I am as weak as a kitten so this blog will be short. Anna has been helping me to piece together the missing days when I was in intensive care. It looks as if my immunity suffered a spectacular crash after chemo. I think I had pneumonia followed by chicken pox which affected my brain and liver. Judging by my orange skin, my kidney function was also affected although this is now improving.
Undoubtedly, the drugs then administered kept me alive but the nightmares began literally and metaphorically. I thought for a while that only I knew about the filthy conditions, the appalling food and the quality of nursing care. There were exceptions particularly in intensive care but later I was reduced to a haunted shell. My family gradually became aware of the conditions but were torn between the importance of the clinical care and the degradation which was occurring. My good friend, our lay reader, also observed what was going on and one of the people she spoke to was Rev. W.
When I was strong enough to insist on discharging myself, I met opposition. Did I know my own mind? Did I know what was wrong with me? Had I thought about the effects on my family? I was bombarded with NHS jargon – palliative care, offers of nutritional advice – always for tomorrow never assistance for today. I insisted that Raymond should be telephoned to take me home. This put him in an impossible position as he knew I still needed acute clinical care but then everything all came together and his horror of what I was going through meant he came for me. At first I was told security would prevent my leaving and Raymond was not allowed to bring in my clothes.
Then we had to talk to the doctors to show that I was adamant. I don’t think I have ever been so quietly analytical and obdurate in my life. There were no arguments which could not be countered.
Raymond found a wheelchair as I watched a very confident cockroach cross the floor near to ward reception. Once I was dressed and in the wheelchair I have to say I have never moved more quickly along hospital corridors. En route we met Rev. W who had been visiting another parishioner and was on his way to see me. Ray didn’t break his stride but I explained what we were doing and I was amazed to see a clear understanding in Rev. W’s face. He went ahead and found the lift for us. Ray lifted me into the Jeep and we drove home. All the streets were wider than I remembered and the houses and shops seemed to be sporting lovely colours after the dark world I had been inhabiting