Before reading this, I think (although I can’t be certain!) that this episode occurred when I was becoming more conscious and possibly my last day or 2 on ICU. Sections marked with an * asterix I believe actually happened. Apologies if it’s confusing!
I’m in a very bright place. It’s a very confusing situation but I’m sat in a dark corner, in an arm chair. Above me is a balcony and behind it is an auditorium with some sort of performance taking place. Opposite me is a wall that I can see through, into a corridor to the outside world – I can hear automatic doors opening and closing and people walking in and out, or pushing wheelchairs. *I’m trying to watch a Christmas film on TV* but people around me are so noisy! Above me I can hear a familiar voice; its a work colleague who has left the company and she is trying to poach a past colleague to join her in her new place of work! They are both in the performance and I hear her making arrangements to go back home and get changed before everyone goes out for the evening. Someone is telling her what a fantastic actress she is! I feel cold and shivery but quite comfortable in the big red arm chair that I’m sat in.
Suddenly the lovely nurse, who washed me previously, appeared along with her African colleague. *They had decided that we should go for a walk – my first walk! They were such lovely people. I had no strength, anywhere and had drips, drains and these funny airbag type things hanging down! With a nurse either side, I stood up! Shaking and feeling so heavy, we began walking*. The building was quiet with a bank of desks in the middle of the room which was some sort of response call centre. *As we began walking, I felt I needed the toilet, in a bad way! I was taken to the toilet, sat down and left on my own. The door closed – what was I doing?! It was the first time I’d been on my own for weeks, I couldn’t hold myself up, my bodily functions had woken up and I found myself calling for help, I was in quite a state! The lovely nurse came in and I was in tears. She helped me up and cleaned me. I remember standing at the sink, breaking down in floods of tears, completely humiliated and swearing! She said to me ‘Its ok – let me wipe your bum and you can swear at me’!*. As we left the toilet, I could hear a brass band playing Christmas carols at the other end of the building but I didn’t want to walk anymore – I was embarrassed, so we returned to my armchair.
Suddenly the scenery changed – staff began running around and I was now on a large ward, very clean and bright and lots of space. People were talking about security and suddenly something hit my window with a bang – The riots had started again! My lovely nurse was very calm but her african colleague was quite panicked. Nobody was allowed in or out and I heard her on the phone to her son who was in one of the tower blocks outside. She told him not to go anywhere and I remember her telling everyone that she was going to risk it and go home…….. The news came on the TV and the riots featured on the local news. This time, the roads were shut around the hospital and Plymouth was cut off. The bridge and ferries that connect Cornwall to Devon were shut and yet the possibilty of sending me home was discussed. I remember phoning my mum, it felt like a saturday or sunday evening – (Did i really do this?!!!). I told her what was going on and she said that my husband and dad were on their way. I was telling her all about the riot!! *When my husband and dad arrived, I asked them how they’d got through all the police and the riots and how they’d got across the river with everything being shut………they didn’t say anything! They’d brought in my overnight bag and sat down*. They hadn’t come to get me. They stayed for a few minutes and then they left.
Lovely nurse helped me to get into bed and for the first time I felt comfortable – not scared, not confused, not in pain, just happy! I felt at home? Strange really because the curtains then shut and it became dimly lit. I was now in my own room and it looked like I was staying for a while! I was given my own waste bin and I’d spoken to my mum, who had told me that we’d go shopping for a few things to brighten my room and make it feel like home……….was I never leaving?