The Burden of Anonymity

There are student nurses on the ward; they come and go, busy or bored as the requisites of their courses demand. A new batch arrived today. One looked very familiar: very, very familiar – subtract the uniform, rearrange some makeup, and she reminded me intensely of a fellow patient I’d shared a room with for ten days on a previous admission. I remember talking with her about her reluctance to come into hospital because she was studying a course which one day would have her doing placements, and she did not want to prejudice her future prospects. I wanted so much to go up to her and say her name, especially after she looked at me and her eyes seemed to slide away.

However, my moral code doesn’t really allow for that. The most I allowed myself was a brief smile and “Have we met before?” when we found ourselves in a lift together.

It wasn’t her. Now I am sad, because I miss my old roomie. She and I mastered the art of finding joy in hell: laughing at how crap we were feeling, how absurd the hospital strictures are, at trivial events in the dining room or lounge. However, once again, the discipline of preserving anonymity prevents me from trying to reach out and make contact with her. I’m pretty good at tracking people down on the interwebs, but it won’t happen today.

I miss you, A, and this hospital admission would be even better if you were here.


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3 responses to “The Burden of Anonymity

  1. I bumped into a healthcare assistant who had showed such kindness to me in hospital after a suicide attempt. While I was in hospital she really made such an effort to speak to me as a friend rather than a doctor trying to analyse why I was there. I thought of her for years and always contemplated writing but couldn’t remember her name and was hesitant as it was a time I didn’t want to think about too much. Recently I saw her in a local supermarket carpark. It took all of my nerve but I spoke to her and thanked her, it was so emotional. She made such an impact on me.
    Your blog is inspiring to read, you sound very strong. X


    • Isn’t it wonderful, to be able to say “thank you” to the ones who have helped us so much?
      Thank you for saying I sound strong. I appreciate that. It’s been a long hard road, but right now I happen to be in a strong place, and have been for a few weeks. I’m hoping 2014 will be the year I really knock over a few of my bigger remaining mental health issues – my partner and I have decided I’ll work far less this year, the minimum we need me to, in order that I can do this work. Fingers crossed! And good luck with your ongoing journey. I’ll look forward to reading more about it.


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