This is the seventh part in sharing my experience of battling with ill health.
*Trigger Warning: Distressing scenarios mentioned in this post.
Continuing on from I Knew Something Wasn’t Right.
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 seemed 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 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 fuck are you doing here?”, because the last thing I knew was that they hated me. Also, it was how I knew I was still ‘Ami’.
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 came from.
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.
When Mum came to see me, I couldn’t stop crying and was begging, somehow, she understood what I was trying to say despite having the breathing tube in my mouth, for her to take me home. She tried to keep calm, but you could see the frustration of not being able to help me was really getting to her. All Mum kept saying was, “You have to stay here, I can’t provide all these machines that are helping you”.
“But when can I go home?”, I was sobbing by this point. “I don’t know”, she replied, trying not to cry.
Little did I know, this was the beginning of a 9-month hospital and rehabilitation stay.
I got so angry at Mum because she wouldn’t take me home. But I know now that I was scared and simply didn’t understand what was happening. I’m sorry Mum.
Again, I kept telling Mum that I loved her, but was now saying it every 10 seconds because I didn’t know what was going to happen. She continued to say it back to me and each time it was said, I thought it would be the last.
I always got teary when Mum and Ewan had to go home. I didn’t want to be on my own. I tried to seek comfort and reassurance from the nurses when I started to panic. I did ask one nurse if I was dying. I didn’t know what to feel when she replied, “Yes”.
To be told I was dying, to this very day it still upsets to me, it made me think about what I had achieved in life. It dawned on me that I had achieved nothing. I was never able to be true to myself, be myself around others, I never chased my dreams. I always gave up too easily. But I knew I got one thing right.
He brought me out of my shell, around him I could be myself. He made me feel loved. The months prior to being admitted, all we did was argue. He struggled to come to terms with how fast my health was deteriorating, which is understandable. One time, I did ask him if he saw me for who I was anymore, and he said “No”. That broke me.
I felt more awake during the night, more aware of my surroundings. I prayed throughout the night, praying for strength to survive this, or at least until the next day. I laid there, thinking about how many times Mum had told me she loved me, and I thought, “If I die, then I will die happy knowing Mum told me she loved me”.
I also told myself, “Ewan will find someone else, someone better than me, someone who is normal, he will be better off without me”. But it broke me even more knowing I might never see him again.
I wanted to be able to tell him that I loved him, incase it was the last time.
If you would like to continue reading my story, please head over to Nobody Will Know I’m Here.