Road to Recovery – a diary of personal experience 6

As I said, time passes slowly when all one can do is watch the world, or in my case, the medical and hospital staff, go by.  Night time was especially long as I wasn’t able to sleep well.  By now I was beginning to feel the stiffness and pain in my chest that remains to a small degree even now, 6 weeks later. I have never slept on my back but I had no choice with the aforementioned drains and tubes inserted in my body. I lay in a semi-upright position and hoped for some kind soul to pay me enough attention to pop some ice into my mouth. I was a particular “pain” one night when the music my son had given me wouldn’t work; I was hungry and thirsty and really totally at the mercy of others. I wanted to cry in frustration but couldn’t; I wanted someone to come and talk to me but who could I call on in the middle of the night? This was the one time when I remember my night nurse “growling” at me. I must have asked for breakfast too many times because I recall her saying to me, “It’s only 5 o’clock, breakfast won’t be here for another 3 hours.  Now go to sleep!” I apologised to her the next night and she brushed it off – they must be used to patients coming out of sedation… !

The following day, or shortly after, I was moved further down the ward and my bed turned around so I could look out the window and truly watch the world go by. I still had trouble figuring out just where I was and, although I know that area of town well, my orientation was still partly in “la-la land”.

After a day or so of consciousness in ICU the only tubes I had left was the oxygen support going directly into my nostrils.  I found this most uncomfortable and, at every opportunity, took it out.  Naturally, any staff member, or in fact, visitor who noticed I had removed it, would come along and pop it back in. Gosh, I now feel quite embarrassed by my “naughty” behaviour!

And soon enough came the first steps towards independence and rehabilitation. Bed pans are terrible to use, both for the patient and the staff, but necessary. However, the sooner a patient can progress from the bed to a “toileting” chair, the better. This meant being assisted off the bed and onto the chair and when one has been confined to reclining on a bed for 10 days or so, this is not a simple task! But the staff, as I have mentioned before, were amazing and patient and I managed, on two consecutive days, with much help, to toilet and bathe out of my bed. I could see the “patient toilet” from my bed and I remember looking with longing at that door and almost willing myself to go there!

After what seemed like an eternity, but was actually only 4 or 5 days, Sunday morning arrived with wonderful news… I was going to Ward 10 (Cardiothoracic ward) today! Another exciting step in my recovery…