Family… — December 31, 2014

Family…

My momma deserves the biggest mention ever. That woman is my rock!
I put a post up recently about how I stay positive, and I mentioned lots of things in there that keep me happy and sane but then focused on my friends. Now it’s family time! And I’ve got to start with my mum. She is always here with me…she’s sits with me every a&e trip, come with me to the ward, settles me in and goes home after hours of waiting around. Whatever time she gets home she will still be back for visiting. She packs my bags, does my washing, brings me food and drink etc. She is the first one to message me every single morning to see how I am. And all of this whilst getting on with the busy life she leads at home. I love our time we get during visiting to catch up, or sometimes just sit and relax and do nothing, sometimes not even talking, just sitting together. πŸ™‚

My mum is amazing. This week there has been 2 of us in hospital and she has been going between the two of us most days, having meep overs, looking after the kids at home, keeping the house running, looking after my dad when he was unwell, keeping an excitable doggy entertained, all with a really painful frozen shoulder that needed cortisone injections this week. She even put off her appointment for us all because she knew she had no chance to rest her arm like she would need to. I don’t know how she’s managed this past week, right on top of Christmas and new year when it’s meant to be about taking time for the family she has had so much piled on her. Can’t have been fun or easy. Our family Christmas time has been ruined, definitely. But we are a great family, and although we had the plans to make this time of year special, we are always together. We are a close bunch. Like the ghost of Christmas present says in The Muppets Christmas Carol: “it’s true wherever you find love it feels like Christmas!” It’s Christmas all year round in our family!

My Dad is the greatest dad ever. I don’t know how I lucked out with my parents. They’re the best! My dad is such a funny person. He has the best sense of humour…he sent me this this admission:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_0055.jpg

My dad hates hospitals. But there have been times when there was no choice but for him to come see me. There’s been nobody to visit so he’s come in on his own and sat with me (sure he’s ate my sweets and watched the tv…anything to keep him happy hey?!) I know he’s there, and I know when he’s not working he’s usually bringing my mum here or keeping the kids while she visits. I love my Mum and Dad. Together they’re the greatest examples to us and the best team ever. We Cain kids got lucky!

My sister…she’s had a hell of a week to deal with too! Her littlest baby is in hospital, and has been sick since before Christmas. I know the strain me being sick has on my mum and I’m 25…Jessica is 4 months old and has been really poorly. That’s got to be heartbreaking stuff seeing this little kiddo:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_0034.jpg

My sister is usually up at the hospital as much as she can, and I know she would have been here too but her baby is the most important right now. I’m sure during my next admission Nicky will be right up here with mum in a&e or visiting times! My sister is one of my greatest friends. Honestly, put my mum, my sister and me together….hilarious! I love her so much! We just match perfectly as sisters, especially now we are older.

My little brother…cainy hates hospitals. And I’ve not seen him much when I’m admitted. He hates seeing me sick. But I get comments and messages of him that shows he cares. He’s another one that’s perfectly matched to me…I love spending time with my brother. There’s 8 years between us, but we still enjoy hanging out together, having a laugh, going the pictures or for food, and he even came to visit me and play board games with me this admission! I love my little brother, he’s a great person and has really turned out to be a credit to my parents.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_0056.jpg

After those 4 amazing people, you’d think I don’t need anymore blessings right? Well I’ve got these three little lovelies to call nieces and nephew:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_0059.jpg

They can bring a smile to my face whenever….they’re the best kids, so full of love! Charlotte kept asking me something every day before I ended up in here, without fail, every time she saw me she would ask: “Aunty Jo, we’re friends aren’t we?” To which I’d reply “best friends” and I’m not lying. I’m 25 and 3 of my best friends are 6,4 and 4 months old! Being an Aunty is the best thing ever!

Then there’s their dad…my brother in law is hilarious! He fits into our family brilliantly! He always makes me laugh and we’re always joking around! He’s sussed us out and figured out a way to survive our crazy family!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_0057.jpg

After that bunch…I have an endless supply of aunties, uncles, my nan and cousins, all there supporting me and wishing me well. I love having such a big family, and we all care about each other. There have been times when someone didn’t have quite enough money to visit me, but raided the change jar to get money for the bus and buy me sweets, when there was nobody to have the kids so my mum could get here to me so somebody has had the kids so my mum and dad can get here when they really need to.

