I was hot, yes I know I was in a hospital and they are always hot, but normally the dressings clinic is OK.
Yes the window is open, but I know that I am a little off, just not right, I can not put my finger in it and it is about to get worse.
The nurse has returned with all the things she needs to remove these stitches and I will be so glad to see them go. No blue thread making my chest look like a zip, no more pulling and pressure as the skin tightens around them. I am so happy to see them go, the boys less so, there is something about the gruesomeness of it all that makes them love them so.
Anyway, I take a deep breath and hold on tight to MadDad’s hand, “you might feel slightly nauseous” says the lovely nurse, I just press her to get it all over and done with. I don’t notice the pain to be honest, I am too busy concentrating on the drip of perspiration that is going to fall off my nose.
“All done” she tells us chirpily, “you have healed pretty well, apart from one spot on the right, I am just going to get some dressings for it” and off she pops behind the curtain. The curtain fabric that I have become so familiar with, the white one showing local landmarks, The Transporter Bridge, The Tees Barrage and High Force.
“I don’t feel right” I say quietly to MadDad, “I am so hot and look my chest is so, so red”. “Lets ask to see a doctor, one of the ones that know you”. As soon as the nurse returns, I insist that I need to see my Consultant. “He is in surgery” she tells me, so arranges for me to see his SHO Tom. Tom is great and listens to my concerns and notes that I am a little flushed (normally I am as pale as a vamp) and also yes my chest area is slightly red. He draws a line around the red area and disappears leaving me and MadDad behind that curtain again.
Cheerfully he pops his head back from the said curtain “I am arranging to have you admitted for observation overnight, they are just sorting you a bed”. I look at my watch it is 2pm, so I agree with MadDad that he will pop home and get me a bag and arrange for the boys to be looked after longer and then return as soon as he can, whilst I grab my clothes, pop them on and make a hasty exit to the dressings clinic waiting area.
I grab a magazine and start to read, I am still hot, although I am getting a nice draft from the fan. I take off my coat and scarf (I haven’t removed a scarf since my mastectomy, it is a shield, it makes me feel as though I have breasts). I am slowly getting hotter and hotter. I ask the receptionist for a glass of water, she take one look at me and calls a nurse over.
It is 4pm and they have found me a bed, the nurse comes and asks me to follow her, I hear her voice, but my legs wont do as I tell them, I stumble. I keep trying to get up and walk after her, but I cant and neither can I find my voice. I see MadDad arrive in the corridor and he sees me and drops the bag and come over and gets me up. Together we stumble to a bed. I hear him talking to me, but I can not concentrate on the words.
MrsMad “wake up, you must wake up”, “We need to find a vein now”, “her temperate is 40.7 degrees, we need to strip her” and then I feel pain, pain like never before, they are holding me down and trying to get blood from my groin, I can hear a woman screaming in what seems like the next ward, but no that noise, that scream, it is me. I feel so detached until I hear the words,”her kidneys are failing, her organs are shutting down, I think we are dealing with Sepsis” Sepsis, that one word does it, it drags me from behind the curtain back in to the real world. My dad died of Sepsis, I will not succumb to the same fate as my father. What about Maxi’s first nativity.
I hear myself speak, before I even say the words “Do not let me die, please do not let me die, I want to see my children grow up, I will haunt you forever if you let me die” and that is all I have to say on the subject and that is pretty much all I remember of that night. The night when they opened all the windows on the ward (it was a chilly March night), had fans blowing on me, gave me the domestos of antibiotics, updated MadDad hourly of my progress (he had to return to the boys).
I don’t remember my wounds splitting, or the discussions regarding surgery (I apparently begged them not to operate again, to leave it till my husband was with me), the waiting for an Intensive Care Bed. That night I came the closest I have ever come to not surviving my ordeal, but my the morning I had started to get better.
I wish I could say it was as simple as that, but it really wasn’t. The sepsis left more scars, emotionally and physically that all the previous surgeries put together. I spent 2 more weeks in hospital on iv antibiotics with a stoma bag over each wound. The bags were replaced daily and that was a trauma in itself, but the worst thing was watching my children suffer. Maxi behaved impeccably and they were even allowed to remain in my room with me during meal session, but mini, poor mini.
He thought he had me back home, we hadn’t expected Mummy to be whipped back in to hospital and hadn’t prepared him for it and all he wanted was Mummy. He withdrew, became clingy, stopped eating and sleeping. Controlling the only aspects of his life that he could. It was heartbreaking.
It has been a long and hard uphill struggle at times, but I am alive, thanks to the quick thinking of a great team of Doctors and Nurses and also my wonderful family. With them by my side I can conquer anything. Hard to think that this was just under a year ago, We have come such a long way since then.
We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.