New Regimes, Replacement Parts, Whispers of Freedom, and a Storm on the Horizon.
After over two months in hospital being pumped full of powerful antibiotics and seeing very little reduction in the severity of my infection, it was becoming depressingly clear that the previously suggested “six weeks” of treatment was going to need to be extended.
The Rains Of Blackpool Pier
To my sixteen year old brain the worst part of this whole situation was of course that it was going to interfere with the upcoming exam season…
Okay, perhaps that was not number one on the list of things I was worrying about but it was in the mix, somewhere.
No, what had really begun to bother me was the fact that our family holiday was fast approaching.
Every year since 2000, we have all spent a week or two as a family down in Blackpool. Many of our relatives live in the north west of England which makes it the perfect place to stay and meet up with cousins, uncles, aunties, etc.
Despite what the locals always say about the weather, there hasn’t been a single year when we didn`t have glorious sunshine for most of our holiday and after the year I had already gone through by this point, I was eager to be enjoying those rays hitting my face while eating chips and curry on Blackpool’s central pier.
There was hope that I might be able to be discharged, even for just a week but my antibiotics were too strong and needed to be dealt with in the hospital. No way to have them administered several times daily as an outpatient.
As the week loomed closer I became more and more desperate to see signs that the infection was finally shifting but it held fast and eventually my parents had to admit it wasn’t going to happen and they cancelled the holiday.
We were all incredibly upset that this would be the first summer we wouldn’t visit Blackpool since we started holidaying there.
Then, the week that would have been our trip away finally rolled around. We tried to stay positive and talked about making plans for when I was able to leave hospital, even though we were not yet sure when that would be. In a move that we were fairly certain would end only in pain, one of us decided it was a good idea to google the weather in Blackpool, just to see what we were missing out on.
There is a German word, Schadenfreude, which is “the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune” and is perhaps the only word I can use to describe the feeling we all developed upon discovering that, not only was Blackpool in the middle of its worst rain downpour in years but also most of the tourist facilities and attractions had been forced to close for a week due to the weather.
Back To “Normal”
Frustratingly (or perhaps not so much, due to the rain), it wasn’t particularly long after this that the decision was made to change my antibiotic.
The one being used up to that point was incredibly potent and referred to by staff as “The Bleach” and while it did seem to be reducing the infection at a steady rate, it was also messing me up pretty badly. At best I was being sick at surprisingly regular intervals (at least it was easy to know when not to eat) and at worse, I was struggling to walk more than a few steps without losing my balance and it is important to remember, this was all before I was turned into a potential Paralympian.
The swap over was not solely for these reasons but also to address the fact that I was a sixteen year old who had now been in hospital for several months and despite usually being “a beacon of perfect loveliness” (apparently my parents don’t remember using that term but it’s in writing on the internet now so must be factual), I was not exactly a happy chappy.
By far the largest benefit of this new medication was that it was one that could be administered at home, though it still needed to be done very carefully.
For a couple of weeks, my parents were trained up on how to do this. The PICC line which had been inserted for the first antibiotic was left in situ and we were shown how to properly administer the new brew and keep the line clean.
Then, all of a sudden, I was back at home.
Obviously we were all thrilled that things were getting back to how they had been. Aside from wrapping my arm up in a plastic bag and duct tape when I showered and the twenty or so minutes it took to prepare and deliver my antibiotics each day, all seemed pretty normal.
Over the following weeks my folks became very adept at the whole medicine delivery procedure and weekly check-ups allowed my doctors to monitor the infection.
The Grand Reopening
Before leaving the hospital, there had been discussions as to how to repair what had gone wrong with my previous surgery.
Now, considering just how long it has been, I can forgive you for not remembering my post In The Blood from August last year (my word, it has been a long fourteen months). In that post, I explained about the new device I had been fitted with which would allow some of my future heart procedures to be performed using keyhole surgery, rather than the significantly less comfortable and far more invasive, open heart route.
At the very least, not having my sternum cracked open for every fix meant that, post surgery, I might not always need to tightly hug a pillow every time something amusing came on the television.
Preparations were made and after a few months we all made the trip down to Glasgow for what we were assuming would be a short keyhole procedure and a couple of nights recovery.
The evening before the procedure I was sitting in my hospital room with my mum when a nurse came in to get me ready. At first everything seemed normal, the regular swabs and checks were being carried out.
However, after a while my mum and me started to notice that she seemed to be going a little overboard, asking questions that didn’t seem relevant to such a relatively small operation.
The nurse asking me to shave my chest (a horrifying prospect at the best of times), was the point at which my mum stepped in and asked, “What exactly do you think David is here for?”
I remember the nurse giving us a slightly bemused look before saying…
“He’s having open heart surgery in the morning”.
The Wisdom (and a bit of an update)
- Take a step back.
It seems to be the same old song every time I share a post these days, I apologise for the fact that it has been so long since the last one and explain that it’s been a very busy time for me.
That is no different this time either but instead of saying sorry again and assuring that I will get back to doing it regularly eventually (I really am trying), I will instead explain that this year (especially these last few months) has been quite difficult. I published a post in October last year explaining my situation which you can read here for a more detailed explanation of what’s going on.
What I will say here is that the process of organising my wife’s visa is ongoing. After many delays caused by the current situation, we have finally been able to complete and submit all of her application requirements and are now just waiting on hearing back.
All of this going on has made focusing on writing these posts quite challenging.
This one was particularly difficult my having started on it over two months ago and when it was finished I realised that it was beyond morbid.
At that time I was not in the right frame of mind to inject some of my usual light hearted quips.
Hopefully, coming back to it a few weeks later and basically doing an entire rewrite has managed to lighten it up a bit.
I’ll let you be the judge of that.
So, the wisdom for this post is just that, sometimes when you can’t get your head around something, take a step back and return to it later. It may be that you’re not in the right mood, have been doing it so long your brain is fried or even just a mental block.
Taking a break and coming back at it another time is, surprisingly often, all that you need to overcome the obstacle you may be facing.
Obligatory Blog Quote
You didn’t see that coming?Quicksilver – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Thank you for reading folks.
Stay safe and be excellent to each other.