Part 17 – Freedom..time to go home!
A few more days had now passed and the doctors did their usual morning rounds at 8 am. There had been discussions as to whether I’d need to be moved to a rehabilitation centre for my next phase of my recovery before being sent home.
So the next few days were used to assess whether I was in a fit enough state to return home. This involved further assessments with physiotherapists and occupational therapists. I even did an assessment that involved making a cup of tea and a slice of toast, this was to see if I could physically and mentally navigate myself around the kitchen safely.
The Doctors came to see me the following morning after all the assessments were complete. I noticed the Doctors walking into the ward with a spring in their step and I knew it was going to be good news, I could just feel it!
They looked through my records as they had done every single morning for the past 5 weeks, they asked me how I was and commented how I was smiling! They smiled back and said;
“Danielle you will be happy to know that you are finally going to able to go home in a few days, there are a few home assessments that we need to do first and once we are happy that all is well, you are free to go.”
Apprehension, fear of returning…
I was beaming with the biggest smile I must have had in my entire life!! I was speechless, absolutely speechless! I felt a huge sense of relief, a massive weight had been lifted but at the same time I was a little apprehensive.
I couldn’t allow myself to get overly excited just in case I ended up back in this place. I mean it was true what the other patients were saying, the number of people I saw being discharged and then returning only a few days later.
So I remained hopeful but didn’t get over excited. I’m saying that but as soon as I received the news I phoned my mum and dad straight away to tell them.
And as I’m typing this, tears are rolling down my face because I remember exactly how it felt at the possibility of returning home, there were times when I didn’t think I would get out of the hospital alive or ever return home.
Progress was made
A team visited my home where they did the relevant assessments and fitted additional handrails to the staircase and provided me with a shower seat as I didn’t have the strength to stand and shower – I’d say it took me a good 4 months to be able to have the strength to do this.
Wow, 4 months! Just writing this and remembering the detail of everything has made me realise just how far I have come and all that I have achieved in this past year!
The assessments were complete and then my dad had to do some work and fit some additional handrails before they would allow me home, once they inspected my home and were happy with the work the hospital was notified and they gave me the green light to go home.
I remember receiving the news and feeling on top of the world! I rang my mum to arrange the time that her and my dad were coming to pick me up and my mum asked me what I needed. I was very specific as I hadn’t worn clothes in 5 weeks!! My jeans, my Adidas t-shirt and jacket…you know the one with the leopards on it and my rose gold trainers, lol only me!! Most people would be like just bring me something comfortable to go home in other than pyjamas!
One last sleep
Since I had been moved to the neurological ward I would dread each night for reasons that I mentioned in my previous blog posts. I struggled to sleep so the nights became so long and the days also. But for some reason just knowing that tonight was going to be my last nights sleep in the hospital made it all the more bearable and on that one particular night, I slept like a baby!
I woke that morning full of excitement but didn’t rush to get ready as I saw the lengthy process of getting discharged from hospital and the long wait for medication and so on.
So I took my time and didn’t start getting my things together until late morning/late afternoon just in case there was a delay.
A last-minute scare
The lady on my ward, you know the one who I told you had a brain aneurysm and was turning 40 in a few days and had been in the hospital for nearly 5 months, her health had deteriorated rapidly over the past few days. Her condition was far worse than mine as she had a shunt fitted and was experiencing swelling and immense pain in her head.
I was packing my stuff and suddenly the doctors came and wheeled her out of the ward, I asked her what was happening and she said she was being taken back down to critical care, my heart sank, she looked so scared, I had tears in my eyes and had to hold them back.
This put the fright of God in me and something just said you need to get out of here and I started packing my stuff while saying to myself repeatedly;
“You will go home today Danielle, you will survive this, you are going home today and nothing or nobody is going to stop you!”
To take my mind off what had just happened, I went and got changed into my clothes, it took me ages! It felt so strange to be wearing actual tailored clothes and I can’t even describe how weird my feet felt in shoes. I then un-ravelled my hair and unleashed the fro! Now I was set to take on the world!
It felt strange but so good to be back in my clothes and to be able to express my personality again. For me it wasn’t really about what I was wearing, it was more about what it symbolised. It symbolised a huge milestone in my recovery, my freedom, getting back to my life, my home and my family.
Regaining my identity that I had lost when I was in the hospital – my Adidas jacket became my cloak of invincibility!
When I walked back to the ward, they looked shocked as if to say who is this person, they all said look at your hair and that’s the point when I thought yassss!!!
“Danielle is back!”
The wait continued
There was a lady on my ward who had been in overnight to have her aneurysm coiled. Her aneurysm had been found by accident when she had an MRI scan for something else, therefore they found it before it got to the life-threatening stage of rupturing and coiled it to prevent it from rupturing.
She travelled from Bristol with her husband and stayed for one night. She was then constantly moaning how she wanted to get back home, hello, you have been here 1 night!! I have been here 5 weeks and not to mention what I’ve been through and you are complaining!!!
Anyway, this women was adamant about leaving first and getting her medication signed off to beat the traffic back to Bristol. Well, let me tell you something…there was no way I was allowing this woman to get out of the hospital before me! Lol
We were literally competing to get the doctors to see us first, I cannot believe the cheek of her! If I was in her position I would have let her go first. 1 night, 5 weeks you can’t even compare the two!
Anyway, I won and was seen to first, lol. My medication and discharge paperwork were sorted first – damn right too!
The reality check
The pharmacist went through the mountain of medication with me. I just felt this huge sense of panic and overwhelmed by it all. How was I suppose to remember to take all of this?
He gave me a sick note for 6 weeks, I was shocked that they had signed me off work for 6 weeks, after everything I still wasn’t getting it and didn’t truly understand what had happened to me.
He then mentioned a particular drug and I said whats that for? He replied its seizure medication and you can’t drive for at least 12 months…I said what? I’ve had seizures, he replied yes.
I then went on to say that I didn’t understand, why didn’t anyone tell me this. I then started to panic, the reality of what had happened was sinking in and the penny finally dropped, the feeling of joy quickly turned into an overwhelming cocktail of emotion mixed with panic and fear!
I signed all the paperwork and my mum along with the porter came to collect me. I said my goodbyes and was taken down to the entrance of the hospital in the wheelchair.
My first breath
We arrived at the entrance and my eyes were squinting at the bright sunlight! I could feel the breeze on my face, the sun on my skin and I took my first breath of freedom, it felt amazing!!!
My dad pulled up and I didn’t even wait, I found every last ounce of strength in my body. I stretched out and opened the car door and by the time they blinked I had thrown my body on the back seat of the car. I remember my dad looking at me confused and him saying what are you doing…
My getaway car
I vaguely remember this but my dad later told me that I was shouting like some crazy women saying;
“Go, go, drive get me out of here!”
I can laugh now but even at that point I was terrified that they were going to call me back, I still couldn’t believe I was finally on my way home!
The drive home
All I remember is that all my senses were heightened and I noticed every tiny detail from the sounds to the smells, the fresh air and the movement of everything around me. It was only a short journey, around 15 minutes.
This is the first time I had experienced travel sickness, I literally held my head in my hands and had my eyes closed for most of the journey home. It was a sensory overload, too much for me to handle and incredibly overwhelming!
We finally arrived home and this huge sense of emotion overcame me as we approached the house, my mum had to help me step over the tiny step into the house.
I looked at the stairs and noticed the new rails and felt so daunted at how I was going to manage to walk upstairs…I made my way to the sofa sat down and took a deep breath.
I made it, I was home!!!
I felt a huge sense of relief and thought that my battle was now over, little did I know my battle had only just started!May 9, 2018 7:30 pm