I know I’m blessed with my family, I couldn’t ask for a better bunch in my life. And I definitely had to count them in my blessings when thinking about my year, recapping 2014, my family is definitely my greatest blessing πŸ™‚

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_0058.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_9989.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_9781.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_9666.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_9777.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_9925.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_9094.jpg

Advertisements
The end of 2014… — December 30, 2014

The end of 2014…

2014 hasn’t really been the best year…it hasn’t been the worst either I’ll admit! But I did think it would end a bit better than it has done! And that goes for my family as well as myself.

I’ll recap my last couple of weeks.

I got back to work, I was so happy. I loved being in an environment I love, surrounded by friends, and feeling like I had some normality back in my life. Sure I was only doing audits and paperwork, but I was back and feeling like I was doing something worthwhile with my time. I made it through the first week without any problems. Although I did start getting a cold and cough on the Friday. Nothing major, just increase my inhalers and steroids and that normally sorts me out. We spent the weekend doing family Christmas activities (oh yes we did!!) and had my niece’s blessing day too. Then it was back to work on Monday.

I made it two hours. When I got home I tried to get a doctors appointment but couldn’t, so I took it easy and called up the next day for an appointment then set off for work. I spent the full 4 hours in work, not that anyone was best pleased. I always feel ok to go on. Even when I was younger I would always go to school with a chest infection. I walked around Epcot in Disney World Florida with pneumonia. I could make it 4 hours in work with a cough.

At the end of my shift I was told not to come back to work for a couple of weeks. That people were worried about me and only concerned for my health. I feel so bad for my ward Sister. She always has to deliver the bad news to me and I feel like she must think I hate her for it. I know it’s just her job, and she’s as nice as she can be when telling me things that will upset me. But I still felt completely defeated. 7 “shifts” was all I made it. And they were only up to 4 hours long. I felt like I’d completely failed at trying to regain control and normality of my life. It takes a lot to get me down about things, normally I can just keep positive, even during the scariest times with my health. I never think the worst.

When I got home I waited around and then went to my do tors appointment for 4.30. I was in A&E by 6pm. I was admitted overnight for observation and transferred to AMAU on 40% oxygen nebs and magnesium. It’s a horrible thing to have people recognise you sometimes. Walking into A&E one of the staff just looked at me and said “asthma? I remember you”. Being wheeled into AMAU and having staff say “hey, back again?” Or having people wave at me because they knew my face. It doesn’t feel great at 25 to be known in a hospital! I spent one night on AMAU and was transferred up to 6Y, a respiratory ward. If I thought I was recognised elsewhere, then the staff on 6Y are like family…I don’t just recognise them, I know their names. It was “oh Jo, what are you doing back?” “You love us that much you want to spend Christmas with us?” At least I don’t have to go through the whole getting to know you phase on the ward. The staff don’t have to ask me a million questions, they know me, what I prefer to be called, what I’m normally like, how well I should be before I can leave etc. It’s somewhat reassuring to know that they know all they need to know about me sometimes.

I spent Christmas Eve trying to improve as much as possible, weaned my oxygen down pretty quickly so that even if I couldn’t get home for good, I would at least be allowed home for a couple of hours. Liz did great weaning me down, knowing I just wanted to get some freedom on Christmas Day. I was a little disheartened at the thought of waking up in hospital Christmas morning, but it had to be done. I’ve already wrote about Christmas Day so I won’t bore you with it again!

Boxing Day was ok, thought I would get home but didn’t feel too good in the afternoon. I had a great nurse looking after me that afternoon, Julia. She’s suffered really bad with asthma for a while now too, a lot worse than I have, and we sat and swapped horror stories etc, but it was good to know she understood, she knew what I was feeling, how little things I was saying were pointing to the fact that things weren’t quite right. Overnight I started feeling worse and ended up trying out the dreaded aminophylline. Last time I had it was 18 months ago during my first admission, and it didn’t go well, I reacted quite badly to it. But Jess explained everything and told me what the doctors had said, why they wanted to try it etc so I thought I’d give it a chance. Who knew, it could have worked wonders and last time could have been a one off. Imagine if all this time the one drug that could sort me out was the one I’d been avoiding like the plague!

