Sunday, September 22, 2013

Memories of ICU

I said my last post that I would share some of the things that I went through during my recovering from the birth of my daughter. So here goes. For me, the last things I can remember where in the operating theatre. Asking the date so I would know when Marcella was born, next was being prep quickly for the operation to get her out. I had people putting needles and IV's in both arms, having another doctor do a speculum to see what they could see, being asked heaps of questions like when was the last time I eat. While being asked these questions one the of the assistants prepping me started waxing down stairs. This was a huge surprise. There was no, I'm going to do this, just rip, totally unexpected. With other c-sections I had been numb before they did that, so didn't even know that they had done it. This time because they where putting me under, which is less safe for the baby they did all the prep work and left putting me under until the very last minute. While all this was going on I was having contractions and blood was gushing out. I then remember the Anaesthetist telling me that there would be someone putting pressure on my throat so that no food would come up and choke me, and that it may feel like I'm being suffocated by the mask as I go under, and it did. I remember taking in as big and as deep of breaths as I could to get that feeling over with quickly. I only remember having to take 3 big, deep breaths.

The next thing I knew I was slowly waking up with wires, iv's, tubes, and bruises everywhere. I was still on life support. I remember having very little strength at all and being in a world of pain. The breathing tube was down my throat, and there was a soft board in my mouth. It was rigged up so that if I tried to pull the tube out I would start to gag, which alerted the nurse to what I was up to. All I wanted to do was get that tube out of my mouth. Then I had what I thought was a strong need to go to the toilet and poo. I just felt so panicked because I needed to go to the toilet but I could get my message out. Inside I was screaming for help, I need to go to the toilet. I think it took a while before anyone could understand me. When they finally did someone explained to me "no, it's ok, you don't need to go to the toilet. You have bag collecting you poo. That's what your feeling". Oh finally I could breath a sign of relief I wasn't going to poop myself. I didn't have a clue how I would go to the toilet in that state anyway. I didn't even have enough strength to touch my face. I would take all my strength to get my hand anywhere near my face to get the breathing tube out.

I was be in and out of consciousness. Every time I woke I would see a nurse sitting at the end of my bed writing notes. I don't have a clue about what on. After what seemed like several hours the doctors finally came and gave to order to get my breathing tube out. Oh gosh that was a relief I was so happy and scared about what it would feel like getting it out. When it did come out I vomited every where. I was covered in vomit. I had a feeding tube down my nose which they took out the next day.

Shortly after I had my breathing tube taken out the men arrive to help the nurse clean me up. The men are the strong arms of the ICU. They would come every two hours to roll me. My gosh the names I would call them inside my head. It was so painful. They would roll me on my side, and I would spend the next two hours rolling myself back onto my back, and much less painful position, and just when I finally go more comfortable, they would come back and roll me to the other side. I didn't like seeing them at all. At that time was on a steady follow of Morphine.

The next day, because I was awake the NICU were going to bring Marcella down to see me and try to get feeding going. So ICU moved me to a private room. I remember the room so well. On the left side of me was a wall of windows. I was so tired and weak. Every time I feel asleep I would have nightmares, and I would have to use all my might to jolt myself out of the nightmare and wake up. Only to drift back into sleep and have it happen all over again. Every time I closed my eyes it felt like someone was standing next to me, and not a friend. I would open my eyes and check, and there was no one there. One dream I keep having over and over again was, me lying in the bed, and the window next to my bed would suddenly turn into a roller door (like a garage door). Then I would get out of bed and walk out the door. I was worried that I would get lost and didn't want to walk out the door but I couldn't stop myself from doing it. Outside it was dark and night time, I couldn't see anything other than a few feet in front of me, there was just grass. Like being in the country, it was quiet and dark, no lights other than one near the door, like a sensor light. Then directly outside the room was a hill. At the top of the hill was an aboriginal man playing the didgeridoo. At the bottom of the hill was an orchid. Then from behind me my Dad (who has passed away) would appear and say he planted that Orchard. I got the feeling it was his favourite plant. It was at about this point in the dream/nightmare that I would wake up. I call it a nightmare because I always felt panicked and scared during and after it. Now looking back I wonder if it's a bit of memory from my time on life support. The idea of leaving this room, not being able to stop it, and being really worried I wouldn't be able to get back. I hadn't been told what happen at this point.

When they moved me to this room, they gave me a morphine pump to help with the pain. However I was so weak for all the blood, and operations I wasn't strong enough to press the button to give myself a dose. They had it set up so I could have a dose every 5 mins. But I could only have a dose when someone walked into my room. It took another day til I was strong enough to get that darn button down. After the first night in that room my poop pipe keep having explosions. It was very embarrassing and smelly. So the Nurse decided we should just take it out. So that was one less thing inside/attached to my body. However it took a little while for me to regain control over my bowels, and trust what was going to come out my butt. In the process of doing so I had a few accidents. The first nurse I had was so lovely about it all. So just got on with cleaning it up and keep reassure me that it was ok and not to worry. However the next nurse I had was not so happy about the situation and while cleaning up the mess was quiet ruff with my down stairs area and rubbed so hard that she made me very sore and bleed. It was another pain to add to the all ready painful experience. Not only was it painful, it was very degrading. It's already a really horrible position to be in. To go from an fairly able person ( on bed rest) to not being able to toilet yourself is an awful experience in it self, with out feeling even more degraded. Another unusual experience was having someone brush my teeth for me. That was weird and no something I would like to repeat at all. Also being bathed in a bed, having my hair washed in bed with shower cap type thing, and eventually having someone shower me.

It finally came time for me to start physiotherapy and start the process of sitting up, standing, and then trying to walk again. Oh gosh another world of pain. Not only the physical pain but also the technical pain of managing all my accessories, I had an iv in each arm, my catheter bag, two blood drainage bags, and a stoma bag collecting Lymphatic fluid from the open incision on my groin. My physio was very nice, and spoke in a gentle reassuring voice, which helped the process.

Marcella was brought down to me around every 4 hours during the day, so we could try and feed, but being early she didn't stay awake for long, and I didn't have much strength to hold her for long. We started expressing, the lactation consultant had expressed colostrum and gave it to her will I was still on life support, and expressed me a few other times, they did however have to through the milk away because of the drugs that they had me on.

After 5 days on life support, and 3 days in a private room, I was released from ICU and moved to maternity ward where I could be closer to my baby. I stayed there for another three weeks. The Staff in ICU were on the most part very lovely, caring and supportive. Out of all the Nurses and attendants I had during my time there, there was only that one that it more difficult. I thank them very much for all their time, and care in what was a very hard time.

No comments:

Post a Comment