So I’ll start by saying I don’t actually have experience with diagnosed PTSD in my line of work, but I do have experience to share and it may resonate with those of you who have had a traumatic medical issue or event.
2 years ago, I had a procedure that went very wrong. The nerve ablation to my SIJ which had worked so well twice before, this time caused my bones to swell up so much that a few weeks later I could no longer walk. I can’t describe the pain, but it lasted intensely for 6 weeks (2 of those I was hospitalised with morphine every 4 hours not making a dent), and then I spent 2 months regaining the ability to walk unaided. No-one knew if it was an infection or caused by AS (ankylosing spondylitis). Frankly, I am still unsure and have had a number of different opinions.
That excruciating August weekend when I was helped into A&E by an Uber driver (I was refused an ambulance even when I explained I had lost the use of my legs!), I had actually planned a nice day out with some friends to visit the lavender farm in Surrey… yesterday I made it there and it felt lovely.
I didn’t think about post trauma until much much later as I was SO focused on just getting better, but I’ve seen people have physical relapses almost a year to the day post injury and there’s no doubt our bodies remember. In my work with post-natal clients I am often struck as to how massively traumatic incidents during birth are skirted over as just ‘something that happened’ and then we wonder why the body takes longer than expected to heal. We need to talk about this and take it seriously, but not dwell at the same time.
I’m careful to remember what happened to me and recognise that I may have an emotional wobble or a bit of a flare-up around the anniversary, but equally I don’t want to train my thinking that this WILL happen. It might not, and I hope not. On the worst days of that time, I was alone in hospital, having an MRI and/or CT scan was truly the most harrowing thing I have experienced as laying flat was so painful for me I was crying, shaking and going into shock and I had to stay still for 45 minutes or more. Only the radiographers saw this and so it’s hard for those around me to understand just how bad it was. Some of the stories I have heard from my post-natal clients have also been truly distressing and often recounted with a very matter-of-fact attitude as if it was supposed