informed my parents that there was a zebra stuck in the room. It’s okay though, my Dad got a tool kit for his birthday, so I asked him to build a pen for the zebra.
By far the best item on the list is my visit from the Teletubbies in the middle of the night. For those readers not from the UK, the Teletubbies are four characters from a children’s television programme of the same name. They are called Tinkywinky, Dipsy, Lala and Po and they all have different shaped antenna sticking out the top of their heads. I loved the programme as a child, but as an adult, they’re kind of creepy!
This hallucination happened in the middle of the night quite late on in my illness. I was ill enough for my Mum to be staying with me. I thanked her for keeping me company by waking her up at two in the morning by screaming “Don’t do that to Po!” at the top of my lungs. When asked what was wrong, I explained to my Mum that the other three Teletubbies were being mean to Po. They had frog marched her in to the room and threaded a pole through the hole on her antenna. They had then wedged the pole between the floor and the ceiling and started spinning her around the pole. Very rude if you ask me!
These are my top five crazy moments, but that’s definitely not the end of it. I spent most of January telling anyone who would listen about other things happening in my head. I had a midnight tea party with the Queen, a visit from Nick Knowles, took a ride on a boat and bought a submarine just so I could see a polar bear. The craziest thing of all?
I’m incredibly lucky to be sitting here writing this post and I count my lucky stars every day that not only am I almost back to being healthy, but I’ve found support from Headway. I’m still channeling my inner crazy-kid by running a marathon less than eighteen months after such a life changing illness, but it’s totally worth it. In the three weeks since I launched my fundraising appeal I’ve raised £500 which will go a huge way to helping other brain injury survivors. I’d be forever grateful if you could make a donation today to get me that much closer to my fundraising goal. As ever, it’s okay if you can’t afford a donation. You can still help me on my journey by sharing 26 Miles from Brain Injury on your social media accounts. Just click one of the little buttons at the bottom of the page.
In the coming weeks I would like to write an ‘Ask the Audience’ style post. I’ve committed to writing a post every week, so I figured I might as well write about something you lovely people want to know more about! So, ask me a question. Whether it’s about my mental health struggles, my hospitalisation, my treatment since discharge or some other completely unrelated thing, I’m all ears!
Thanks for reading,