Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Dark nights, alone, frightened.

No-one to come when you call. Bloody sheets, retching as just-cut muscles scream in discordant hell.

No one comes.

You exist not to move. Not to blink, not to breathe. They all rip through you in waves. Tubes tie you there in tangled vitality.

Survival. A real person in the room with you. Watching. The only person in the world. All there is to focus on. We're so surprised to meet. Learning about each other is a revelation.

It is all about hanging on. Somehow, minute by minute, hour by hour.

Always quiet, not dark but dim.

At last they come. Survival leans forward in his chair - will you make him leave?

You Force your eyes to focus first, through sheer force of will. (I must speak, I must explain.)

You test a sound, but Survival is smiling, nodding quietly in his chair.

"I need you."

(Tries again, not enough)

"I need you to stop this drug."

(Pauses. You feel yourself falling, far away, into yourself, but there's only one thing. One important thing you have to do. You know you can. If you could only remember how.)


Then nothing. No survival, no opinion, no determination. Just nothing.

When you wake, survival has gone and a kind face says they saved you. You smile, falling gratefully back.

But the smile is because they're wrong. You saved you.

That's how we do it. That's what made me able to do it. That's why I can do this but not live the way others do. 

Because being dangerously, critically ill means that you will always, always find a way to get past Survival. 

Until you don't. As, one day, we all won't.


  1. Sue - thank you for sharing - I suspect many who are chronically ill feel such things. Brave to put it into words for the rest of us to read. x

  2. I like the way you reflect both the vulnerability and the strength of a person trying to cope with being unwell, with brutal honesty but in a sensitive and warmly emotional way.

  3. I empathise with you and thank you for sharing such deep thoughts.

  4. I remember telling a nurse how bad I had been, only to find she was the one who had nursed me through a bad spell.
    We need our own strength, but how it helps to have someone to hold your hand!
    I have never met you Sue, but I will always hold your hand.

  5. Hello,

    What is the best email to contact you on?

  6. "Falling into oneself" That is exactly what it is like when faced by the darkness of critical illness but I could never find words to even remotely describe that feeling when the outside world fades to the distance as my own fight for survival blocks out everything else. Such powerful words for such a profound experience. So glad you have survived to share them.

  7. Abstract, as pain so very often is.. Lovely writing.