After a day or two in the general care, I asked if I could have a shower. I had been sweating and freezing for days and I felt dirty. I could barely get out of bed with two people helping me but I had managed to stand up a couple of times next to the bed.
A nurse named Mona said she would help me have a shower.
At first, it felt really humiliating. I had a bunch of bags sticking out of my body collecting my urine, my stomach juice or gall or whatever it is called and some other stuff.
I felt really embarrassed having to be helped out of bed and supported to a chair in the shower. But as soon as she turned the water on I felt instant relief. The feeling of warm water running down my body was incredible and so relaxing. I couldn't really lift my arms so she shampooed my hair and washed my body. I felt like a 90-year-old.
But she just said “I do this every day, don’t worry about it” and I managed to stop thinking for a second and just enjoy the hot water. After my shower I felt so much better and I actually felt like trying to walk a bit. And that day I managed to have my first stroll out in the corridor. Mona's good mood and compassion motivated me to keep going.
The nurses in the hospital in Tromsø were all so incredibly helpful and amazing people. They helped me with everything I needed and kept pushing me to stay positive. But the best thing they did was allowing Pia to be close to me. Since Pia is a nurse she was kind of taking some of their tasks on herself, at least the ones she could. And having her close to me was the only reason I managed to stay positive and look to the future.
In COVID times visitors in hospitals are not really allowed, but they made an exemption for Pia and myself. Without that I am honestly not sure I would have wanted to keep going. I was in so much pain and was struggling with nightmares every night I was dreading falling asleep and I was dreading being awake. And as I have always said, life is meaningless on the surface, so the only reason to live is if you yourself want to live. And for several days I really did not want to. I had analyzed it in my head, and decided that “I've had a decent life, I'm ok that it ends now”. I was looking around the room for ways to get out of my misery. But since Pia was there I had a reason to keep going. She could see it in my face when I was really struggling and gave me a smile and said “We are Team Ride the bean! We are going to ride our bike again”
That was all that kept me going. After a few more days I started to feel a bit better. Still in a lot of pain, but I managed to stand up and walk 2 or 3 times a day. And the doctor came in every day and said things seemed to improve. I started to feel like “Maybe I´ll be back on the bike soon”, and I started to feel a bit positive. They said since I belonged to Trondheim, they would send me down to heal at my local hospital. After another day or two I was transported by ambulance airplane back to Trondheim. That was a strange journey. Flying in a tiny plane stretched out on a gurney with bags sticking out of my body and having to have air pumped out of my stomach to counter the nausea. Also here we were incredibly lucky that Pia was able to fly with me. That made the trip a lot easier.
When I arrived in Trondheim I was well received at the hospital and all the nurses were great. Again I started to feel a bit more positive.
After a couple of days, they decided to remove my epidural and also the bags sticking out of my nose and my bladder. I was again starting to look forward. Things were improving little by little every day it felt. But I was still really struggling to eat. My stomach just kept filling up and I got very nauseous and full very quickly. They had some X-rays taken and it turned out that the place where they had sewn the large hole in my 12 finger intestine shut was bulging inward creating a blockage where food could not pass through. I had another CT scan done and it just shows the same thing.
They couldn't seem to figure out exactly what it was or why it was blocking everything. They said it could be just blood that would loosen up over time, but it might also mean I´ll need another operation. In that case I may need another 8-10 weeks in the hospital. That I was not prepared for.
After a bunch more tests they determined that it most likely would solve itself over time as long as I kept eating so that it would stretch. Problem was that I was really struggling to eat. I would spend an hour eating a yoghurt. But I tried my best. After a few days I started to feel better and the nurses started to remove all the hoses connected to me one by one. It felt so nice to finally be able to move without being tangled in a bunch of hoses.
I started to feel more positive and the doctors started telling me I could start preparing to leave the hospital. But a day or two after, my stomach really started to hurt and I had to do a whole bunch of new tests. Turned out I had gotten an infection in my wound and a huge boil had formed that needed to be drained. So now, instead of getting ready to leave the hospital I had to have another drain put in my stomach, a new catheter put in, an new epidural and a new feeding tube put in my nose. All of a sudden I was again hooked up to a whole bunch on cables struggling to even move and in a lot of pain.
For days I was doped up on a whole bunch of painkillers and spent most of my days half asleep. Luckily Pia came to visit me every day and took me for a walk so I could move a little bit and not become completely stiff. I had to walk around with all these cables attached to me for another week or so until the boil had been drained.
After that I finally started to feel better again and now I am finally about to leave the hospital after 6 weeks. Unless another complication occurs. Let's hope that does not happen.