Quirky stories about my experiences with mental illness for your enjoyment. All names other than mine have been changed. Nothing here is intended to replace the advice of a health professional. (D'Arcy Stainton, Vancouver, Canada - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Saturday, September 15, 2012
I’m off soon to visit my wife, who is in hospital. So my
second post is a little earlier in the day than usual.
Flashbacks used to be a real problem for me when visiting at
a hospital. Small things – like needles, the smells, the shiny floors, all
bring back bad memories. Some are triggers for which I am now prepared. In VGH,
where my wife is, I will have to walk past some places that hold particularly
As a patient I became so focused on my own experience, that
I often forget how my hospitalization affected others.
Last Christmas my wife was in hospital. Santa came to our
house for the kids, but left only half of the gifts. He left a card saying that
the other half would be at the hospital.
So after opening presents from 6:30AM to 7:30AM, we bundled
up and headed out to see mom, and get the rest of the presents.
For my oldest, it was the first time visiting his stepmom
since she had been admitted. We spent some time in her room, opening gifts,
when suddenly he left. I went to look for him and found him in the corner of a
waiting room, facing the wall, sobbing.
He is a full grown man, now – 19 years old, 6’2” and
muscular – a tough guy. I had never seen him break down like this.
I had to stand on my toes to reach up and give him a hug.
“It’s okay, son – I know you’re worried about her, too.”
“It’s not that. It’s just too much like when you were in
hospital, Dad. The smells, the rooms – I can’t stand it.”
And that’s when it hit me about how deeply scarring it was
for him to see me when I was so sick.
It makes me feel sad and a bit guilty at the same time.
Sad, because my son had to go through so much when he was so
Guilty, because I never realized the impact it had, and
still has, on him.