Friday, 16 March 2012

Home Again

I gingerly went to bed that night, wary of how I may wake up in the morning. The dizziness was still bothering me, especially laying flat, so I went off to sleep, completely and utterly exhausted, following my second day in hospital. I could still hear that thrashing rain and wind outside. I had to sleep nearly sitting up or the dizziness is too much, even with my eyes shut.

While I slept, Rob and Rose watched a programme on organ transplants, in it a person goes to the brink of death and eventually gets a heart transplant in his last hours, it brings it home to them, the realities of what may happen. It is strange, there seems to be a couple of TV documentaries about transplant at the moment and we had only watched a programme the week earlier, the story about a brave donor and the five lives she had saved. It was a very moving programme.

I can't think of anything better you can give to someone than the gift of life. It must feel marvellous to be a transplant surgeon and part of a transplant team to be able to be that bridge between donor and recipient, supporting a donors wishes to give new life to someone who has no hope left. I am only sorry these programmes were screened at ten thirty at night and not at peak viewing time, but hopefully they may have encouraged donors to register, even possibly my future unsuspecting donor.

I had a good nights sleep and I could still move without my heart racing, although I still had dizziness, we decide to make an early start home. I felt a little apprehensive about making the journey, but I really wanted to get back to my own bed and the safety and comfort of being in my own home. We phoned the transplant team to inform them of our movements and when we expected to be home.

It was still throwing it down and blowing a gale outside and packing was a bit of a muddle and confusion, there was stuff from my hospital bags and stuff from the other bags and we ended up just throwing everything into whatever case it would fit in, to sort out later. Rob's wedding suite, my wedding suite and hat and coat, our flowers, our evening ball gear, new shoes just got wrapped back in their bags. Unused, never needed, deprived of their intended use. Worst of all Rob had to brave the weather yet again to get the riot of things we had with us, back in the car. He was sopping wet through again and I was more than helpless, too weak, dizzy and exhausted to do anything.

We made the journey home in one piece and he had to go through the rigmarole again at the other end. He was soaking wet and cold again. Bags were duly sorted and the transplant hospital bag repacked and restocked and put away.

We sat down resting and all we could do is just look at each other, we were speechless and totally numb. For us this had felt the hardest experience of the lot. We really had thought on that wedding morning that things had turned for the worse and our hopes of making it to transplant were drifting rapidly away, floating out of our reach. We had really believed  when we dialled 999 that my heart was in terrible distress and possibly final distress; we had been totally desolate.

Now we felt completely devastated, emotionally drained and physically exhausted. The fact that everyone else had been at a wedding having a wonderful time, while we had endured one nightmare after another was difficult to bear. It just felt like such a stark contrast. What with the trauma of the wedding morning and then the trauma of a being terrorised by a drug addict, feeling ill in the first place anyway despite all this, and now feeling even worse than ever with this distressing dizziness, we both suddenly hit rock bottom, together with one big loud thump.

This was compounded by all the roller coaster of events that had happened to us already during the last twelve months and more and further bound by the fact we had been looking forward to this event for such a long time. But for us, we never got there, in one single tortuous moment we had missed the lot, but for everyone else the party carried on, not only on the day, but the whole weekend. The hardest bit to bear was that after the night before the wedding, we didn't see anyone again, we were only fifteen minutes away from the festivities for the whole weekend, but too far away. We had blinked, missed it and felt nothing but isolated.

Devastated and desolate are a poor excuse for words to describe how we felt at this moment. Going through events like we have had to manage over the last year or two is difficult, stressful and traumatising and sometimes life often feels like it is happening in slow motion, while the rest of the world wakes up every day and just carries on as normal. All you want to be is normal again, but you know it is not going to happen. I don't think you can ever get used to this, it just begins to live alongside you and becomes part and parcel of your life. How your life is now, how your life will now always be.

When you tumble to rock bottom, the only way is back up again. We have each other still; we have our gorgeous girls still; we have some lovely friends still; we have Papworth Hospital to support us still; we have plans still; we have hopes and dreams still; I am alive still. So off we go again on the climb back up.

Blessings now counted and first things first, Papworth Hospital wanted to admit me back in to check out what had happened and check me over. Help and support is always on hand from them when you need it.  

Better still, the sun has begun to shine outside again. The miserable rain and wind has died down and things feel brighter.        

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