I’m not sure how long this particular post will be. The recovery, so far, spans nearly 7 weeks (at the time of writing). So much has happened. There is a lot for me to remember. The early days are not terribly clear. I think this post will probably just cover the week in the Critical Care Unit and Intensive Therapy Unit. Things became clearer when I moved on to the Major Trauma Ward. There’s a few comedy moments along the way. This post may be a little disjointed, or bounce around a bit. I’m going to leave it like that.
So. Apparently my leg was operated on on the Sunday night. It needed to be secured. My lower leg (temporarily) and to pin the femur. I vaguely remember signing consent forms. Joe had called my mum and my sister from the crash site – Mum was at the hospital. My sister was waiting for news. And Facebook came into its own by enabling my sister to update people as the news of the accident got out.
I kind of remember waking up on a ward. It was the Critical Care Unit. I didn’t know that at the time. It was just a ward. It was a bit weird for a hospital ward, but I had no concept that it was CCU. I’m sure I had something to eat (vanilla ice cream). I got given an iPad to use!! Oh my! I have no idea what day this was. I know Joe came in to visit, and took a couple of pictures of me, high as a kite on morphine, with an oxygen mask. He and my mum brought some stuff in for me – including Monkey (my cuddly toy I sleep with every night. Yes, I am nearly 40. So what). My ribs hurt like buggery every time they came to “roll” me. I don’t think that lasted, because from wimpering quite a lot, I graduated rapidly to “breathing for labour” (thank you for those life skills, antenatal knowledge!).
At some point, I was taking ketamine as well as morphine for pain control. That stuff is weird. It did suit me for pain relief, but I didn’t really like the sensation. It slows everything down. You can’t process anything. Moving is a challenge. The pain guy looks like Richard Branson – he’s a lovely person! But Joe decided to say it quietly to me the first time I met him. I was struggling not to giggle. Pain-guy had also sited an anaesthetic similar to an epidural, but higher up, to try and control the pain around my ribs. There is a similar space to the epidural. Apparently. Only it didn’t work on me. I’d had an epidural when I’d had Katie. That only worked down one side initially. Maybe my body just doesn’t really like them. Probably one of the worst things about having anything like an epidural is having the cold spray on you to see if there is any actual numbing going on. I had this done repeatedly. It hadn’t numbed a thing.
They started to realise, quite quickly, that I have an unusually high pain threshold. I can take quite a lot of pain without getting distressed. This resulted in me being declared “very brave”. I had people coming to check how I swallow. They used some stuff to make water thicker to see how my swallow coped. It was gross and I threw up everywhere. That might have been the day I was sick on poor Monkey.
I had my leg operated on again. This time it was to fix it up properly with the external fixator. If they had time, they would do my wrist too. I think this was on the Thursday. Which also happened to be Katie’s 12th birthday. Poor kid. Fancy your mum being in hospital, smashed up, on your birthday. Not sure I’ll ever lose the feeling of guilt over that. I owe her a massive shopping trip. As she keeps reminding me. In the end, they didn’t have time to do my wrist. It took 4 and a half hours just to do the external fixator. My wrist was still in plaster, and I could barely move my fingers.
There’s a lot about this week I don’t remember. I ended up being fed by a naso-gastric tube. Luckily, with my gag reflex, I don’t remember that going in! The days are extremely jumbled. I remember finally getting on to Facebook (needed my phone, thanks secure FB browsing!). The messages wishing me well were so wonderful to read. I also read the article in the Echo reporting the crash. It was strange reading about the 38 year old female passenger from Belle Vale, knowing that was me. Eventually, I managed to like comments on my FB as well as just read them. So many messages! I managed to text replies to a friend, and then spoke to him on the phone. I was out of it, but it was pretty much the best phone call ever.
After I had the cage put on my leg, I was moved on to Intensive Care. I didn’t know I was on intensive care. I only became aware that this is where I was when someone uttered the words “intensive care” within hearing range of me. How can you not realise that you’re on Critical Care or Intensive Care?? I just thought they were weird wards!!!! On CCU, some poor bugger was screaming. That was my first post-accident Facebook status update. I discovered the guy screamed because he couldn’t talk and got frustrated about it, so screamed instead. Seems reasonable. My intensive care status update was to request that the man next to me manned the fuck up. Jeez. This guy was a proper wet blanket. A big girls blouse. He was having breathing difficulties. He was suffering from anxiety. Apparently, I broke or had my sympathy bone removed. I couldn’t understand why someone as “well” as this guy was on intensive care. I was tempted to offer him my ten broken ribs – then he might have something to make a fuss over. Dick.
At some point, on one of the wards……….I think it was CCU, I was hoisted out of my bed to sit out in a chair. I don’t remember much about it, apart from discovering that the hoist failed to work when they tried to hoist someone else out of bed. This amused me no end. Lard-arse broke the hoist. Hahahahaha.
After 6 days on CCU and ITU, I was no longer in need of the close medical attention and I was moved on to Ward 2. Major Trauma Ward. And it is from here that I will pick up in Blog 3.