Here’s how it went.
It’s fair to say that the year of 2020 spared nobody. The global pandemic negatively impacted all of our lives to some degree, and most of us were keen to shed the year and begin a fresh start in 2021.
Given the pandemic restrictions, I had planned to spend my New Year’s Eve at home, with a couple of drinks and my phone switched off — to avoid the FOMO that would inevitably come from social media updates of friends ringing in the new year with a little more style, at holiday houses or other exotic locations.
You’re probably wondering how my plans went from watching the fireworks on TV at home, to a hospital bed.
In the months leading up to NYE, I was probably the fittest and healthiest I’d ever been. I was exercising almost everyday (rare for me), eating well and had managed to avoid any colds or other health ailments. Despite feeling my best physically, I had noticed a few more bruises than normal across my legs, and some little red dots (similar to burst blood vessels) patterned across my limbs in early December.
Given I didn’t have any pain or other symptoms, I dismissed the idea of going to a doctor, and it wasn’t until my physiotherapist saw the bruises that he — being a medical professional — recommended I get a blood test to see what was going on.
As it turns out, the blood test results indicated that I had a platelet count so dangerously low that I was at risk of bleeding out internally if I were to injure myself.
It was December 30th, and my doctor had told me to take myself to the emergency department, as I might need a blood transfusion. The idea that I may have to spend the night in hospital was at the back of my mind, but at the time I was more overwhelmed with having to go to the ER when I felt perfectly healthy.
The prognosis was severe thrombocytopenia — a low number of blood platelets, which help clot the blood when you cut yourself. With such a low number, if I were to fall or cut myself, I was at risk of bleeding out as I had almost no platelets left to clot the injury. Not to mention, a head injury would have meant bleeding on the brain, which is life-altering if not fatal. Pretty scary stuff.
As it was already early evening when I was given a bed, I had to spend the night in hospital whilst I waited to see a hematologist (aka, a blood doctor) in the morning. The next 72 hours were filled with blood tests, awful hospital food, and more anxiety than I could handle.
The lack of physical symptoms really messed with my mental health. Part of me felt like an imposter as I felt physically well. I also struggled to relax when those I shared the ward with were visibly (and audibly) very ill.
The worst part of the entire experience for me was not knowing when I would be able to go home. I had expected to be discharged on New Year’s Eve, after seeing the hematologist and being given a treatment plan. However, I was kept in for four days and three nights in order to have my platelet count monitored, until it reached the baseline number of fifteen.
Spending NYE alone in a hospital bed was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through. Starting the new year in the same place was equally tough, due to the fact that any resolutions, plans, routines or goals I had envisioned were put on hold indefinitely.
Having been out of hospital for just under 24 hours now, I am beyond grateful that my condition can be managed and that I am able to relax at home. I’m thankful that I went to the doctor when I did — it’s terrifying to think what may have happened if I had let this fester; and above all, I’m proud of myself for getting through it.
Whilst the timing of this ordeal was extremely shitty, I’ve come out the other end knowing that I probably won’t have a worse New Year’s Eve than that of last year — so here’s to a healthier 2021.
If something doesn’t feel right, ENID encourages you to seek advice from a medical professional. The information in this article does not constitute medical advice and should not be taken as such.