Wednesday, 14 March 2012

An Early Wedding Morning Disaster October 2011

I had thought long and hard about how I was going to cope with the wedding day itself, the actual ceremony was at twelve o'clock, followed by a meal and in the evening there was to be a Venetian
Sarah and Rose bridesmaids for the first time ever
masked ball, the whole wedding theme was Venetian. It was going to be quite a gruelling day for me and we had brought my wheelchair with us, so I would always be able to sit down, especially during the photographs if they were outside and we planned to come back to the cottage after the afternoon events, so I could sleep and do my medicine before the evening events kicked off. I planned to take my diuretics as early as possible in the morning and drink very little, but I was anxious about how well I was going to feel, especially following an early start to get ready. My experience told me, I would probably feel pretty terrible and would probably not feel that well until after lunchtime and lunchtime was going to be fairly late that day. It was going to be a struggle to start washing my hair even and get my glad rags on, so we would be ready by late  morning, we would probably have to be ready to set off by eleven o'clock. I only usually venture out in the morning for doctors or hospital appointments, and on these occasions don't need to bath and wash my hair or get dressed up and I usually take the diuretics later, after the event. So, despite looking forward to the event so much, it was going to be a difficult one and I would just have to go with the flow and manage as best as I could with a smile.
Mum and dad and the bride and groom

On the morning of the wedding the alarm rang as usual at six o'clock and Rob got up to make up my intravenous medication, ready to swap the syringe at six thirty when needed. There is no respite from the drug routines whatever the event, there are no days off! I was awake and could hear him preparing my drugs, I decided I needed the loo and raised myself to get up. On doing so, the whole room span around and my heart began to pound rapidly. This did not feel right and I lay back down straight away, I had barely lifted myself from the pillow. I could still hear Rob happily making my medication and I decided to stay calm then give it another try, I was completely dizzy and my heart was racing fast and now thumping so hard it felt it would come out of my chest. I lay back down again, now absolutely petrified about what was happening to me.

Rob came into the room and I calmly told him as I lay still what was happening. I asked him to change my medication over and to stay calm, which he duly did. He felt my chest and my heart pounding, well he could actually see my chest pounding and was getting alarmed like me. I decided to try moving again, but no, the dizziness started as soon as I moved and my heart raced even faster. It felt as though 'this was it', I thought my heart had taken a turn for the worse and was giving up, although I wasn't actually fainting, it felt like I would collapse if I tried to move. There was nothing for it other than to dial 999.

So instead of waking the girls and Oli to get them up to get ready for the wedding, Rob had to wake them up to tell them there was ambulance on the way for me. It was horrendously distressing for them all at this time, I was still lying as still as I could, so I wouldn't pass out and lose consciousness and my heart was pounding through the roof. Rob and Sarah were very upset. Someone needed to be ready at the door to greet the ambulance and get all my medication and hospital bag ready - Rob and Rose went off to do this to keep busy. Once done they were back at my bedside.

Sarah and Oli stayed by my bedside holding my hands, I remember feeling so bad and poorly, I had to ask them to stop holding me and just stay by me. My thoughts at this time were that I was going to be lucky to get through this, if at all; that the transplant couldn't come fast enough and that it hadn't been fast enough and that was the end of all that; that I just needed the ambulance to come now to take the stress of my family, because they all felt so helpless and couldn't do anything for me and neither could I; that I was going to die and it was my sister's wedding day and this should not really be happening. I had often pondered what it may be like when the time came: would my heart just give up randomly and out of the blue and quickly and that would be the end of it or would it fail slowly and I would become sicker and sicker. Well that question seemed answered now, it was giving up quickly, randomly and out of the blue. I was just desperate for the ambulance to come, which seemed at the time to be taking an age. I lay as still as I could and although my heart was going fast, it had stopped pounding now I wasn't trying to move.

The ambulance arrived very promptly, although in the circumstances, every waiting minute felt like an hour. They decided to get me onto the stretcher without my having to move, so they lifted me in the sheet from the bed. I remember thinking I would have to make sure this sheet got back to the cottage somehow, but if I died the owners probably would not mind in the circumstances. It is funny the sort of things that go through your mind during these types of incident.

My heart seemed calmer now, although I still hadn't moved. Rob came in the ambulance with me and had to leave the girls and Oli waiting for news. My ECG showed good heart rhythm, but it was fast, well that was encouraging. I immediately felt safer being with the paramedics, my thought was, they could try and resuscitate me, if it comes to that and although I had tried to remain very calm through what was happening, I was now relieved of the stress.

When they took me outside to get me in the ambulance, the rain was still thrashing down in a cold, wild wind. The dark, dismal weather seemed a good reflection of what was happening to us. I arrived at the local A&E around about seven in the morning and it looked as though it had been a hectic Saturday night, I remember the strong wafts of  stagnant alcohol, the blur of fluorescent yellow police jackets and sounds of walkie talkies. Was I in a hospital or had they got mixed up and brought me into a police station or was I just totally out of it? Wherever I was, there were more police in the corridor than medical staff. Welcome to the A&E of a large busy town on a weekend!

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