Hello world – I’m slowly getting my thoughts and life back to normality. Thanks to all of you who have so kindly sent good wishes and prayers for my recovery. With the support and love of the people who matter most I seem to have got away with my recent close encounter!
For anyone who hasn’t a clue what I’m rabbiting about, a (not very) potted diary follows…This is the first time I’ll have tried to put this all into words other than chat to my family, who obviously were with me all the time, thank the Lord!
Thursday March 14th dawned fresh and sunny around here and having been out to the shops with Jenni in the morning, all seemed to be normal. After the usual light lunch (of course, I’m a lidy what does lunches)I had a whale of a time in the afternoon clearing space in the freezer for the following day’s delivery of fish (Regal Fish Supplies, come to us every 3 months, gorgeous fish and supermarket-thrashing prices too – can’t recommend them highly enough!) After tea, and washing pots etc I decided to have a sit for half an hour to do some sudoku puzzles. Put my reading specs on, opened puzzle book, bent head to look at puzzles and BANG. The pain was like a heavy club across the back of my neck and between my temples. Couldn’t seem to co-ordinate my eyes and was desperate for fresh air, so managed to crawl to patio door and sit down. Pain still intolerable, first thought was that I might be having a stroke but couldn’t feel any one-sided weakness. Managed to call out for Steve, he and Jenni came running, called 999 and within what seemed like 2 minutes a paramedic arrived. He was lovely and went through a few questions and tests;fortunately the visual disturbance was abating but the head and neck were still WOW on the pain front. Meningitis?
Paramedic called for an ambulance, it arrived 20 seconds later (it seemed) and its wonderfully reassuring and helpful medic did tests involving serious kit like the ECG. Heart was fine but my BP got itself up to over 200 over 140 – it definitely pointed to something very wrong. They loaded me onto the ambulance and whizzed me to Kings Mill Hospital OPD. With hindsight this was the worst part bar the pain – it took over an hour sitting in a curtained-off area for someone to come and check me in and triage. During this whole time I wasn’t offered any pain relief (or if I was, neither I nor Steve remembers it) It was during this wait that I start to forget what happened. Steve says I was sent for an MRI scan, which he was able to see “live” and it was all too apparent from it that I’d had a major sub-arachnoid haemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm. It was very rapidly decided to transfer me to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham (about 20 miles away)as they are the leading treatment centre close to us for this sort of event. This is the bit I’m most annoyed about missing – I was in blue-lit screaming ambulance mode all the way to Nottingham down the M1 and I’d always wanted to have a ride in a blue-lit screaming etc etc and I was not conscious enough to remember any thing about it. Honestly, there are some kill-joys out there! Steve says I was conscious but not making any sense at all (not that that is unusual – I’m good at talking rubbish even when I’m well!
Once we got to Queen’s, Steve and the surgeon watched another “live”MRA and the neurosurgeon said he needed to operate immediately. We were by then into Friday very early morning, and I was taken to theatre to get the puddled-up blood off the brain’s surface. Using an artery in my groin as an access point, the team put in a platinum coil which over the next short while will accumulate various bits and bobs from my blood stream to provide a block to further bleeding.
I came out of theatre something between 7 and 7 and a half hours later and don’t really have any memory of coming out of anaesthetic or of knowing I was on Neuro Intensive Care. The next few days have no particular memories other than how unbelievably nasty and uncaring some of the nursing staff were. A couple of them did seem to care and went out of their way to help,but it was only a couple. What sort of caring nurse, who knows (or ought to know)that their patient has such poor eyesight as to be officially classed as visually impaired when uncorrected (my prescription is -14 in one eye and -10.25 in the other)and also has congenital spinal deformities tells her patient she’s lazy because she can’t see to walk safely to the bathroom, then puts her an adult nappy on and forces her to walk despite the back pain which is so intense it makes her pooh her nappy? Even better, the nurse then grumbles at the patient so she has to clean herself up because the staff have other patients who need them…God help us all if this our NHS now.
Sorry if that offends anyone who reads this, but this happened to me. I was in hospital from Thursday night, 14th March, to Monday p.m. (11 days) during which time I lost 12 pounds in weight and quite literally couldn’t find a position to rest in any degree of comfort. The mattresses were/are memory foam, which is probably great if you’ve a normal spine but don’t give anything like enough support to a deformed spine. They eventually put me on to a totally new regime for pain relief, despite that fact that the routine I follow has worked well for over a decade and which they eventually (6 days down the line)put me back to.
We’ve all seen/heard the horror stories currently emerging about lack of old-fashioned caring and nursing and I think I’ve been there myself now. I was shatteringly tired, confused, in desperate pain and really frightened. No member of staff told me what was wrong with me, what treatment I’d had, where I was or even what day of the week it was. My family was just wonderful, giving me the love, reassurance and information I needed so desperately – when they knew, which was not often as staff never made the time to talk to them and keep them informed. To this day I don’t even know the names of the people who operated on/treated me – my deepest gratitude to them because they at least responded to my needs there and then.
And my last whine? I was discharged on Monday 25th;it’s now Saturday 30th. I was given no advice or information in the form of a leaflet or such as to what I should or shouldn’t do…a 2xA4 sheet leaflet arrived by second class post this morning. I needed that help on the day I was discharged.
Don’t ever ask me to go into QMC again. Staff bawling at each other and their patients down the length of a supposed Intensive Care Ward, banging doors deliberately all night and ignoring patients’ calls for help? That’s the treatment guaranteed to give you nightmares that you don’t need at any time of your life or health.