Now you’ve met Sally, I can tell you about her highly-rated medical opinion… When I was first in ITU, it was a real struggle to speak, what with the mask, my massive breathing rate, having a feeding tube down my throat etc. Naturally I kept my words to a minimum, as I had to really shout to even begin to be understood. My darling father, meanwhile, has been known on occasion to struggle with his hearing. So we made a right pair trying to communicate! Now, you may remember that the transplant consultant was Doctor Dalley, and he was still looking after me when I went down to ITU. After one visit from him, when he had told me I was doing ok, I was keen to tell my dad.
“Dalley says I’m doing ok,” I bellowed through my mask.
“Sally says you’re doing ok? Aaah,” giggled my Dad, humouring me.
“Dalley says I’m doing ok,” I tried again.
“Sally says you’re going to be ok? Good,” replied my Dad, nodding his head.
“DALLEY says I’m doing ok,” I reiterated, shaking my head.
“Sally say’s you’re doing ok…”
Eventually we got there, but boy was that frustrating for both of us! I wanted to patiently explain that, though Sally’s medical opinion was no doubt highly regarded in some sections of the hospital, I didn’t feel it desperately interesting to tell my father about it, particularly as I wasn’t very delusional at this point; and actually, it was a little more consoling to know that my consultant thought things were going ok… Moral of the story? Don’t give toys/dolls/teddy bears names that sound like doctors.
I’ve been remembering some of the food and drink I was attacking when down in ITU… My basic nutritional needs were all fulfilled by the ‘feed’ being put straight into my stomach through the tube. But I was encouraged to try to eat more, and I was often thirsty from the mask. What’s more, food and drink were a good positive to look forward to.
I had an excellent supply of Coke, which compared to the water seemed absolute heaven. I’d had that craving since before my trip to ITU, when I went out with siblings etc to Ferrari’s, and found an ice-cold glass of Coke the most refreshing thing in the world. Hospital water is seldom very cold and refreshing: a can of Coke from the fridge was what was needed. I also discovered chocolate Fortisip milkshakes – which to my surprise were very tasty as well as nutritious – and ended up with a crate of them delivered to the RMU when I got there!
The biggest feature of my diet, though, ended up being ice lollies and ice-creams… Never underestimate the power of an ice lolly to cheer you up! When I moved into ITU, the weather was lovely (I even had the window open, which isn’t even possible on RMU) and my family did a brilliant job of keeping me supplied with Calippos, Soleros, Starburst ice-creams, maybe a Galaxy in there. I never knew I liked them all so much… One massive frustration was an ice lolly / drink type thing that was so frozen I had to wait for it to melt enough to get it out… Those minutes went particularly slowly!
I think I should expand a little on my ‘Heaven is a bath’ comment last night. I’ve always loved baths, though in recent years have not managed to make much time for them. During my treatment I’ve generally avoided them (at home, this is; no baths in the RMU anyway), as I’ve either had a PICC line or Hickman line. which have to be kept out of the water, and therefore decided it would be more effort than it would be worth. Last night, though, with my muscles (what there is of them) aching and my legs really threatening to give me some jip, I decided to give it a go… My Hickman is actually higher on my chest than I realised, and I taped the ends up on my shoulder where there was no risk of falling in the water.
And the feeling, when I sank into the hot water, was heartstopping. Any soreness was lost, and I knew there was nowhere in the world I would have preferred to be at that moment. It felt so good I was tempted to post immediately, from the bath, using my phone, but decided to just enjoy the moment. The bliss didn’t actually last that long, as my legs soon decided they didn’t want a long soak and I was finding the whole thing a bit too hot, but while it did it was wonderful. I think I’ll be the trying the same again tonight, though I’ll remember to leave a window open, and I’ll be a bit more prepared for the difficulty of getting out of the bath with pathetic legs feeling particularly weary after a nice relax.