Being admitted to hospital is something I’ve always dreaded, and probably an event that not many people find enjoyable. You only go there if you really have to since it’s associated with something tragic.
My late aunt, more accurately my mum’s late aunt Henny, called the hospital the ‘Angel Factory‘.
It was where people go and turn into angels – they rarely come home once they get admitted. Obviously, not everyone turns into angels as many do get discharged.
A few close family members did go to the hospital and did turn into angels while there. Aunt Henny, my grandmother (dad’s side) and my beloved dad. So, the hospital is perhaps the Angel Factory. When I was admitted to Cardio ICU it certainly hit me straight in the face like an oncoming freight train.
Would I turn into an angel?
The fear grips you hard, but through these dark moments I tried to stay positive and could not let me kids see that I was scared. My mum taught me to put on a brave face for dire moments, and so I did. It made me look like the Phantom of the Opera, where one half of my face was visibly worried and the other side was brave.
Neither side of the face helped while I was struggling mentally to stay afloat.
I was admitted to Cardio ICU, which in itself is freaky. It is where you stay when medically unstable, where you need constant supervision to ensure your body recovers; basically to make sure you do not cross over.
I was probably the youngest on the ICU by two decades. The ward was filled with beeping machines, tubes, more machines and grey people. I was now one of the grey looking people.
The Grey People are people who are pale from their heart problems, filled with worry, fear and lying alone trying to comprehend what happened … and what is going to happen.
My room was as big as the master bedroom in my house. I had a TV, phone, toilet and room service. It had a wonderful view with Catskills Mountains in the distance. Unfortunately, the large quantity of medical equipment made it less attractive. As such, a can only give it a 4-star rating.
Nurses were running around the floor, always with a beautiful smile on their faces, and always busy with charts … but never too busy to fill patients with comfort and calmness.
I felt as if I was getting the most attention. Probably because I was the youngest on the ward by two decades, and the nurses enjoyed a young man in their ward. Or at least that is my ego boost here 🙂
Nurses came into my room every few hours, and sometimes several nurses came at the same time. They were always smiling, and most took some time to chat. Just a few minutes of chatting provided me with a sense of normality and for a few minutes, it felt as if I was not in the ICU.
Then the angry Rosie O’Donnell came in to draw blood. That was normally around 5am, just as I was slowly waking up from a panic-fuelled dream. She sternly said, “I need your blood!” as if she was some sort of bloodsucking vampire. She poked me with her Frankenstein needle and sucked a few vials of blood. Then she left. Not even a goodbye or thank you. It was a failed relationship from the getgo. All take no give 🙂
I never really liked Rosie!
The days in ICU were long. 95% of the time I was bound to my alien bed. Stood up only to do #1 and when to greet my family as they came to visit.
The bed itself was strange. It was slowly massaging my body to make sure my muscles and blood circulation was not affected by being bedridden. Suddenly a slight move in the mattress shifted me and another area deflated. It was not as awkward as sleeping on a waterbed or a strangely wonderful massage treatment 24/7.
When I was finally discharged I felt like hugging every nurse for keeping me alive. It was an emotional moment. I had a slight feeling of pride. I made it through phase one of my recovery. As I said goodbye to the wonderful team, I also shared my sincere intention of not returning. It was nothing personal, but I was determined to win this battle and never to come back to Cardio ICU. They smiled back, waved goodbye and went back to caring for other patients.
Goodbye ICU! It was great but not a sustainable relationship.
Ready to take on my next challenges head-on. Eager to beat this diagnosis and will do what it takes to be a Heart Warrior.
[…] I’ve grown paranoid since my heart incident in October 2018. I can’t really blame myself and still think I have developed some sort of PTSD from my experience. Perhaps not to the levels that our dear and brave veterans experience, but still wake up at times in panic and still have flashbacks to my days in ICU. […]