This is the thirteenth part of a guest serial, in 869 words.
Forgive me, if this post seems to be all over the place. During this time, I was heavily sedated, and I couldn’t tell the difference between what was real or not. Some parts I do remember but some I also remember hallucinating.
I remember waking up briefly, on the Tuesday after I was admitted to hospital, because I recall watching Mum write in a Shopkins birthday card for my niece. I’m sure it wasn’t a dream. Then I realised I was lying in a hospital bed and I started to panic. I don’t remember what happened after that.
I started to panic again, and Mum tried to calm me down as my heart rate was going up and up, which then caused me to struggle even more to breathe. I really tried to calm down but I didn’t have any idea as to what was happening.
When I get really scared, I always tell Mum that I love her. After I said, “I love you”, she said it back. And she has never said it back to me before, so that’s when I knew something really bad had happened but I just didn’t know what.
Possible hallucination – I remember shouting, “I need a drink!”, several times but nurses kept walking past me and ignoring me. I also shouted, “I haven’t had a drink for 15 hours!”, I have no idea where I got 15 hours from so that’s why I think this was a hallucination.
I told Mum, the next day, that nobody had given me a drink for 15 hours, and she replied, “You’re on an IV to get fluids into you”. That’s when I tried to lift my head up and saw the IV. It still didn’t register with me.
The nurses kept trying to get me to cough but I just couldn’t. So, they gave me this big tablet, I think, and I had to swallow it. It caused me to cough and once I started, I couldn’t stop.
Late at night, 2 nurses took me into a small room. I remember screaming and trying to lash out because, to me, it looked like one of the nurses was trying to suffocate me. Plus, they were putting cannula’s in everywhere.
When I next saw Mum, I was really upset and she asked me what was wrong. I told her what happened the night before and, at first, she was genuinely quite concerned, and then she went to go and speak to a nurse. A little while later, she came back and told me, “They weren’t suffocating you, they held up a sheet up in front of you to stop you from getting frightened because of all the wires and tubes that were attached”.
It made a lot of sense.
When I woke up from the coma, from what I assumed was just a nap, I felt very unaware of my surroundings. The first person I saw was the relative who had taken me to my first ENT appointment – I initially thought, “What the hell are you doing here?”, because the last thing I knew was that they hated me. Also, it was how I knew I was still ‘me’.
Then I saw Jill, then Mum. Then my other sister and Ewan came to see me.
I quickly realised that I couldn’t speak, or when I tried, it would sound very distorted. I went to touch my mouth, very shakily, and felt this big chunky object which was keeping my mouth open. I tried to bite my teeth together and felt something plastic. My eyes widened in horror and Mum stood by my beside and said, “It’s helping you breathe; I know it looks scary but you’ve got to try and stay calm”.
I looked at her and thought, “What?!”. That’s when I also discovered how many machines I had around me. I tried to touch my nose, as it felt like there was something stuck, and felt a tube coming out. I thought, “Please, please, I hope that isn’t going where I think it’s going!”.
I didn’t know what day it was but I always kept asking what the time was. I think that’s where my obsession with time started.
Trying to communicate with strangers was daunting. I couldn’t speak, nor hear, and my vision was terrible. Nurses tried to use my headset and microphone, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. They tried to get me to communicate by pointing at letters, to spell out words I was trying to say, but my coordination was atrocious and combined with my vision loss, I couldn’t see to point at the letters.
The last resort was for me to try and write on my whiteboard, I really struggled to grip the pen. I went to write but I couldn’t control my hand. Tears began to fill my eyes, “why can’t I write anymore?”
Memories of when I had taken calligraphy lessons in school came into my mind, and the tears just flowed.
I can’t put it into words how it felt to not be able to communicate with anyone.
I still didn’t know what was wrong, but I could sense that whatever this was, it was trying to kill me.