This is the twenty-second part of a guest serial, in 1020 words.
Jill came to visit me at the weekend, she always knows how to make me smile. She loved writing on my whiteboard, what made me laugh (well, silently) is that when she writes, you can see in her expression what she is writing, if she’s happy about something then she will smile or laugh while writing, or if she’s annoyed or being sarcastic then she writes really fast. Anybody who knows her will know what I mean.
There was this male nurse, and he just sat on the reception desk not doing anything. Anyway, the nurse who was looking after me asked if I wanted to be transferred into the recliner. I nodded, as I wanted to show Jill because all she had seen of me in the last few weeks was me lying in bed. I was safely transferred into the recliner, all for about five minutes as I became really sore and it was more painful than the last time. Back up in the hoist I went.
The male nurse, who was sitting on the desk, had control of the hoist, and the idiot looked elsewhere while I was being lowered back into bed which meant he didn’t stop the hoist from lowering further, which as a result, squashed my hand! I couldn’t scream as nobody would hear me. Thankfully the other nurse who was assisting noticed before it could completely crush my hand. That left a bloody bruise though.
I kept giving him the evils when he walked near me. I was not happy. Thankfully he left not long after.
Jill left a few times to get some fresh air. But the second time she came back in, there was something different, not about her but about me.
While she went out, a nurse came over and wrote on my whiteboard, “Shall we try you with a speaking valve?” I looked rather, hesitant. She knew what I meant from the expression on my face. “Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt, it’s the same as changing your tracheostomy tube but with the speaking valve, you can try to speak, but you might cough a lot” she wrote down, reassuring me. I nodded.
The nurse was right, as soon as she connected the speaking valve, I couldn’t stop coughing. I really tried my hardest to stop myself from coughing so I could surprise Jill when she returned. But I was still coughing by the time she got back, thankfully she didn’t notice any different. As she sat down, she started looking in her bag.
“Hello” I said, very husky, huskier than Rod Stewart.
Jill looked at me in surprise and put her hands up as if to say, “What the??” I tried to reply with “They let me try the speaking valve” but I couldn’t manage all them words without choking. The nurse quickly rushed over and changed the valve back to the tube that was helping me breathe.
Talking, well saying a few words, really wore me out! Some random nurse came over to Jill and asked if I was Jill’s Mum! Cheeky sod! Bear in mind Jill is 7 years older than me – I thought, “Bloody hell, have I aged that much being stuck in here?!” Jill told me what was said, after laughing so much. Well, revenge is sweet, the nurse came back and asked if Jill was my Mum! Ha!
I hope that nurse doesn’t create family trees as a side job!
In the 6 hours that Jill had spent with me, she went through 3 whiteboard pens! 3!!
Ewan came to see me on the Sunday. I cried when he came to visit, I just yearned to be at home with him. He sat beside my bed and held my hand. He hadn’t heard me speak since the day before I was admitted to hospital, he must have enjoyed the peace and quiet. I was hoping, at some point during his visit, that I could try and speak to him. So, I was relieved the nurse came over to ask if I wanted to try and speak to Ewan.
I’m not going to lie, while the nurse was changing my tube to the speaking valve, I had butterflies. I knew what I wanted to say.
Within seconds of the valve being connected, I was coughing. Once it had calmed down, I turned to Ewan, and said,
“I love you”
He put his hand over his mouth in shock and closed his eyes, blinking back tears. The nurse bought over some tissues and I just laid there in disbelief. I never thought he would cry because of hearing my voice. This was a turning point for me, it made me realise what the odds were against me, how ill I was, but most importantly, it reminded me that Ewan still loved me and still thinks a lot of me if hearing my voice made him emotional.
Finally, he said, “I love you too”. I still remember that moment like it was yesterday and it’s definitely one I’m not going to forget in a hurry.
A few hours later, Ewan found my iPad – I couldn’t believe I’d had it with me this whole time! Nearly 3 weeks without it, blimey that’s a world record for me! Anyway, he turned it on and tried to see if there was any WiFi, thankfully there was! He did ask if it was OK to use my iPad while in ICU and it was fine.
Ewan held the iPad as I didn’t have the strength to hold it, I really struggled to type even with one finger. This was going to be a long recovery, learning to write again, type, sit up, stand up or walk, it all overwhelmed me but I tried my best to fight back the tears. I tapped on my emails, in my 3 weeks of unforeseen absence, I had accumulated over 600 emails. Wow.
I dreaded to think how long this would take me to go through them all.
Even though I was still coughing a lot, I was slowly getting better, I was weaned off the ventilator more gradually.
There was hope.