Nosocomephobia: the fear of hospitals. This is a registered medical phobia. Hospital is often perceived as a fearful place, which is understandable considering the fact that they are places where people go when they are too ill for community care. Having been an in-patient for an extended period of time, and attending dozens of outpatient appointments in between, I can see how this anxiety builds. I get especially anxious when I don't know where I am going, and hospitals are notorious for awful signposting and a maze of corridors that all look the same. I think this concept of anxiety in a hospital setting is really important for doctors to understand and take into consideration when dealing with patients, highlighting the importance of empathy in all situations.
These timings accompany the recording of a piece of music I have written for piano and violin. Listen to the track as you read the commentary below.
0:7 – Feeling uneasy – the thought of going into hospital. Dark, I don’t want to go
0:16 – Getting curious – what’s wrong with me?
0:29 – Thoughts start to race – what if it’s something serious?!
0:34 – you automatically think and assume the worst.
0:42 – you realise you have to be rational and it’s most likely going to be fine.
1:09 – the sleep the night before.
1:14 – can’t sleep.
1:25 – the morning alarm goes off
1:28 – it’s today
1:36 – arrive at the hospital
1:43 – heart is racing
1:51 – I’m lost – where do I go?
2:02 – someone saw my worried face and asked if I was ok, pointing me in the right direction
2:21 – In the waiting room. There are two voices in my head, one saying it’s going to be fine, the other making me panic.
2:36 – I am called into the doctor’s room
2:43 – I wander in, apprehensively
3:02 – I describe my symptoms
3:07 – doctor nods
3:10 – what is wrong?
3:18 – revealed. Doctor tells me the diagnosis
3:25 – I walk out the hospital. My thoughts race over and over.
3:47 – relief – it’s over!
4:02 – Triumph. I did it! I beat the hospital fear!