Monday, April 02, 2007

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!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow no wonder such a 'difficuilt' time for you, and your family etc..... Glad that you have come through such an ordeal etc. Hadn't realsied you had to ahve some dialysis too -poor u can be scarey. Rach was on dialysis for 2 & 1/2 yrs and finally so lucky to be offered a transplant. Does bring things home about organ donation helping others;' like youself and Rach to have a much improved chance of 'living life'which we are soo eternally greatful to donor/family .....
Was reaching for the tissues this am -sooo emotional to see you Emily and your mum knowing such a hard road you have come along...such an inspiration to us all. Do enjoy reading your memories etc experience and sorta fills teh gaps of su wondering thinking about you after your transplant.Please send best wishes to your mum and family too.

(((hugz))) Elaine Rach & family xxxxx

liz said...

I saw the teaser for your GMTV appearance but had to go to work and didn't make it to the office in time to watch it here. Please
try and put it up. Having read about how ill you were I am surprised you can sit up now let alone make tv appearances! Your family must be so proud.

Secondly, please add a new chapter soon as, even though I know the outcome, the suspense at the end of this instalment is driving me mad...!

Freya said...

Wow Em...

Please put this into a book... it's absolutely amazign (and then i wouldn't have to stop reading at all the cliffhangers!)
Its still so hard to imagine that this is real... and to think so soon after your back on the GMTV sofa!

xxx

misdee said...

again, on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happened, even though we know the outcome. and yes get the clip up please, as i missed it. please please

Sarah

Lizzie said...

ohhhh what an ordeal! Amazed you still manage to write amusingly on a pad through it all! you're crazy determined hehe.
can't wait for the next installment (at least i know it ends with you writing it though)
Lizzie xxxx

Anonymous said...

You did go trough it.. Then again as you said it would never be striaght forward when you are involved...
It made me laugh with what you wrote down... Very funny...
Hearing what you went through really helps, when you need a transplant.. Thanks Emily

xx Sandy xx

DJ said...

So glad that you're around to post all this, Emily - you write it so well, it's incredible. Thank you for sharing it with everyone and I'm really glad you're doing so well. You give us all hope!
x

annemac101 said...

Emily you really went through it didn't you .Day by day must have been so hard for your family .But you made it to be on the sofa with the lovely Ben you lucky girl ,you did great today and I'm sure I'm not the only one who shed a happy tear to see you looking so well .
best wishes ..Annex

shelley nunan said...

hello emily i remain an avid reader of your blog it was fantastic to see you on gmtv this morning you are looking so well i'm sure your donor family must realise who you are by now and i'm sure that your progresss is of a great comfort to them wishing you all the very bestxx shelley nunan

Anonymous said...

wow. horrendous times!!!thank god you have come through all that!! Missed seeing you on tv this morning, any chance of getting the video on line???
Hope you are still recovering well and not taking on too much!! You now have plenty of time to achieve whatever you want to achieve! Well done Em, Love to Anne and all the family love Diane T xxx

Kat said...

I missed your appearance on GMTV!
Such a tough time, yet you struggled on - what you went through would have been too much for many people. Your lust for life is inspirational! :) xxx

Anonymous said...

Good grief, Emily! I know it's far from funny but sometimes you do make me laugh....
I said to your mum, it was like the grim reaper was trying to drag you off with all his might, but (slight as you are) you were going no-where without a try at some new lungs, and clearly once you got them you were even more determined to get well.
Sweetie, I hope your recovery is as hassle free as it possibly can be. Surely it's time for a rest??Hugs, Audrey xx