The second trip to the ICU…

Second time in ICU, I had my own room. That was quite nice.

The first night, when I had just come out of anaesthetic, I was propped up really high in the middle of the room in this very uncomfortably set up bed, connected to a hell of a lot of monitoring devices I didn’t remember having the last time (though I didn’t remember a lot), I was facing the door with a window out into the bright corridor, which in my mind was a big tv with white noise on it. I couldn’t work out what the purpose of it was. It felt a little 1984. There was a nurse there with me all night. I was frustrated she wasn’t very helpful (though the nurse who took over for her break was lovely).

This time around I was still very tired but I was mostly able to stay awake when people were talking to me. The physio team came to visit and we started again from the beginning – first day, get out of bed and sit in chair.

More complaining about my catheter, more problems with my trachy, more frantic writing in notepads and frustration with not being able to speak.

My veins started to burn badly whenever anything went into them. Standard. I had a push-for-pain button dispensing morphine which they kept telling me to use more, and it took me a while to realise why I kept having this terrible pain in my wrist, then I realised it happened whenever I pressed my pain button. So I stopped again.

Then they needed to give me some magnesium and it was agonising in my veins. I couldn’t stand it. They brought in the pain doctors, and they came up with a brilliant plan – local anaesthetic in the vein first, then the magnesium. It sounded amazing. They left a bit more for later, as I had to have something else too. When later on turned up, they tried without the anaesthetic and IT HURT. My nurse went to talk to the pain team again so they could administer the local, and they said no, they can’t do it more than once. I was very confused since it was the same person who said both different things. Eventually we pulled him up and he agreed to administer it once more time and off we went.

So that was all very weird. Good twin, evil twin?

Enter my awesome night nurse Victoria. At this point, I was in a cabin like at school camp. Outside was not the corridor of the hospital, it was a covered outdoor walkway. I was in a row of cabins and there was another row of cabins running perpendicular to ours. They were all dark brown. I’m trying to think where in my memory this came from. I’m thinking maybe Galston Gorge… Not that it means anything to anyone, but it’s nice to challenge my brain.

I think Victoria was like a camp leader or something in this game. We chatted quite a bit (voice/pen style). I mentioned that I had been taking sleeping tablets and wanted some before bed. She looked on my file I think and there weren’t any listed. So she called her friend the doctor. James was awesome too. Being the control freak I am, I like to know all the meds I’m on. So firstly he jumped on the computer and wrote down for me all of my drugs and what they were for. Then he prescribed me some sleeping tablets.

I also mentioned the pain thing, and he said he knew all about that and had actually been a part of the discussions. He said he understood Louis’s (the local anaesthetic guy) reasoning for not giving any more. While I still didn’t understand it at all, having it confirmed by this lovely lad was kind of reassuring somehow.

James was another camp leader by the way.

Victoria got me my meds and I slept. I woke up at 3am and she asked me if I wanted her to give me a clean. I was tired and out of it and didn’t really understand and wanted to sleep so I said no and went back to sleep.

I woke up a while later feeling horrible and realising everything was covered in blood. I rolled over and said ‘would you mind that clean now?’ I realised that it wasn’t actually Victoria but a girl who had taken over from her on her break. So she agreed, and started by trying to break off the scab on my lip, presumably thinking it was dry blood or something. I shouted at her on paper to be careful and she decided we would wait until Victoria returned. When Victoria returned she knew exactly what to do and got to work. They also changed my sheets while I was still in the bed! Magic. The break girl clearly wasn’t enjoying being there and she was being really rough and rushing and pulling me around a lot and hurting me. Victoria told her that if she needed to be somewhere else she was fine to finish up on her own and break girl left.

She changed my gown and cleaned me up and I felt a lot better.

Enter the start of my nose and mouth bleeding nonstop. And of course I couldn’t close my mouth because of the swelling so I was constantly dribbling blood.

The next day my surgical team came in and we talked about the cannula pain. In my mind this conversation happened in a board room, and my doctors were like a panel. They decided they should be able to switch everything to be given through the NG tube (feeding tube) and hopefully eventually stop using my cannulas. This was absolutely music to my ears. Also, it appeared I would be moving from ICU into the ward that day, which felt like progress, though the constant bleeding was really getting me down.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrew Taylor says:

    It’s really amazing you can remember all these details after what you’ve been through, Jen.

    So proud of my amazing daughter. The last three weeks have been the toughest my life has ever known.
    Onwards and upwards from here. Let’s all hope the worst is now behind you.

    Love you so.


    1. Jen Eve says:

      Some things stick out in your memory I guess! And my notes help too. Well, my correspondence I suppose.

      It’s been really hard. But I guess we’re getting through it. So glad you’re here!


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