Friday, April 5, 2019

Songs for Hospitals

Some of you may know I was recently hospitalized following severe complications with my ulcerative colitis. Now that you've read that sentence, all of you know. This may seem vaguely familiar to long-time readers who remember my Crohns diagnosis (now changed to ulcerative pancolitis) three years ago. I was a lot more afraid back then, but my condition was also far more benign. Funny how that works, isn't it?

To make a very long story short, I've spent most of the past four months in varying states of discomfort and outright pain. Since late February, things have been bad enough that I've been incapable of working and have been kept at home. The doctor I was seeing for my condition kept reassuring me that steroids and other drugs would help, but my state continued to deteriorate in spite of his help. Finally, on March 21st, I received a colonoscopy to confirm my state. At this point, the doctor changed my category from "mild" to "severe" and sent me to the hospital for immediate treatment.

I spent a week hospitalized for my ulcerative colitis. Seven days passed in shifting states of optimism and unease. While I was grateful to be on the path towards a long-term treatment and possible solution, there's a sort of fear that creeps in all the same when you realize you're so sick that you cannot be at home and must be monitored by doctors at all hours. The one saving grace for my stay (aside from competent and helpful doctors, naturally) was that the only available bed for me was in a private room. Many rooms in hospitals are shared, often partitioned solely by a curtain between two beds. I had my own door that shut and a private bathroom, which is rather essential with a digestive condition such as mine. With my privacy intact and more time on my hands than I'd like, I made a playlist to busy myself and to track my thoughts as I went. Since I had no laptop or diary, writing my feelings out would prove too complex, but adding songs to a playlist here and there made perfect sense. Aided by a friend's Spotify family account (thanks Chris), I was able to really sit with music and channel the experience as it hit me.

There's something to be said about the power of music to help us convey what we cannot directly access, and there was a general blanket of numbness between me and many of my experiences while I was hospitalized. Whether it was simply how surreal the whole thing is or whether it was so traumatizing in a way that I couldn't process it, I found that listening to music placed me closer to my reality than my day-to-day experiences would've otherwise allowed. With that in mind, I present a playlist that flows from dreadful and dreary to warm and welcoming. Some of these songs are a bit on the nose as they deal with anxiety and stomach issues outright, while others are more indirect and for the listener to interpret. I'd initially planned on giving more of a "guide" here, but unless I tell you every high and low of my time in the hospital and all the weird buried grief and self-doubt that came with it, it's best to just let you go on a journey of your own. It may not mimic mine entirely, and many of these songs may not bring you anything at all, but I hope this is as good a place as any to begin reconnecting with you, dear reader, as it's been quite some time since I've found it within me to really commit to writing on this blog and I have missed it terribly. As always, send me your thoughts at if you'd like to discuss this. Thank you.

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