I didn’t do too bad all of the next day. Developed a cough during the evening, but a pretty uneventful day. I actually thought the aminophylline was working its magic, even Julia said it’s a horrible drug, makes you feel terrible in every other way but your breathing settles remarkably. And that happened for pretty much 24 hours. I went to bed at 10pm and woke up at midnight feeling a little short of breath. I took my inhalers, waited a while then pressed the buzzer. (I’ve said it before, I hate pressing the buzzer. I know how busy these nurses are, and me buzzing for something just adds to it. I usually have a little fight with myself over pressing it, and hold the buzzer for a while before building out he courage to press it!) But I buzzed and Jess came and gave me a neb, said she would be back to check on me. It felt like an age passed (it was probably about half an hour) and she came back in and I didn’t feel any better. She gave me another neb, and this time I didn’t wait after it, I pressed the nurse call bell (again?!) and she came straight back. I can’t believe I ended up making her really busy for two nights on the run. This time, they gave me IV magnesium, IV hydrocortisone, IV potassium, back to back nebs for about 5 hours, they gave me another loading dose of aminophylline and then continued the infusion. I had blood gases done, was reviewed by HDU and had extra lines put in, bloods taken etc. They decided to take me up to HDU early in the morning, I was shattered, wheezing really bad and needed some extra monitoring.

I got to HDU at 6.30am. I couldn’t hide how sick I felt, normally I try (terrible patient!) but I was too tired this time. The morning passed in a bit of a blur. I had an arterial line inserted for monitoring, they stopped the aminophylline, had me on monitoring, gave me fluid challenges to get my heart rate down. My mum came early, then my Aunty and Uncle came too. I pretty much drifted in and out of sleep, getting in and out of bed with help at various times, needed loads of support. I had a heart rate of about 160/170bpm and a resp rate of 70 at times. But after around 2pm I started to feel more human, I finally got out of bed and had a wash at 4pm. That’s all I wanted all day! It’s bad enough feeling terrible, but then not having washed or changed makes you feel a million times worse sometimes.

Over night my heart rate settled somewhat and I managed to sleep most of the night. The next day was pretty much the same, I just took it easy and did as I was told. I had my arterial line removed, fluids stopped etc. I had more freedom to walk outside the room when I needed to. It’s nice not to be confined to the bedside, tied to one spot by wires and lines.

The staff from 6Y called to ask how I was. Julia came up to see me. It’s nice to know that even the staff that aren’t from the ward I work on actually care about me. They thought something bad had happened to me and so they went out of their way to check I was ok.

So I’m still I’m hospital today…I even tried asking if I can just go straight home from here today, didn’t work but it was sure worth a try! I’m hoping I’m out of here tomorrow though, I spent Christmas time in hospital, I can’t spend new year here too! I honestly thought this would have been a quick little admission, in and out in time for Christmas. But it wasn’t meant to be. Once again I’m just glad to have gotten through it, happy I’ve been sorted out again and so grateful for the staff who have looked after me so well here on HDU, on 6Y and in AMAU. I couldn’t have asked for a better lot of nurses than I got this time. All such a credit to the profession!

Merry Christmas! — December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a different one, but I really can’t complain! Christmas in hospital…I thought it would be a worse feeling than spending Christmas Eve here…and although it’s not ideal, it’s nothing too terrible (not when you’re almost ready to go home like I hopefully am anyways!)

It started rather a lot later than my usual Christmas Days do…the Christmas menus were brought round just before 7am and Janet who gives out the breakfasts here gave everyone a card. Such a lovely thought! I wanted to be a bah humbug today and not feel like it was Christmas so then I could pretend I never missed it and just have one at home another time. But the staff came in wearing hats, singing, wishing you merry Christmas…and I couldn’t help but get a little excited. So it wasn’t the best way to spend Christmas Day but it was a better way to spend a hospital day!

Then I became one of those people who gets a gift from the hospital because I’m one of the unlucky souls who wasn’t allowed home the day before to recover!

