Yesterday, Sarah and I headed somewhere that neither if us really wanted, but needed, to see. That place has very distinct yet different mmemories for the both of us, and on the whole they are not particularly good. I’ve talked a little about this place before (see Intensive care or Intensive Scare) but, until now, have not been brave enough to visit. I’m of course talking about the intensive care unit where I spent the first eleven days of my hospital journey, and eight of those days were in a medically induced coma.
I should begin by explaining why we ended up there I suppose. Two days ago, whilst sat in one of this hospital’s many corridors, a consultant I recognised instantly walked past me. She then did a little double take, and came across for a lovely little chat. This lady was one of the consultants, and a big part of the amazing team, that took care of me on ITU and then onto HDU. After a quick chat, it was dropped into conversation that I would be welcome to head up and see the place again; although this time it would be through less drugged up eyes. Having been considering this for a while, I decided it was one of those things I just needed to do.
Once on the unit, my mind went into overdrive. When we entered the doors, we were asked to wait in the waiting room (duh) and that was when the reality hit me. I instantly tried to put myself in the mind of my family at the time; they all had spent hours waiting there, and I couldn’t begin to imagine or understate the mental torment they all experienced. Not a pleasant start. Thankfully, the lovely consultant (who as I’ve not asked permission I wont name) came out of her office and had a quick chat. In her experience it is quite common for returning patients to quickly become overwhelmed; after all, this is the place that they became reborn in a sense. After a few minutes of chat, we headed through to the ward proper, and that is where it got real.
Now, this place is not quite what you see on tv; it’s not a tranquil, calm place with nurses and doctors tending to the sick with poise and elegance. In reality, it is a very strict, tightly organised chaos. Alarms, buzzes, monitors flashing; I didn’t know where to look. We were taken through to the end of the bad that I had been in, and it was a real déjà vu moment. Although I have a million and one thoughts in my head, a lot of them lack context and and i have no idea what is a memory or what is completely made up. Being there made me realise a lot of my memory is a mixture of real life, and pure imagination. The medication induced delirium I experienced was based in reality, it just took it and ran away. So it was nice to know not everything in my head is fake.
As I’ve said all the way through this, the first few weeks in particular were much harder on my family than me. All I had to do was lay there and heal; they had to watch as everything went on. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone, but especially Sarah. She sat by me, stuck with me, and got me through this life changing event. I love you. Going back to where it all started was obviously tough for me, but she still stayed with me and visited. Hopefully this will be a bit of closure for her too. There’s not many people out there who could do what she has done, and thank you will never be enough.
Overall, I’m very glad that I went up. It was a daunting experience, but I feel that with my discharge finally approaching, I can start to put this hellish half year behind me.
3 thoughts on “Full circle”
Sam you and your family have been astonishing through out this journey. You describe it so well and help us understand it so much more. Keep at it, soon be time for home.
I’m glad you managed to make the journey up to ICU and it answered some questions for you.
I’ve now left the hospital, you’ve been on home leave my last few shifts so unfortunately I didn’t get to say bye and wish you luck in person, but I’m so glad you are making those trips off the unit and back home. It’s all one step closer.
Rember there’s always ICU STEPs if you or your family want to meet with people who have also been through ICU.
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Thank you for your really kind words Sarah! I was so sad to hear you’ve left and I missed you, but then again I completely understand. You’ll be a huge loss to this hospital. I’m definitely going to attend a steps session, I think anything on offer is worth a try!
Hi Sam You two looked like you were defo up to mischief when I saw u last week! It was very brave of both of u to go back to ICU, what a formidable couple u are, wishing you both the very best for your next adventure at home Paula
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