Home: so near, yet so far You want to be home when you are battered in life and vulnerable. Be home so you can feel safe and nurse your wounds.
Back then, that wasn't an option. In fact, I knew I wouldn't have that option for a long, long time to come.
Still... Melbourne was too far from home, so I asked for a transfer to Sydney as soon as I could.
It was hard.
I was barely breathing on my own. My neck was still broken, waiting to grow back. I had to be secured by 7 pillows on the reclining wheelchair when I was not in bed so I wouldn't fall out of it. I needed to be manually turned by 2 people every 2 hours so my flesh wouldn't rot.
A 1hr flight home had never looked more challenging.
6 weeks later, with enough nagging and even more hard work on my breathing, I was given the green light.
I didn't have anything to pack, nor did I have any clothes to wear. Except my metal head cage and a hospital gown. It was an important day of my life.
I woke up especially early, asked my nurse to brush my hair and put on a new gown. Because I wasn't allowed out of bed, she couldn't tie up the gown behind me, so I asked her to tie the strings into pretty bows on the side.
It wasn’t much. I know. It’s not easy to hold onto your dignity and self-respect at a time like that, but I tried.
After that, I waited for people to come and wheel my bed into an ambulance, and from the ambulance into a tiny patient transport plane. The plane was so small. My nurse could hardly sit straight. It was so noisy I could hardly hear him talking. Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered.
The flight was tense, the look on the nurse's face said it all. My blood pressure wasn't doing well, my breathing became difficult, my ears were so painful I honestly thought they were going to pop. Before I knew it, I had my face covered in oxygen mask and had who knows what drugs pumped into my veins. I didn't care. I was going home!
Then I landed in Sydney, again wheeled into an ambulance, then into a building, a few lifts and many long corridors later, I arrived at unit 7D of the Royal North Shore Hospital.
After spending the whole day staring at different ceilings, they sat me up. In that room, there was a window, and beyond the window was the blue spring sky. Sydney’s blue spring sky!
I was home, and yet I wasn't. I was back in the same city I lived in and loved, somehow nothing felt the same any more.
Home, so near, yet so far.