Let’s talk about camping. I’ve never been a camping girl, not before surgery or after really. My ideal camping is in a hotel room with a comfy bed, nice warm clean shower, functioning toilet and heat. I have recently been camping, for the second time in my life, but also, more importantly, for the first time with Stevie. I best point out that neither of the times were for pleasure, both for work, just the first time was about 6 or 7 years ago now. I was lucky enough to get to borrow a tent from a friend, a completely new one, a 2 person tent, a blow up airbed, a mat and a sleeping bag, in an attempt to make the sleeping arrangement a bit more comfortable. I was working the weekend at a festival, called Deershed, in Thirsk, which is more of a family style festival. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and the people who went to the festival were all lovely, however I got so run down. I was working/on my feet for 18 hours, sleeping, in a tent, for only 3 or 4 hours if I was lucky. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a hard worker, and I always have been, and I will push myself as much as I can, specially if it is only for a few days, but this was just too much for me. By day 3 I had a breakdown, I just started crying. Having a queue outside as soon as you open, until midnight just wasn’t good. We had lost one member of staff the first night there, she just left and went home without saying anything, which left so much more pressure and work on the rest of us there. Anyway, I spent 4 days using portable toilets and little camping portable showers which they had on site. The shower had nice warm water, however we had to walk quite a way after finishing work, or before but I can’t ever sleep if I am still all greasey and dirty after a long days work so it was always a night time shower for me. It was muddy all the way to the showers, and once there the room was damp, grassy and full of flies and mosquitoes. The only surface in there was past my hip in height so when trying to change my bag I had to stand on my tiptoes. It was a challenge but it was way better than using the portable toilet and trying to find somewhere in there to do it all. Luckily I managed to only need to change my bag once during the days there, and using a portable toilet worked just fine for emptying the bag out too.
It’s a bit upsetting realising how much something can change you though. A few years ago I would have been able to cope with this full experience just fine (I think), tired but I would have probably been pretty ok after some rest…now things have changed. I got to the last day and felt myself breaking down. I just wanted to cry, I couldn’t cope anymore and I didn’t want to talk to another person. My body was aching, I was exhausted beyond belief and my head wasn’t able to stay strong. I kept pretending things were fine, I had a smile on my face, but inside I felt like I was falling. Falling from a high cliff into the darkness. I just tried to take deep breaths, stay calm and stand tall. I focused on “it’s just a few more hours” and did everything I could to keep myself together. I was meant to stay camping one last night, as it was a late finish with the final clear up and everything, but after expressing how I felt, I got picked up at the end of the night. It got to 2 am, we had finish clearing the unit and it was straight to the camping site, get my tent and all my belongings, which I just put in bin bags, and went home. I have never been so happy to get picked up before in my life. I then spent the next two and a half days in bed, sleeping more or less constantly, only waking up a few times to eat, drink and go to the toilet. I finally managed to get up and actually get fresh air after those two and a half days, but my god did my body struggle. The pain and exhaustion I felt was unreal. I don’t even know how to explain it. I then the following day went on to work away for another 4 days, this time on my own, staying in a caravan with the most uncomfortable bed ever. I managed to save the bed a bit by luckily still having the sleeping bag and a few other bits in my car so I could make the bed more comfortable. The bathroom was about 200 m away from the caravan, which isn’t too bad but it was a drag having to get up and out to go for my night time toilet trips. Oh and the showers…dear lord.. Again, a walk away, water and mud everywhere. I had my wellies with me and had to hang all my clothes on the hooks in the cubicle. The shower water was warm and had good pressure, however I had to do a great deal of balancing to get dried, dressed and stay clean. Lifting one leg to dry, try to get that leg through my clothes, without dropping the other trouser leg in the water, to then carry on getting a sock on and in my welly before doing the same with the next leg. Luckily I could do my bag changes in the caravan at least, which was a bit more comfortable, but good god, it is not fun being along for that many days. Specially not after the previous weekend and still not feeling totally rested and human yet. I remember the first night there, I just cried, I was exhausted, uncomfortable and lonely. Anyway, it’s crazy what stress can do to us. I finished that job too and ended up with my body telling me it’s had enough big time. My skin broke out with lots of spots (even though the picture doesn’t really show them up very much), well the most since I was a teenager, and they were bad back then, my rectum was being painful and my ulcerous colitis flaring painfully, my varicose veins on my leg were so sensitive and sore to touch, even just my trousers touching would hurt, I got mouth ulcers which I haven’t had for several years and I got thrush. I have not had thrush for very very veeeery many years and when I went for help they first recommended the oral pill and cream combination, until I realised I best mention the fact that I have an ileostomy and ulcerous colitis, at which point they realised it was better for me to take the cream and a soft gel pessary. So all fun in my world with the virginal pessary as well as the rectal suppository, plenty of creams, painkillers and water haha. My full body was in pain, screaming at me to rest and not carry on like this. So the past week has been full of rest, plenty of water and just a huge attempt at getting my body back to a functioning state at least.
I have always known I was very sensitive to stress, but this past month has really shown me how a lack of sleep, stress and bad food really can make such a huge difference to my well being. I am still trying to get on track of everything, my body is still aching and my mental health is still a bit heavy, but I am definitely feeling better than I was a few weeks ago. The other day was my mums birthday and my sister came home for it and we had a lovely weekend together which, even though I was struggling to stay all happy and cheery, I felt how it really helped give me some life back. Love is important and family time is worth so much. I will soon be back to “normal” again, or at least more balanced and be able to update you all on so much more, but for now. a bit more rest for me.