Next came the wait for the doctor who reviewed me yesterday. I was hopeful he would just say go home, merry Christmas but no!! He actually didn’t even want me to go home, he thought it was too big a step…listen doctor, I’m probably the only one on the ward who gets excited at the thought of Santa coming to visit. Not go home? Behave! We bargained a little bit. Just for dinner…and they wouldn’t decide til lunch time. Better than a no!

Then I had my Christmas Eve shower…far from the usual tradition! For one, it was already Christmas, second, I didn’t wash my hair because it would just be wet all day then, and third, it wasn’t my shower…but I was smelling clean and into my Olaf pjs ready to go home πŸ™‚

They checked at lunch time that my oxygen levels were ok, gave me a neb just to be sure and then said yep to a home visit! Bless Pats, Greg and Joseph coming and stealing me away from here and taking me home, and Anna for coming up to give me some sweets because she had heard I was in hospital over Christmas! I have good people in my life!

Then it was home to my lovely family, opening presents, eating delicious Christmas dinner and (oh the horror) shop bought mince pies for pudding! Haha, normally mum and I bake our own mince pies…and they’re the best. Other mince pies are nice, Costco are good, but homemade? They’re the best! So we couldn’t bake mince pies this year cos I ended up in here, and mum and I sat discussing how these mince pies just didn’t taste like our mince pies. We should have just had something else haha!

Then after that we played games, visited the sister and family πŸ™‚ then back to the hospital. I am shattered! I spent about 5 hours away from here and it wiped me out…so I’m gonna sleep well tonight! I was back in perfect time for meds (stupid fragmin) nebs and obs. Sorted out then chill out for the rest of the night! The lights are down now so it’s almost time for bed. With a bit of luck the excitement and busyness of my day will let me sleep like a log and wake up refreshed in the morning!! I can certainly hope anyway!

So it was different, but I had plenty of people wishing me merry Christmas, hoping I got home to be with my family, and it happened. It was the best Christmas I could have had under the circumstances, so I really enjoyed myself! I hope all you lovely people did too! πŸ™‚ goodnight! Enjoy the sales in the morning xx

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_0013.jpg

Winter is not being good to me! — December 24, 2014

Winter is not being good to me!

As if I am posting this right after the positive post!!
Just goes to show that you can’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched!

So I’m back in hospital, and it’s Christmas Eve Eve…(yes that’s a thing!) I have absolutely everything crossed that I show some good improvement by morning or santa may not know where to find me on Wednesday night! It is a little disheartening and definitely annoying, but not as completely soul destroying as the thought of failing at getting my normal life back. Sure I understand that my health is more important than work, I know that. But getting back to work was one small defeat that I could have. One little chance at normality, and taking my life back again.

But now isn’t the time for that to happen apparently…I’ll have to wait a while longer I guess! Maybe going back to work 3 weeks after getting off HDU wasn’t the brightest idea, but it felt right at the time. And it may just have cost me my Christmas at home this year, but it was worth a shot. I thought it would work, the plans sounded good, everyone agreed, and I felt good.

Next time though, I’m going to have to wait! Somehow things will work out just how they’re supposed to!

How do I stay positive? — December 17, 2014

How do I stay positive?

I’m often asked how I can stay so happy and positive all the time with what I go through. Trust me, it’s difficult. And I save my unhappy negative moments for when I’m alone or at home. I rarely let everything upset me, because I know that once I let that happen it will take over my happiness, and I don’t know how I’d manage to grab it back without having another fight on my hands.

I don’t have a lot of bad things in my life. I’m actually extremely blessed! I have my family, friends, my faith, my job, a home, money, support, love, a car, hobbies, talents, pretty much all I would ever need. The only exception is my health. That’s the only thing that isn’t great in my life, but it’s also not terrible!

I see this time in my life as a trial, a learning experience, a story to tell, and an opportunity. Quite what I’m meant to learn, I’m not too sure yet. I’ve learned a lot, but I can tell I’m not done learning yet. My story…well it’s pretty drastic at times, it’s not unique but to many it’s different to their story. And an opportunity….to learn, to grow, to help others, to take a break, to focus on what I need to change in my life.

