Sunday, 26 February 2017

It's just flu.... - part I

Roughly 5 years ago I took my wife, Tracey, to the GP. Tracey had a few days of flu-like symptoms, I knew that she wasn't right. Following a visit to the drop-in centre and a early morning ambulance visit, clinically she was fairly ok..... I knew later that she was compensating.....

The GP took one look at her and requested a blue-light ambulance. In ITU (via resus) I said my good-byes, we'll see each other in a couple days, we said. I was relatively calm at this point, the lungs needed a rest for 2 or 3 days. I was calm, the ITU staff were calm.

I got home, literally got home and my mobile rang. It was the ITU nurse, "I know that you've got home, but you need to get back to the hospital. And you need to bring your daughters.....". I knew the code.

I sat in one of the relatives rooms with our daughters, waiting for the ITU consultant. After a while, he arrived with one of his registrars in tow. "We are doing everything we can, but we don't expect her to survive the night".

The next days a bit of a blur..... I remember taking our daughters in to see her, intubated and ventilated, and they burst into tears and they didn't want to stay. We got home and they went to their rooms. I realised that I needed to talk to somebody, but I didn't need to cope with somebody elses emotion...... Steve, the very person. He knows what emotions are, but he doesn't let them get it the way. The conversation went something like this.....

"Steve, it's Matt, shut up and listen. Tracey's in hospital, ventilated on ITU."
"Want do you need?"
"Nothing at the moment, I just needed to tell someone"
"Ok, let me know if you need anything"
"Cheers, bye"

I then went back to the hospital, on my own. Tracey was in multi-organ failure, for some reason, her body was compensating, but it isn't anymore..... Her ventilator pressures were high, she couldn't maintain her blood pressure, she needed dialysis etc

That evening was New Years Eve, the most surreal New Years Eve ever, me and our daughters watched the fireworks on the telly, in the back of my mind waiting for the phone call.

I didn't sleep much, I went into the hospital, the consultant said that she's survived the night, but we don't expect her to survive very long.

The next 10 days went from death being a certainty, to an possibility, to a life of severe disability. Day 10 was the day when Tracey was trialled without her ventilator. I wanted her to not cope, I wanted my memories of her to be happy memories, not sad, painful and frustrating. I didn't want to look forward to the rest of our lives together as anything less than happy and wonderful.... but I knew that surviving a physical insult this big won't be a walk in the park.

Part 2 is coming......

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