you are in A&E
you did not want to come.
you knew what would happen.
this pain that seems to penetrate from between your ribs to out of the centre of your spine
means it is back.
the one that tried to kill you before
not the cancer
you are in agony
(but not so much agony that you cannot scold a man watching videos on his phone with the sound up).
you are about to climb out of your chair, onto the floor
because you cannot work out a way to stop the pain
but they call your name.
you crawl onto the bed
the nurse tells you that you can't stay there
you are only there to be triaged
that bed is not for you
you are in a different cubicle
on a different bed
(that you are allowed to stay on)
a doctor comes to take your blood
you sit up
your first thought
"it has been several days since we had kale."
morphine on demand
naloxone (it feels like
being ripped apart
from the inside)
it is dark
can't tell what day it is
there are tubes
in too many holes
holes you didn't have before
(when did they make these holes)
you aren't allowed an anaesthetic
you must have been awake when they tunnelled that little-finger-sized line from your groin to your heart
when they catheterised you
when they put you on dialysis
even when they brought you down here
how do you not remember
(because you haven't slept since you arrived in hospital)
it is flashes
crying about pain that they cannot fix
having a panic attack because you cannot breathe
begging the doctors to prescribe you enough drugs for you to take your own life because you cannot see a way out of this horror.
then the fog lifts
you have had sleep
(you have been allowed one sleeping tablet)
and you wake
(figuratively and literally).
lucidity is frightening.
you realise how close you were
how you could have slipped away
without a chance to say goodbye.
for the first time in eleven years
you are scared.
death without a farewell
has never been a consideration.
recovery is slow.
you begin to eat
(spoonfuls of ice cream, a biscuit, chicken soup from a packet)
you drink more
(if you don't, you will never please the kidney doctors)
you begin to move
(you can barely stand)
you leave the ICU.
one more week
they call it your "miraculous recovery"
you go home
with a zimmer frame.