I guess having that outlook on the challenges I face helps me to overcome them. But I definitely know my friends help me a lot! I am so lucky with the friends I have…there’s separate groups of friends, not all of them know each other, but I know them all and I value them all so much. I’m not going to name you…but you will know who you are:

My all time longest most bestest lifelong friend….:) when I see her, which isn’t as much as it used to be, it’s just like we’ve never been apart. We’ve grown up (kinda!) but not apart! I love you!

My best friend who is my absolute anchor! She has been for a few years now, and been there with encouragement, hugs, gifts, visits, texts etc just when I need them. If something goes wrong, she’s the first person I want to turn to…I’m more honest with her than with anyone else. Especially with my health. I love you!

My three favourites! I couldn’t ask for better friends! We set the world to rights, and between us we have everything covered! They make me laugh so much and keep me happy. They’re always there when I’m unwell, always concerned, always there to cheer me up. I can’t believe we’ve been split up though! Our group text makes me laugh all the time, we can never stop it! I love you all!

My two best friends, who I can laugh with or cry with. I can be myself, be completely crazy with these girls. Finding these two was the best thing that could happen to me, and it happened at the perfect time! They came into my life right before I got sick. Literally, our first trip out together was a week before I first ended up in hospital! Divine intervention! πŸ˜‰ we all have our problems, but we all help each other through them. I love you both!

My best friends from across the pond…and a lot of land. Also Divine intervention! We knew each other in the pre existence! You all came into my life at times I needed help the most, and only you could give that help. Our friendships will last the time and miles that lie between us! I love you all!

I have so many friends who all mean a lot to me…but to be so lucky to have so many best friends that are just perfect, all completely different but all just right for me…that’s how I stay positive!

And of course I have the most amazing family! What they’ve been through this year with me, the things they’ve done, the time and effort, love and support they’ve given me…I just couldn’t begin to thank them enough! I love you all!

So to everyone who plays even the smallest part in my life, offering me encouragement, laughter, time….thank you! It’s you who keeps me going and keeps me positive!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/951/72997242/files/2014/12/img_9774.jpg

Well I survived… — December 15, 2014

Well I survived…

…my first day back in work that is!

I hardly managed to sleep last night, finally got into bed around half 10 and lay awake for what felt like forever. When I did sleep, I just kept waking up, and finally at around 4am I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. Eventually my alarm went off at 7am, I’m not working normal hours for a while yet so got to stay warm under the covers for an extra bit! Who knew it was still dark at 7am these days?!

IMG_9808.JPG

I didn’t, that’s for sure! But as I’d been awake for ages, it wasn’t that big a shock to the system to get up and get ready for work! πŸ˜€ I’m working in the office for a while before I’m allowed back with patients so I get to go in in my own clothes, but obviously looking smart…

IMG_9809.JPG

…I ended up being completely ready and sat waiting in the living room over 20 minutes early. Haha…I don’t know what got into me?! The nerves were all gone and it was pure excitement again to get back to work! I’m so weird! But after 20 minutes of filling the time doing random things that popped into my head I left πŸ™‚

IMG_9810.JPG

I hate driving routes I know well and there being loads of people on the road. Normally when I drive to work at half 6 in the morning there’s nobody really out, or when I’m coming home some time after 9pm…but this morning there was loads of people! Good job I had Taylor Swift to keep me happy!

Walking into work was great! I was greeted with hugs and smiles and people asking how I am. It was a nice feeling to be “back”. I get to go back to work and help out, but I won’t officially be back on the ward as a nurse for about 6 weeks. I’m gonna enjoy this easier time while I can! From what I’m hearing work is still just as busy and stressful as always, and although I look forward to being a “real nurse” again, I’ll be wanting my time off before I know it! But for today this was pretty much it:

IMG_9813.JPG

And some number crunching, emails sent and then they discussed my back to work plan, and what I’ll be getting up to over the next few weeks.

So for now, I’ll call it a success! I’m back to work πŸ™‚ it’s official!

