During my time sedated I had weird and wonderful hallucinations. Bizarrely I hallucinated about my own recovery; I thought my whole family took me outside in a wheelchair and that I was walking around (albeit unsteadily) unaided. These hallucinations of an advanced recovery made it all the more frustrating when I re-entered the real world and found myself unable to move let alone get up and walk. I also had a few scarier hallucinations including those of fellow patients dying and thinking that there had been a shooting within the hospital and that I was in danger from a similar attack.
24 hours after I had been put back on the ventilator, I spiked a temperature. The doctors warned my family that this could be the first signs of infection, but all anyone could do was sit, wait and see. I was also quite puffy due to excess fluid gathering on my ankles and wrists, so they decided to “dry me out” lessening my fluid input which sent my heart rate through the roof. As it became obvious the ventilation may be a long term thing, discussions started about inserting a tracheotomy; a tube directly into my windpipe that would give me back my mouth and allow me to be brought round whilst still being ventilated (my frustration was evident at being unable to communicate in my current state).
During this time I continued in my now notorious trait of being almost impossible to fully sedate. I was highly reactive, in particular to my mums voice (much to her delight) and vexed the nurses endlessly by shifting around in the bed entangling myself inextricably in various tubes and wires. My sister and mum were sitting by my bedside chatting one day, when I motioned for a piece of paper to write something down. Having apparently been unimpressed with someone on the medical team I scrawled “no one likes a butt-munch” much to everyone’s incredulity and amusement.
Over the next few days the infection markers in my blood continued to rise, as did my temperature. Blood gas tests became increasingly poorer and by the Wednesday I was too ill for a tracheotomy to be inserted. The doctors were trying everything and becoming increasingly concerned, telling my family “we are doing everything we can” but emphasising the fragility of my state.
My mum calls the Thursday “Black Thursday” as by this point things looked pretty bleak. My infection markers were through the roof, my temp over 40, my heart rate was 170 and despite being on full ventilation my oxygen saturations had dropped to 82%. I was struggling on but it became clear I was loosing the battle. The doctors sat with their heads in their hands, going over and over all possible routes of treatment. I was on a bucket load of intravenous antibiotics but none were having any affect. Finally they came back to my family and asked what reaction I had to an antibiotic I was listed as allergic to, effectively saying would it kill me if they gave it to me as they were running out of treatments to try. They decided on this tact, and also put me on dialysis as my kidneys were showing signs of shutting down and it was a frantic attempt to cool my temperature. Later that afternoon a dressing change revealed that the wound was full of infection. They reopened it there and then, putting in place a vacuum pump that would continuously draw any infected fluid out of the opening. At the end of the day, my family retired to the residential flats onsite knowing that the next 24 hours were critical, and that the doctors had gone home that night holding their breath.
Thank you for your kind messages about GMTV this morning, I will try to somehow get a copy of it online for those of you who have been repremanding me for the lack of advanced notice!
2 days ago