“Why isn’t she breathing?” Dani asked me.
It was a question that perhaps I would have come up with an answer for, had I not been 2 and a half days without sleep and been brain injured, fighting for my life and in a coma only 7 months before.
“Maybe she’s sleeping” I said stupidly. Then I did something I never do, I broke down with exhaustion. I turned my head to hide the tears rolling down my face from Dani, who was talking nonsense through the myriad of drugs flowing through her little system.
Then I heard an all too familiar and monotonous sound:
“Stand clear of the patient…BEEEP….NO RYTHM DETECTED.”
I’d been taught how to use this machine at university, it was only needed for when a baby/child is not breathing and they need resuscitating.
Then, the cool and collected Mikey who has worked for everything and survived lots of difficult challenges went into a meltdown
I had heard of a nervous breakdown, but never before thought it could possibly happen to me. I’m too collected and confident. Well, I was before I had a knock to the noggin! Turns out now I’m @!£$%$ useless. Weak.
I burst out of the operating theatre and found my parents in the waiting room.
“Alright” Said mum
I threw the chairs into the wall. I smashed the bedside table and knocked it over, punching the big wooden door aggressively. I was shouting and crying hysterically. The trauma from the accident..and now this. First I’m ventilated and have a machine breathing for me and now my newly born daughter is too. Jolly good year this is turing out to be.
I had left Dani lying on the operating table looking yellow skinned, she would have given Marge a run for her money. That was before I saw her insides laying out on the surgeons table. Looked like spag bol with too much tomato sauce.
“Listen,” I said to the consultant afterwards “I’m a student nurse, at least I used to be, so don’t lie to me. Don’t BS me. If she’s going to die please just tell me, because you would do more harm by sugar coating things and getting my hopes up.”
Truth is I didn’t even care about the baby at this point. I thought Dani was going to die too.
The majority of maternal death causes are from infection, I knew this useful bit of information. None of my parents or in-laws realised the severity of the fact Dani has an infection, which could be life threatening. Being a nurse in these cases is not always a good thing. Ignorance is bliss….
“Dani has Sepsis, the baby too. Baby might die, she might not, it’s too early to say. Do you have a name for her yet”
“Sod the baby how is Dani? I’m not leaving her until she walks out of here with me.”
And I didn’t from that point on. The staff put up a bed next to hers in the high dependency unti, I wasn’t going to leave her. I knew her life was in danger just as much as the babys was.
I was becoming increasingly angry with the nurses asking for me to go and see her.
NOT WITHOUT DANI, WE SEE HER TOGETHER
Why oh why would I go and see my daughter and “bond” with her when she might die at any minute?
“!@$@!£% outrageous” I thought.
You must be thrilled!
It must have been a magical moment
For months I was traumatised. In conjunction with the birth, my brain injury meant my fatigue exacerbated everything! My moods, my exhaustion, my inability to cope with the smallest of tasks, the panic… I was anxious non stop and didn’t sleep for a year. I was overweight and run down. My face was covered in grease and spots constantly. Dani or Reese would cough, or sneeze and I would panic. The complete opposite of the person I was before or I am today. I was a wreck.
People didn’t understand. This was the time I needed help most. but because people didn’t understand, the help was not there. I don’t blame anyone for this. If anything, I thank them because now I have what it takes to live through anything coping on my own, working things out for myself and dealing with trauma.
If remembering Mexico wasn’t enough, this would keep my brain nicely screwed for a few more years
This all happened on the 19th December. Reese was discharged with Dani on the 23rd. After a sleepless night for both Dani, Reese and I and some intense anxiety when we came home, I was back in hospital with her on christmas eve. Turns out everything was fine, her lungs hadn’t collapsed like when she was born (always a bonus).
I’m not sure why I’m writing this now, for some reason it has been on my mind today. Writing it down has helped a bit, even if I am being a bit of a scrooge as it is christmas eve! Mwahahaha
It took me a while to recover from this. The crash had traumatised me enough (yes, seeing the world through brain injured eyes while your brain is swollen and bleeding is not pleasant. I had dementia for a whole month, which was fun too) so this just finished me off I think. I think the moral that I have taken from this experience is this;
If someone is snappy, on edge, jumpy, spends all their time looking at the floor, not as sociable as they usually are, not being able to deal with small things – rather than just jumping to the conclusion (which we as humans are guilty of) that the there is something wrong with the person and they are just a … whatever. Don’t avoid them, don’t ostracise them.. don’t be IGNORANT
It may be they are going through some form of stress disorder. I would have given anything for some understanding during those months. I learned more about human beings in this year then I have in my whole life.
Years of therapy and I have finally left the madness behind. Well, some of it is still here I reckon.. But I’ve grown to like it
Instead, when I told my family I had destroyed my laptop in the fear the cops might find out where I am and arrest me for something I didn’t do, they were as puzzled as you could wish to be.
I dug myself out of this hole, and I don’t know how, but I’ll always remember what it was like. Maybe it’s the time of year, but it makes me all the more thankful for today and what I have.
Does this look like a child that had a collapsed lung and was severely unwell?
…..no. Because she knows how to Hustle Hard like her Daddy, who loves her very much! Merry crimbo!