I wonder… — December 13, 2014

I wonder…

So I have one more day off before I go back to work after 5 long months of sick leave. Each time I go back I hope it’s the last time, that I won’t get sick again and have to take more time off work…I don’t know if or when that will happen, but I always hope!
So what have I been thinking about whilst my last remaining “hours of freedom” are ticking away? It’s made me think of a few things.
First…the excitement I was feeling is very quickly becoming fear and nerves. 5 months is a long time away, it won’t be easy to try and remember everything I’m supposed to do. I know a lot of the staff have changed in the last few months and especially since I first started getting sick and not really working very regularly. I know it won’t be the same place I left 5 months ago. And I also feel a little apprehensive about seeing patients going through similar things to what I did, or worse, and knowing how easily it could have been or could be me at some point.
I’m sure once I get back to work and see my friends I’ll get the excitement and love back that I know is buried somewhere inside of me for my job!
Second thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is how people will react to me being back. I wonder what was said about me in handovers when I was a patient there, or what people were taking about, how it felt to see me sick etc. It wasn’t even that long ago, so maybe they may think I’ve come back too early? I’m sure after a little while once I’ve worked my first shift back with everyone (over 50 staff!!) that I’ll get over this. I don’t like to think I’ve been talked about though…I hate getting attention!
And thirdly…I wonder if they all know what they really did for me. I’ve never looked at somebody who came back to our ward after being a patient and had the thought “I saved their life”. I’ve always just been happy to see them, asked them how life is going and been so happy for them that they’re recovering well. But it’s true, I helped save their life. And I just wonder if maybe somebody will be looking at me without me knowing and realise that they helped save my life. That without them I wouldn’t be here. That they have made a difference in the world by “just doing their job”. I’m alive, and whatever good I do in the world, whatever great experiences I have, in some way, I owe to them. I hope they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, and are happy that they played such a huge part in my life. Hopefully I can live in such a way that I can make them proud.
That’s all I’m wondering…that’s what’s playing on my mind while I count down to my big return on Monday!

Sometimes asthma just gets in the way… —

Sometimes asthma just gets in the way…

So today I managed to enjoy one of my favourite hobbies which I haven’t really been able to enjoy because I’ve been unwell so often lately. But today, I got to bake!

My goddaughter is 1 this month, and so I’m making her birthday cake for her party on Sunday. And whilst the kitchen was already going to be messy (some people say I’m a messy baker, I prefer to call it my creative flair) I decided to throw some cinnamon buns into the mix.

image

It was great, I loved my day in the kitchen, and I love the feeling of not letting asthma win.

Tonight I decided to go out with friends. We travelled over 2 hours to Birmingham, there wasn’t as many people there as we thought there would be, but the 3 of us can make our own fun anytime! To my disappointment though when we walked into the hall, they had a smoke machine! I used to love them at school discos as a kid, but now as an adult with brittle asthma I don’t enjoy it as much. At one point the room was that smokey the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the building…it stopped before I had to endure the freezing cold outdoors, but I was glad of a quick break from the horrible air!

Luckily I’d taken salbutamol before I even left my car, but I worried the whole night, stayed near the back where the air was clearest and decided not to dance as “energetically” as usual. A bit of dad dancing, side stepping, arm swinging kinda dancing would probably sum up the level of dancing I could do without worrying that I’d end up embarrassing myself and finding out what the NHS in Birmingham is like after an asthma attack.

Thankfully that didn’t turn out to be the case, but it made me realise that sometimes I can carry on as normal in life, as normal as possible, and do things I enjoy without worrying. And sometimes I just can’t. Sometimes asthma just gets in the way.

Where I am now! — December 11, 2014

Where I am now!

So I updated the last couple of stays in hospital…there was one in between the ITU and HDU admissions that I always forget about but the main couple were covered.

So that leaves me with where I’m up to now. 3 days bore returning to work after 5 long months off! I can’t wait!

I’m currently under 3 different teams for managing and controlling my asthma and other long term problems I have. I regularly travel to Liverpool Royal and Broadgreen, Preston Royal, and after Christmas Salford Hope Hospital is added to the list. I have 4 different things going on which either effect my lungs directly or effect other things which then upsets my asthma. I’ve had plenty of tests and different therapies relating to all of these. I’m currently waiting on repeat tests at Preston – nasoendoscopy, 6 minute walk test, spirotrack and PFT with challenge and reversibility. And the new tests at Salford – oesophageal manometry and 24 hour pH test (I’ll post pictures when that happens!)

