Well my lovely Bloglets,
In the past 7 and a bit years I have only been in hospital as the patient, but not over the last 10 days. I came home for a few days of chill out before living in the library for my ‘Easter Holiday’ because of dissertation and an essay due the first Monday back. As always, exhausted, and needed this time to sleep and re-charge so the rest of my ‘holiday’ was productive. I arrived home on the Monday via the wake of a family member that I had never met which was rather strange to say the least.
Tuesday morning I got up and as expected the rentals were not there – Kev aka Daddy, had a routine op booked at Colchester hospital to remove a cyst at the back of the throat and to have part of his uvula removed as it was elongated and he has sleep apnoea. My Ma aka Mummy was in London for appointments and was going to pick him up on her way home. I was pottering and making tea when the phone rang at about 11, a man asked if I was my Ma - it was the surgeon who had operated on Kev. He explained that due to swelling as the cyst was larger than expected and worries that the windpipe would be blocked, he had been intubated, and was on a ventilator in ICU. Shock, is, I don’t quite think the word to explain how I felt. This was also reminiscent of another phone call I had received over 7 years ago with my diagnosis, and I’m sure I was suddenly thrown back to that evening in the flat I lived in, in Edinburgh.
I’m not going to detail everything that happened over the following week sitting in both ICU and then on a normal ward whilst Kev recovered. I’m not going to go into what it’s like trying to convince someone who has been awake on high alert for 3 days due to not sleeping for 2 nights once out of sedation with severe paranoia and hallucinations because of the sedation drugs and hearing everything whilst sedated and trauma, that they are ok. There were some very funny moments but the majority were, well not concerning, but a bit weird. And that’s not my story to tell. I think the thing that was the hardest to get my head around was walking into ICU and seeing my Daddy lying in a bed with a tube down his throat and tape around his mouth holding it in place and a ventilator breathing for him that he was medically healthy and fit. All the time spent on ICU and a normal ward was due to swelling from the surgery – the body doing what it should do – alongside a bit of a throat and chest infection and the delerium.
I’m not going to lie, I did nearly hit the floor the first time I walked into ICU and saw him lying there, but luckily, I know the signs from my millions of check-ups how I feel when my body is about to collapse. Note to self, eat food before going to visit someone in ICU.
I am currently sitting next to him on the sofa and he keeps on interrupting me with what he wants me to make him for supper and he was ‘back seat driving’ when I was cooking earlier. I think he was slightly surprised that the banana bread/cake thing I made was actually good….
Anyways, I am eternally grateful for all my hospital stuff and that I understand how they work and am used to sitting around for them for hours. I am also eternally grateful for the medical knowledge I have learnt through my degree which enabled me to understand and explain to my parents, especially Kev during his delirium what was happening by a person he trusted. And also, without my diagnosis I may not have met my wonderful friend Kate who is a nurse and was able to speak to my mother and explain things when some information was given to her that was worrying. I would also like to say that I was blown away by the nursing staff at Colchester ICU - they were amazing.
I haven’t really written what I thought I was going to. I have stress rash all over my hands which I think shows how truly stressful and worrying the last 10 days has been. Shock as well. All my stuff being brought up. The worry of seeing him lying there in the bed, of him being in that state, which is common after sedation where nothing was as it is, and the fear and the paranoia. The shock and the trauma this has been for him and for Mummy. My in-built ‘rescuer’ driver kicking in, in overdrive and needing to look after everyone often to the detriment of my own self. I left for 24 hours to go back to London to get reading materials I needed and Kev was convinced that nurses had killed me. That time away and the worry I felt was far worse than being with him in the hospital. I quite like hospitals, I feel at home in them. The only downside was the awful coffee. I am finally beginning to feel not so knackered and am also a week behind on my work. But sod it. As always I will get it done. As long as I pass, my marks, to a degree are irrelevant.
Back to the hospital - being a family member was far more stressful and worrying than being a patient. As a patient I know how I am, I know I am fine, I know I will be ok. Seeing my Daddy in that bed and then so affected by the drugs was a heart wrenching thing to experience. I knew it was only temporary but not knowing when it would be over… waiting. Something I have been doing for many years, but when it was about someone else, it was so different.
I have a check up on Monday, a brief phone call with my consultant yesterday and the chemo change is not going to be straightforward, but more next week.
The last 10 days have been a bit surreal, I have no idea how is must feel for my father and how it does as things filter back into his memory as I help to piece the bits together. I do know that I am so relieved I was at home when all this happened; I could not have stayed in London and not known and wondered. And I now know, just a little bit, about how friends and family must have felt when I was diagnosed and in hospital for that first week.
He is home and healthy and that is all that matters.
I dedicate this to all the nurses out there who might one day read this, thank you.
With love, laughter and hope,