On the whole, it’s safe to say I don’t like hospitals. So in October 2000 when I found out that I had to go for minor keyhole surgery I was terrified, even though they assured me it would be a piece of cake and would be over before I knew it.
I didn’t think too much as I signed the consent forms ….after all how wrong could it go? Well, I guess not everything goes according to plan.
I try not to dwell on the fact that the Doctors couldn’t see just how ill I had become and leave me for three days and still do nothing about it. I try not to remember hearing the surgeon say “we cannot transport her to another hospital – she won’t survive the ambulance trip”, I don’t think about waking up with a nasal tube going into a bag and drains from my abdomen taking away excess blood from my body, or the excruciating pain trying to move in bed, let alone sit up. I have vivid recollections of an anaphylactic reaction to some drugs and being stabbed with adrenalin. I have horrible dreams of having blood taken every 30 minutes and when the usual veins collapsed they would try ankles, wrists…. anywhere really that might squeeze out a little blood. I sometimes have nightmares of trying to walk with two nurses besides me carrying all the tubing. It was pretty grim.
I spent over a week in the high dependency unit… my hair went grey overnight through shock. My weight plummeted and I had 36 staples in a great long scar down my abdomen. I had stopped breathing three times during surgery and I came to learn later had to be brought back from the brink three times.
I left hospital after three weeks and began the slow process of recovery. It was arduous and long, involved several months off work and it also involved some healing in my mind. Acceptance of the fact that I had literally become a statistic. I was the 1 in 1000 that had gone wrong. I was that person. But why shouldn’t it have been me? Was I really so special to not have been that person?
Has it left any hang ups? Yes …. I needed keyhole surgery last year and was terrified. But I got through it. I know I could do the same again if I had to. I came through it ok.
Would I change what happened to me? Not for the world! The day I left hospital was the day I really saw how blue sky is and how green trees are for the first time. The traumatic experience opened my eyes to this beautiful, fragile thing called life that I am so privileged to have. So no I wouldn’t change that…. and every day when I see this great big scar it’s a reminder of just how lucky I am to be here.