“Hello young lady, well don’t you look better than you did the other night!”
“I don’t really remember the other night. Was I that unwell?”
“You don’t want to know”
“Well you were there, you saw her.” (To my fellow third wheel) “You were very very poorly. Very poorly. Honestly you look so, so much better.”
“I’ve spent the last few hours playing cards so…”
“Making up for lost time?”
“I like playing cards I guess”
“Honestly, you look a hundred times better”
And the banter begins… (My bed is right in front of the nurses station and doctors offices).
To put this conversation into perspective, a couple of hours earlier I was told I am too unwell to move to a ward and too unstable to transfer to London. And this lovely older nurse who apparently was there when I arrived in the ICU unconscious and out of it just sat there in awe at how well I look in comparison to the last time she saw me. That alarmed me rather a lot.
I was seen earlier by the nicest consultant ever, who was on call on the night I came in and actually understood the complexity of my case. She rewrote the protocols for typical treatment in order to prevent me deteriorating as far as I did earlier today and yesterday. She was absolutely amazing. She listened to everything, she understood everything, she’d worked with one of the consultants I had dealt with before… I was going to be moved to a ward which made me so excited, but then I deteriorated and they said I had to stay in the ICU and I freaked out a little (ok I nearly cried but my fellow third wheel was there again). If I’m still here on Monday, which this consultant pretty much thinks I will be, then they are going to try and stabilise me long enough to potentially transfer me to London. I don’t know why, but suddenly I was terrified. The terror kicked in and I felt myself on the edge of a freak out and… The presence of my fellow third wheel completely calmed me. He has been great.
My fellow third wheel turned up today with multiple changes of clothes in his bag so that if I got worse he could just sleep in the hospital. The lovebirds as always left after about twenty minutes, but I felt bad even for that. My fellow third wheel is so committed to staying with me that he has started referring to us as “we.”
“We saw a lovely consultant earlier.”
“If we get moved to London.” He’s staying with me pretty much no matter what. I’ve no idea what I did to deserve such an amazing and loyal friend. We sat for hours playing cards.
Sixth form friend almost lost his job asking his boss to let him miss his shift so he can stay in Norfolk. The lovebirds are only here for half an hour or so a day which is so lovely but I feel so guilty. I even messaged his mum to persuade her to talk him out of it, and she sent me messages that made me feel all the feels.
A couple of hours into the shift, awesome banter nurse took over my care because she’s amazing. And then this happened. She just got it.
“Do you sleep well?”
“Well that depends…”
“On how freaked out I am at being in a hospital…” I pause awkwardly
“Your PTSD. I know, I was in the army for…” And she tells me about the horrific time she had. She completely understands it. I can’t explain it properly, the connection we made. The way we discussed the triggers and how relieved I was to finally speak to someone whose response was,
“I’ve suffered with it myself, I know exactly what you’re going through.” And they actually did.
“People think you just remember but you don’t, you relive it all over again and you react in exactly the same way.” I say.
“Yep, yep…” She nods her head as she hooks up my IV, following emergency protocol yet again because my body is a poop.
“And it’s the tiny things like smells and sounds…”
She asks what can make it better, understands how much her attitude will influence my emotional state.
“How did you sleep last night?”
I admit that in several occasions (once ever hour or so) during the night, I woke up drenched in sweat and shaking. She nods. She gets it. She asks if I want something to help me sleep. I say no thanks and she says I can have something written up in case I need it just to take the edge off. She says if I need her she will be right there. I’m not explaining it right because when I read back through this her awesomeness doesn’t astound me. She’s abrupt and hilarious and you can tell she’s ex-army. I love her. Finally someone understands it.
She comes back a while later to take blood again (as occurs hourly) and we talk about uni and she seems pretty impressed that I’m managing that. And then we talk about my health and she seems to be pretty blown away at how on earth I am still alive.
“You are one very lucky girl”
We talk about previous hospital experiences vaguely
“You have really been through it haven’t you? And you’ve dealt with it remarkably well”
“No I haven’t, I’m a mess.” It’s left me an emotional wreck with PTSD.
The banter resumes. There is even banter about how messed up I am, except she protests about my use of the word defective and tells me I am blameless. She gets visibly annoyed at the words and experiences that have made me believe otherwise. She tells me I am very lucky to be alive. I can talk to her about everything and anything. She is beyond the level of uni dad. She’s amazing. My favourite nurse ever. She genuinely is just… Her existence is the best medicine I have ever encountered.
My fellow third wheel and I hug the air every time she leaves the cubicle. Even he has made several comments of “You are going to have the best time.” I’ve asked my fellow third wheel to buy me a thank you card to give to her (and another general for everyone else here). She’s. Seriously…
I mean honestly, you can’t possibly understand how amazing this nurse is. Medical staff terrify me and I cannot even explain how… Momentous this is.
In the middle of this amazing mess I also felt bad that everyone got in a flap because one of my IVs just ran out and they couldn’t find any more of it on the entire ICU (yes, my body has been this greedy). Eventually awesome nurse returned with enough to fuel an army (or, as she pointed out, me for one night).
As she took blood again she shook her head and said “You are just brill.” In a tone of sort of disbelief. The feeling is mutual.
Anyway, they are letting my fellow third wheel stay here as long as he likes, and we feel like playing cards, so bye!