It took 3 attempts to wake me from my coma. Apparently on the 3rd attempt, it was now or never……….
In my ‘world’, I was at a party. I could see brightly coloured balloons, people dancing – but it was silent. I was aware of people standing over me and I remember my husband shouting at me, loudly! I now know that this was when the sedation had been reduced (again!) and nurses were attempting to extubate me (removing the breathing tube). However, I didn’t want to leave the party, I was having far too much fun! I remember gripping the tube with my teeth and a nurse telling me to let go!
I’m not entirely convinced that I wanted to come back to reality, which is a strange thought to comprehend.
Unfortunately, this is where my sense of time and place disappears. From now on in, I don’t know in what order anything happened , if they happened in the way I remember OR if they happened at all. One of the curiosities about ‘ICU Deliriums’ is that nobody can say whether things did or didn’t happen. BUT – delirium was my world at that time and therefore I can say with complete certainty that the things I experienced DID happen. I apologise if it gets confusing and I will try to refer to the real world as ‘reality’ to try and lessen the confusion!
Please understand that I never left the ICU nor the hospital.
I was safe at all times, cared for by the most fantastic team.
I was NEVER in any danger.
Allow me to introduce you to ‘Deliriums’.
After I was extubated, I remember feeling pretty grumpy. I had something hanging in the back of my throat, making me gag and dry heave (nice!!). As a sign of how long I’d be in ICU, my mum and the nurse were the best of friends and I remember lying there listening to them talk about ‘old times’ and thinking “hello, I’m here”! I had multiple drains, tubes and wires coming out of multiple areas of my body and I remember trying to pull on them……frequently. I also remember my mum telling me to ‘stop fiddling’ and I think thats when the swearing began! My surroundings were very dark. I was in a corridor with my mum and a nurse constantly shining a torch in my face. I was waiting to be transferred to another hospital – the reason? My bed wasn’t comfortable!! At the end of the corridor were doors to the outside. Ambulances came and went but nobody came for me. It felt like I laid there waiting all night.
I remember being in the most incredible pain. I couldn’t breathe, nurses kept moving me around on the bed, washing me and turning me. Nobody would take me seriously – they would stand there laughing at me. It changed from being day to night in a flash. Firstly, I woke up in a very small place. It was silent but bright and sunny. I knew I was in hospital but there was nobody around. I shouted and called for help, rang my bell but nobody came. Finally, a nurse came – she told me that nurses didn’t start work until 11am on a Sunday and that I’d have to wait. As she walked away, she told her friend ‘She’s one of those people who expects everything, I’ve met her type before, she can wait’. I remember feeling so alone and scared.
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