I am pretty tired but I just wanted to write a proper update and more importantly say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has sent messages of support to me and my family, we have all been overwhelmed by the hundreds that have been pouring in. It is all a tad surreal, I can’t quite believe that this time last week I was in ICU, well, fighting for my life really. But you can't kick a small blonde-and-pink thing down for long, and I am doing miles better than anyone (myself included) could have predicted.
I woke up Wednesday morning feeling a tad sore and quite tired but put this down to the Salsa lesson which I may or may not have attended the night previous (which incidentally was tremendous fun and I highly recommend it). Had a lovely day lounging around in the garden with my sister and mum, but at about 10pm that evening the chest pain was growing worse and I just knew something wasn’t quite right. I rang the brompton who said considering my past experiences with pneumothoraxes (not to mention the fact I cant seem to do anything in a sensible or restrained manner) I needed to get to my local A&E to get Xrayed. On beginning to get dressed the pain accumulated rapidly so I phoned an ambulance, leaving a man to choose my outfit and pack my bag, which sadly resulted in me a) turning up in a little miss naughty PJ top and white floaty skirt, and b) the bag containing a couple of skimpy tops, one which my sister had worn clubbing a month or two previous. Hmm!
The X-ray confirmed that it was a pneumothorax, but a minor one, approximately 15% collapse. I was taken up to the ward about 2am and was reviewed the next morning. Due to glorious red tape, my pending transfer to the Brompton was in jeaopardy as I was…too well. They wouldnt take me by Ambulance unless I was “critical” (this should have been my warning, as it was said within earshot of my lungs) so I was very cross and planning on escaping via car to the Brompton until a nurse there strongly advised me not to, which I graciously consented to and sat there with a pouty face like a spoilt 5 year old at not getting my own way. At this point dinner was served, not quite sure what it was attempting to be, but it clearly failed, so I sent my mum off in search of edible food as my cousin was with me. My lung chose this 5 minutes my mum had left the room to finally stick two fingers up at the “non critical” status and collapse in a beautifully spectacular fashion, with both a full pneumothorax (all the air leaked out forcing the lung right down) and also a haemothorax (huge scary bleeding from mouth and chest cavity) ensuring that absolutely no one could say this didn’t qualify for blue light treatment. My poor mum got back to find me fading fast as my sats dropped to 60% and the docs cutting off my clothes (which I still haven’t forgiven them for as I loved that white skirt). I don’t really remember much except realizing that I was able to breathe again and just feeling the most incredible gratitude and relief that I was still here.
I was transferred to the brompton that evening, and settled down in the room opposite the nurses’ station, my mum staying with me again as I was still very unstable. Thinking that 2 collapses in 24 hours was quite enough drama I was very unaware that the doctor was actually quite concerned that something wasn’t quite right, and then sure enough at 5am, my lung went again, this time with a tension pneumothorax despite there already being one operative chest drain in place. They fought hard to get another drain in but by this time my CO2 levels were rising dangerously high. There is a machine which can help rebalance the CO2 levels called a bi-pap but they couldn’t use this on me as my lung was down, so essentially there was nothing more they could do. I am thankfully very unaware of most of the goings on, it is my poor family who had to endure being phoned in the early hours of the morning and told to get there asap. I wont try to put into words the respect and awe I have for my amazing family as I can’t. We were told the next 24 hours were critical and I was taken down to ICU. I think the high CO2 levels were acting as a kind of anesthetic as I was genuinely calm and felt very peaceful, and couldn’t quite believe what I was being told, expect for the odd symptom such as being unable to feel my arms and legs which showed my body was shutting down.
I said to my family “it’s not over till it’s over” as that is what I firmly believe, and then we set off to ICU to see what happened. 24 hours later, things were improving beyond all expectation. The team that are looking after me are amazing, they went and continue to go beyond the call of duty, and have been amazingly supportive to my family as well. The progress as you can see, kindly updated by my sisters, has been rather better than any of us could have hoped. It’s funny because when it a moment of crisis, you go into survival mode, and it’s only afterwards it has really hit me that that is rather a lot for a small person to get up to in a few days.
Sorry for the huge lengthy entry, writing it really helps me get my head round it all too, but essentially, I am now sitting up in a side room in pink PJs with pretty pink toenails and feeling very tired and sore and relieved. The next bit will probably be very slow, it is a case of taking each day as it comes and watching the lung to see when, if at all, the drain might come out. Huge abundance of love to each and every shiny star that has been cheering me on - the nurses have commented on how lucky and spoilt I am and whilst I would desperately love to disagree I know that would be lying!