But for now we are sitting and waiting, hoping long term steroids help enough until I get more answers. And right now I’m happy with that, because I’m fit enough to “go back to work” (it’ll be a while until I’m fully back) and I can’t wait! I love my job!

I’m also baking a cake this weekend…it’s been a while since I last baked!

Bring it on life!

X

My HDU admission… —

My HDU admission…

So my last admission doesn’t sound as drastic when I say I ended up on HDU instead of ITU, but this time, I was a whole lot sicker. I’ll start from the beginning shall I?!

So I had a fabulous time in Canada, but ended up with a horrible cold just a couple of days after getting home. I carried on doing a few things but cut right back on going out and stuff. I’d had a busy month, we drove further than I’ve ever driven before, we packed as much fun into those 4 weeks as possible and it was totally worth it! But getting home meant it was time to slow down and recover. So I was even on top of my health, going to see the GP when I had a cold is so unlike me, but I did it anyway, and then again when the cold went into my chest. The next visit was probably a day or 2 late, but I thought I should at least give the steroids another 48 hours to work. But alas, they didn’t help! So off I went back to my GP who said he really could see no other option than for me to go to A&E. Now I’m normally stubborn about my health, and this was no different. I didn’t feel as bad as I have done before and didn’t really see the point, but I went anyway. And this time I was told within the first hour that I was staying at least overnight. So my gases weren’t great. My numbers were a lot worse than I felt. So I stayed in, was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent to a respiratory ward. The next day was Friday, and I was told I would be home over the weekend or Monday at the latest. They took me off oxygen, stopped my antibiotics and I was free to move around, so I escaped off the ward and went over to work to negotiate my impending return to work! I felt good, and so going back to work 10 days later even though I was in hospital seemed like an option. I went back to the ward happy, had visitors in the evening and then settled down for the night.

imageimage

Thats when things changed. I felt a little out of breath, more so than I had already been, and it didn’t go at all with inhalers. So I waited and took some more. Then comes the coughing…anyone who has seen me coughing with asthma can witness to how annoying this cough is. Completely irritating, and no matter what I can’t shift it, or stop. So I buzzed the nurse. Yes that’s right, I actually used the buzzer. Only the second or third time in 18 months of admissions! The nurse came and gave me a nebuliser and said she would be back in a little while. Over half an hour later she came in switched off the oxygen and said “feeling better?” without looking at me. I wasn’t. When I said no, she took my obs. Then gave me another neb, re-took my obs then left the room. Another nurse came in, looked at my chart and left the room. Then a nurse practitioner came in, and another, and then the two nurses.

They kept giving me nebulisers, a nurse practitioner tried to take a blood gas a few times and couldn’t, the on call doctor for the ward came and tried. My pulse was pounding away, but apparently that makes it harder to get! My resp rate was way up, my blood pressure was up, my heart rate was faster than ever, so they hooked me up to a crash trolley and put out a MET call. For people not familiar with hospitals that’s not good, an emergency call goes out to all the bleeps in the hospital to say you’re sick and assistance is needed. Well my little side room filled up fast with more nurses and doctors. I had a chest X-ray and was started on IV magnesium, IV antibiotics, 100% oxygen and reviewed by HDU/ITU.

After 4 hours I was taken up to HDU. Yep. The place I work. I was wheeled in on a bed, struggling to breathe, completely embarrassed and dreading staying on the ward I worked on. Not because I didn’t trust the staff, I would trust them with my life, but there would be a whole new level to how well they knew me, and that didn’t sound good to me! I don’t know what I looked like, but it was probably terrible, my hair was a mess, I was roasting hot from trying so hard to breathe etc, I bet I looked a show. But then I was wheeled onto the ward, past unfamiliar faces and I worried more, I didn’t trust staff I didn’t know to care for me when I needed HDU (there’s just no pleasing me right?!) but then stood behind the nurses station, (giving me that look that all the staff on my ward give me when I get sick, you know the one, what are you doing here? We told you to look after yourself. You’re in for it now! Kinda look) was Lyn, and I all of a sudden relaxed…I still couldn’t breathe but I felt calmer.

