I arrived on ICU and was immediately taken to a bay. The doctors all appeared and proceeded to stick needles in me, drawing blood and monitoring everything. I was very unstable and could not breathe unaided, ventilator was mentioned. My Consultant arrived and looked worried, he never looked worried. Stephen sat to my left a broken traumatised wreck. I think Lyndsey and Chris were there but I’m not sure how. My poor little Lyns looking so worried as she witnessed both her parents fall apart. I remember thinking be brave Lyns, you have Cerys now she is your priority. Lyndsey and I are very close – she’s witnessed my health problems all her life but nothing like this, I’m glad she has Chris, he will always take care of her and Cerys I know that.
It took them 7 hours to stabilise me. At one point I remember the doctor saying he needed to put a central line in. This involved me being tilted backward – I still had the oxygen mask on that reminded me of a leaf blower, very noisy and forcing air into my poorly lungs. The central line procedures took 15 minutes and the doctor kept saying, well done, nearly there, almost finished. Seemed like an eternity. I sat up again and vomited everywhere. They cut my nightie off, washed me and replaced it with a gown for easier access to all the lines and drips. What was happening to me. Stephen looked just terrible as did Lyns and Chris. Stephen asked if he could stay the night and was told yes, Chris got his stuff from the Travel lodge and left it in the car. I drifted in and out of sleep totally swamped by exhaustion and fear.
I started having images of orange juice, fresh cold orange juice. In fact everything became a potential drink in my mind, a mirage almost. I was desperately thirsty, I felt as if my mouth was lined with carpet so even when they gave me a sip of water, it got lost in the parched tissues of my mouth. Swallowing hurt owing to the nasogastric tube and I couldn’t communicate owing to the leaf blower strapped to my face. I continued to make a deal with God that if he got me a drink, he could take me as I just could not do this anymore. The doctors encouraged and cajoled me and said I was doing really well and to keep positive. They all looked so young and I wondered what traumas had hit them personally – obviously they witnessed terrible trauma daily and the responsibility they have is just mind blowing. It’s hard to stay positive though when you keep getting beaten with the proverbial stick. But I was still alive, I had survived a respiratory failure which claims many, I have escaped the life support machine and I was here dreaming of orange juice and watching the fairies flit up the wall. I asked the nurse about them and she said they were there to comfort me. I was in fact hallucinating – I’m glad it was fairies not spiders or something awful. The thing was I wasn’t on morphine so I’m guessing it was the lung infection creating these bizarre images around the room. I just want to sleep so that all of this goes away.
“The people that are there for you in your darkest hours, are the ones worth spending your brightest days with”