I was now in an old fashioned dormitory. There must have been 20 beds, all with wardrobes. There were nurses walking around, a garden area outside with a bar and a coffee shop inside where patients and relatives could go. I distinctly remember telling my parents that when I was up and about, we would go there!!! The outside garden area was also the main entrance to the hospital – automatic swing doors would open and close constantly, ambulances dropping people off. I was collected by nurses (including the nice nurse who had been with me all day) and I was taken to have a procedure. I was taken to a storage area, behind a curtain at the back of the coffee shop. It was very quiet, almost as though it was then end of the day and everyone else had gone home. Two surgeons came in and were very nice. One looked like a surgeon in Holby City (Sacha Levy) and the other looked like an Australian actor who was in the film, ‘The Kings Speech’ (Guy Pearce)!
I was prepped for surgery. It was explained that the pain I had been experiencing was due to a large amount of fluid on my lung and that they would need to drain it. I remember having a conversation about seeing something similar on Casualty and one said to the other ‘not everything is like it is on casualty’! One surgeon needed to put lines in my arm and the other would do something to my neck?!! The ‘vascular surgeon’ as I now knew him to be, had a great deal of difficulty getting things into my arm. He had many, many attempts and kept apologising, but also kept mentioning that he needed to be at home for dinner! In the end, he gave up trying and his colleague took over.
They then carried out a procedure on my neck. I was laid on my side and a sheet was put over me, the nice nurse was stood by my constantly – smiling and calm. I was in a great deal of pain as soon as he started to cut into my neck. I couldn’t breathe because of the sheet over my face and began to panic. The feeling of panic was immense. I could hear people drinking their tea next door and laughing. The surgeon continued and by this point I was holding the hand of his colleague who commented on how strong my grip was! A hole was dug into my neck and it was filled with gelatine to create a mould. I remember the panic and pain continuing until it stopped and the procedure was done. They all agreed to give me a break before putting in a chest drain and everyone left………….I was alone.
I remained on the bed in the storage area, quite calm. It was quite chilly but I felt relaxed. I suddenly had a sense of something going on outside and could hear staff talking loudly as though something was happening. There was a sense of urgency.
IT WAS A RIOT – a full scale riot happening outside the hospital. I began to call for help but nobody came. The staff were told to get into one room and I remember hearing arguments about some staff members saying they were going home. A tv appeared near to my bed and it was on the BBC news channel. The CEO of the hospital came into the room (the same guy who I’d previously had a go at!!). Everyone was complaining that he was ‘rubbish’ as incident commander. We were now on lock down and all doors and windows were to be locked. There was a window behind me that was open; someone threw a stone from outside and I could see flames. People were being attacked as they walked into the building and the rioters were sitting in the trees outside my window, like hyenas. I began screaming for help. One male nurse came to me and I asked him if I could be moved to be with everyone else. He said no, and walked away. I remember calling for help, screaming, ‘excuse me, what about me, hello’! Eventually my friendly nurse walked in. She was very calm, as though nothing was happening? I told her about the window needing to be closed and she said it was fine. I told her about the riots and she said it was fine. I asked if I could phone my family to come and collect me and she said everything was fine. Everything wasn’t bloody fine!!!!! She sat with her back to me and rang her husband, who was a policeman. She spoke for quite some time, talking about the riots and then the police arrived outside. I couldn’t see outside, yet in my head I could see what was happening? There were fires lit, gangs fighting and pelting the hospital. Friendly nurse looked at me calmly and said everything was ok!!
The rioting continued for hours but the surgeons returned. They decided they needed to perform another procedure. They were laughing and joking, but there was sense of urgency to get me down to theatre despite the riots. I remember seeing a bucket (the type you get at the seaside?). I was given it and told to take a sip of liquid. I drank all of it and then suddenly everyone lauged as i wasn’t supposed to drink it all. One of the surgeons gave me his ipad and then off I went……..into another world…………