Part 15 – New environment equals new challenges…
Yearning to go home
Now that I had moved to the neurology ward, I knew that I was potentially 1 to 2 steps closer to going home and I tried my best to maintain my positive mindset, despite the negative greeting I received when I first arrived at the ward.
The weather was now very sunny and warm and the ward that I was located on was so high that I could now see the most spectacular views of my home city.
I would often gaze out of the window and wonder what it would be like to feel the sun and fresh air on my skin again…it felt like a lifetime since I had experienced such a simple thing in life as fresh air and sunshine on my skin.
I have never yearned to feel the fresh air and to be outdoors so much at any point in my life as what I did now. I was starting to feel imprisoned and I desperately wanted to be set free!
I wanted to go home more than ever and started to see this as being a positive sign of my recovery as I was now much more aware of my surroundings.
Sleep deprivation worsens
My struggle to get a decent night’s sleep continued. I was still having round the clock observations taken, although they were less frequent the need for them was very much still required.
The main thing that was preventing me from sleeping was the noise on the ward and now the other patients. Plus I now had to make my own way to the bathroom which would take me a long time as I gripped onto the walls and shuffled my body across the perimeter of the corridor to make it without falling.
I distinctively remember one night when a lady was admitted to the ward and she was located in the bed next to me. Throughout the night I was constantly being woken by the words…
‘Help me, help me.’
This lady wanted me to help her to the bathroom…I could barely help myself. So I would tell her to press her buzzer so that a nurse could assist her. But she failed to do so and would constantly wake me, I would press my buzzer for the nurse to come and help her.
The nurse would then help the lady, she would go back to bed and then the saga would continue…This continued for hours into the night. I tried my best to be patient with the lady as I could tell that she was confused and that something wasn’t quite right.
Anyway, I woke from my sleep and headed to the bathroom..to be honest I don’t even know how I found the strength to get myself there because I was so exhausted.
The nurse must have seen just how exhausted and distressed I was as by the time I came out of the bathroom the nurses were wheeling the lady into a private room.
It was the best feeling ever!!! Finally, I could get some sleep!! Lol
I had a little physiotherapy when I was in critical care and now that I was on the neurological ward, the physiotherapists came to see me almost every day and the occupational therapist too.
I remember it being a real struggle for me to just stand on both feet and to walk, let alone climb the stairs and balance on one leg. I was left feeling exhausted at the end of each physiotherapy session and those are literally the tasks they had me doing…standing, walking a few steps and trying to balance for like 1 second.
The work with the occupational therapist also tired me out, we would do cognitive brain function and memory tests. Initially, my scores were very low and I couldn’t remember anything we had literally discussed like 5 minutes ago!
Each time I had a session with both the physiotherapists and occupational therapists I would literally climb back into bed and go to sleep.
Everyday tasks that my brain once knew to do automatically and effortlessly now felt like running a marathon!! I was exhausted from having to do the simplest of tasks and that scared me!
I vaguely remember attending an art therapy class in the hospital as part of my rehabilitation where we drew pictures, coloured and made cards. I found this to be both soothing and a nice form of escapism.
There were a number of patients in the class, all of which had suffered some type of brain injury. When I was in the class it was a realisation of how serious things were due to the other patients I was surrounded by, many of them had speech difficulties and short-term memory difficulties that were far worse than mine that even I noticed and I was in a bad way…so for me to notice, it must have been bad.
Let’s go to the shops…
Now back to my roomies…I remember one day when two ladies on my ward asked me if I wanted to go to the shops with them and to get a change of scenery. When I say a change of scenery I literally mean taking the lift down to the main entrance of the hospital and going in the WHSmith shop.
I really wanted to go but I couldn’t walk that far unassisted and they both weren’t in a position to be helping me. A lady did offer me her zimmer frame…lol, At least I can laugh now!
Anyway, they proceeded to head down to the shops…As I watched them leaving the ward I literally had to hold back my laughter.
Picture this, one lady with a huge bandage wrapped around her head and wearing stretched out pyjamas which she hadn’t changed for days and no bra. She had a large bust so going to the shop in her pj’s and no bra was not an option…lol, support socks on full view, slippers and her handbag flung over her shoulder.
The other patient looked pretty good with her walking stick in tow…Each time I think back to that moment it makes me giggle!! I just needed to find some humour out of the day to day monotony of hospital life to keep me going…
No strength to call her name
I remember being laid in bed one afternoon and glimpsing someone who I use to go to college with, she now works at the hospital. She walked past my ward and looked right at me but she didn’t recognise me. I guess that shows what state I was in, plus she wouldn’t have been expecting to see me there so wouldn’t have been likely to recognise me.
I called out her name with all my strength, but it was barely at the level of sound for conversation with someone sitting right next you. I didn’t even have the strength to call out her name…
I had more visitors when I moved to the neurological ward. A mixture of family and friend’s which was really nice. It was such a small ward it often felt crowded when I had a few people come and visit me and with the rest of the patients on the ward, plus there wasn’t much privacy either so it felt as though the other patients were part of your visiting time too.
There was one patient located in the bed next to me and she made a few comments that I had many people coming to visit me, I didn’t think anything of it at first until I noticed that her husband didn’t come to see her very often.
She even mentioned it herself and made excuses for him saying that they live far away, even though they lived in a nearby town which was only a 20-minute drive from the hospital.
I felt bad for her and started to ask my family to take me down to the visitors restaurant when they came to visit me, plus it gave me the privacy to have time with my family and it was good to get me away from the ward for a couple of hours and into a different environment.
It gave me a great sense of escapism and I always felt so much better for the break when I returned to the ward at the end of visiting time. This quickly became a coping strategy for me and it worked!
Don’t you think its strange how you can know someone for such a short period in your life, but you feel like you’ve known them much longer? And how when really bad things happen in life the people who you have no expectations of surpass your expectations and the difficult times you have gone through bring you closer together…
When I was in hospital my ‘work sister’ came to visit me, Miss Rimi. I had literally been working for this company for 5 months so I had only known her for a very short period of time…yet she drove a roughly 60 mile round trip with another work colleague to come and visit me in hospital!
I was so overwhelmed by the effort made by someone who was relatively new in my life and by someone that I had met through work.
Not only was the visit so thoughtful, full of giggles and helped to lift my spirit. She turned up with the most fitting gifts and balloons for me…a positive mindset journal, which I love and still use to this day! I have used this journal as part of my recovery and it has helped me so much!!
I will never forget the effort you made to come and visit me Rimi, forever in my heart…my beautiful soul sister. xxxApril 25, 2018 7:30 pm