When I Was Five

This week it’s 29 years ago that I spent a week in the children’s hospital with a collapsed trachea. It closed up on the night of April 28, 1991, the night after we’d celebrated my mother’s birthday, two months before my own fifth birthday. I was unquiet all night or so I’m told, getting up to go to the bathroom a dozen times. Eventually, my parents discovered what was going on and I was rushed to the hospital.

Thankfully, my trachea opened again within a day or two. I don’t know whether I had to be on a ventilator. In fact, I remember very little of these first few days. Then, on May 3, I had surgery to take out my tonsils and adenoids. That surgery had been scheduled for May 21 at another hospital anyway, but the children’s hospital could fit me in earlier now that I was there anyway.

After surgery, I had to stay in the hospital for another few days because I had a breathing tube inserted. That is, I’m not 100% sure the breathing tube was before or after surgery. I remember trying to talk through my tube, which was pretty much impossible.

This was probably also the time in hospital that my parents brought me their supermarket’s brand of peanut butter to eat, as I wouldn’t eat the premium brand the hospital had. Can you tell I was spoiled or autistic or both?

Finally, I got home on May 7. I was already a calendar freak, so I actually remember this without having been told.

As I write this, my inner five-year-old is trying to speak up, but she can’t. I don’t know whether this hospital stay was particularly traumatic for me, even though the going to the bathroom compulsively became a habit of mine in my teens. I may have made Lisel (that’s my inner five-year-old) up, because after all I remember this particular hospital stay so well.

I do think falling ill in early 1992, was more of an adverse childhood experience for Lisel (or me, if you think Lisel is made up). I remember I had some form of the flu, but in my own memory, it wasn’t entirely medically explained. My parents will probably say I’m trying to find clues that aren’t there so am making them up. I mean, they never talked about this experience when, in my teens, I was trying to remember when my negative mood started. They claim, as did I at the time, that it started when I was seven and having to learn Braille. In other words, I was going blind and I knew it but refused to accept it, so was becoming defiant to show a middle finger to the world. It’s easy to say it doesn’t matter. In a way, it doesn’t, but too often, I feel my parents are hiding the truth from me as a way of denying that I had significant mental health issues before the all-important age of seven. I mean, if my problems started at seven, I cannot possibly be autistic or have a dissociative disorder or anything originating in early childhood, right? Besides, I could have been old enough to be manipulative.

Am I being manipulative indeed? Or am I an early childhood trauma survivor? I don’t know and I’m not sure Lisel knows the answer.

Joining in with V.J.’s Weekly Challenge.

18 thoughts on “When I Was Five

  1. Wow! So much in this recounting. I remember getting my tonsils out. Another child was in with me and he didn’t do so well, so at four, I mothered him. It helped me through. Sounds like your was very traumatic, coupled with the trachea issue. I do inner child work with my psychologist, so to me, Lisel is real. She had me get in touch with that child self to understand my resourcefulness, and hopefully, regain the gifts that helped her through. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for commenting. My heart goes out to you and to the child who was in the hospital with you. You sure are very nurturing!

      Yes, I try to do inner child work too. I also may have a dissociative disorder (multiple personality), since I actually have a lot of inner children. I however was taught to believe I’m manipulative.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would say as a 5 year old that was a traumatic time for you, hence not remembering some parts, as that would be a certain part protecting you from that scary time.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know I had a few things buried that came to the surface and another that someone else remembered I said, but I couldn’t remember saying it. So that person was scared for me at the time,wondering if it was happening to me.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, it was. This time in the last couple of years, just triggers. Some I wasn’t expecting again, but I did.
            Before that, before I started this blog and my early reasons of writing to just use as part of my therapy while having counselling was PTSD, as I was having some flashbacks. I felt I was there and these were upsetting as a child and upsetting again when I had these flashbacks and triggers as an adult. But also things I did not realise I was holding onto, that I should not have bared.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Thank you. Just odd occasions I get triggered, which can catch me out, like last year with what happened. But when I was feeling suicidal, as I blogged about, I went for private counselling after NHS failed me. I still have her in my phone to text anytime, as well as email.

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