imageimage

Lyn, Jackie and John set me up, had me hooked up to monitors, repositioned and looking somewhat presentable while I was handed over. The doctor came in and put in an arterial line and we carried on with nebs until I settled. I didn’t sleep at all. Bay 3 is a busy place when you work there, it feels busier when you’re patient 3.1! In the morning was when the fun began…the comments about checking my pressure areas, they’d be in to wash me last etc started! It felt good that nobody changed even though I was sick. Vicki looked after me, and I’ll never forget the initial feeling when I realised I needed help to do pretty much everything, but as always, everyone was so professional, and not once did I feel embarrassed. Not even when three of them waited outside the bathroom door to walk me back to bed! I’ve never felt so like a patient before in my life! But I settled as the day went on, the late staff came in and I was moved into another bay with women and less people. Sarah and Debbie looked after me, it felt safe to be there and I felt like I was getting better. My art line was taken out – great sign!

That night Lyn was back on the ward, she covered Elizabeth’s break in the early hours when I started feeling unwell. Commence back to back nebs, struggling to breathe and my eventual realisation that I was getting tired and I couldn’t manage. I had doctors come and check me over, they gave me IV magnesium but they all just kept reassuring me I was doing well and the ward round would be in to see me.

The early staff came in, and straight after handover Tracey came in to see how I was getting on, for the first time in my life I admitted to somebody on our ward that I didn’t feel well. She asked me was a struggling and I just cried and said yes. Had I said no she wouldn’t have believed me, it was obvious, but the fact I admitted it made it clear how bad I felt. The consultant came in and the doctors, extra nurses helping out in the room, friends walking past with worried looks on their faces. But I was started on high flow oxygen 100%, I was given IV salbutamol and back to back nebs for hours. I felt horrible. But it stabilised me. Thank goodness for IV salbutamol, it’s saved me from intubation, and probably saved my life twice now. I managed to sit out in a chair, trying to feel human, but you can tell I’m sick when I agree to wear a gown, this time I asked Sarah could I have one because it would just be so much easier. I felt pretty spaced out all day. I remember speaking to Tracey saying how weird I felt, that I just didn’t feel like myself at all. I was worn out, and I have to admit, a little confused at times! Β Sometimes, some of the conversations I had with people really put me at ease, friends coming in to see me, smiles as people walked past the room, all the words of encouragement, I remember them. They really helped.

imageimage

That was the worst point, it was all improvement from there. I couldn’t eat without feeling sick from the IV antibiotics I was on and they gave me another art line, but other than that, my oxygen was weaned, my IV salbutamol was stopped after 3 days, I eventually started doing more and more. I had the best team looking after me! I don’t think they would have felt the same way looking after me, a few people have told me how hard it was to see me so ill, and people looking after me would have found it even harder.

But thanks everyone! Thank you Lyn, Jackie, John, Kerrie, Vicki, Donna W, Donna L, Michelle B, Michelle Mc, Audrey, Sarah, Debbie, Elizabeth, Karen, Paula, Tracey for looking after me! (Extra thanks fluff for sitting with me when I cried!) Thanks to Sophia, Sandra, Stella, Chris, Linda, Lyn, Irene, Lisa and anyone else who helped me in and out of bed/chairs, carried my oxygen, got me things, changed my bed, Pete for plugging my phone in! Thanks Jade, Laura, Roy, Chris, Julia, Julia, Linda, Ken, Joe, Wendy, Phil and everyone already mentioned for coming in to say hello, or to make jokes, or see how I am (or for calling me hazel grace whilst I was swinging my oxygen cylinder around hey Jade?!). Thank you to every single person on the ward…I couldn’t ask for a better team to look after me, never mind to work with! Thanks to Lawrence and Lee for sorting me out! Thanks Liz for coming up to visit me when you weren’t working on the ward. Thanks to everyone who text me, called facebooked, liked a picture, commented, anything. Thanks to family and friends for the visits, for the presents and cards. I can’t thank everyone enough for the love and support, and I haven’t meant to miss anyone out, as I said, I was confused at times πŸ˜‰ and 6 days was a long run, thanks for getting me through it!

Sorry for turning this into an oscar speech…but seriously, my fabulous colleagues a.k.a. Friends, saved my life!

image