My last post was a short apology for not posting due to illness, and a promise to start blogging again once i’d recovered. Well, things went quiet after that and for a good reason. My condition had deteriorated so quickly that I was rushed into hospital, where I fought my toughest battle yet. For 3 weeks.
Having been suffering from flu-like symptoms for a while, and over-the-counter medication not working, I went to the doctor. Here, I was told that I had a chest infection and was given antibiotics. 2 days later, I was found unconscious at home and rushed to hospital where I was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent to the Intensive Care Unit.
For the first few days everything seemed to be going well. Then my condition took a sharp turn for the worse. While being treated for pneumonia, I was struck by sepsis. This is when your body responds to infection by attacking your muscles and organs. My health deteriorated so sharply and so quickly that the doctors had to inform my family on no less than 4 occasions that they feared that they might not be able to do anything for me.
I was placed in an induced coma for several days, during which my condition stabilised. Once the doctors were confident that I was no longer in danger, I was brought out of the coma.
This was a very difficult time. I awoke unable to speak as i’d had tubes in my throat which had irritated my vocal chords. With my hands swollen, i couldn’t communicate by writing either, so this was a very frustrating time. Furthermore, I had wires and IV lines attached everywhere and couldn’t move. Worst of all, though, I struggled to breathe and started to panic.
The doctors and nurses, however, were fantastic. I was confused about why they were so happy and positive with me though. At first I thought that perhaps they were just a very happy clappy group of people, but then I asked what the positivity was all about as it was starting to get a little annoying. They explained about the severity of what I had endured, and that they feared that they would lose me on 4 occasions. Then they told me about how pleased they were with my progress, and that I should be talking again very soon as my throat recovers. When I asked about all of the tubes and machines, I was told that due to the severity of my illness, the iv drips and machines were necessary as I had to be closely monitored. Most important of these was the dialysis machine which I was hooked up to, as my kidneys had been severely damaged.
Slowly but surely, my condition improved and I was slowly weaned off the huge amount of antibiotics , iv drips and other medication which i’d been on. The wires and tubes were also gradually removed.
A hospital cannot discharge you directly from Intensive Care. You must be discharged to a general ward first. When this time came, I was delighted as it meant that I was one step closer to going home. On the new ward, I didn’t get the comfy bed or 1-1 care which i’d experienced in the ICU, but I was still well looked after. From here, I made quick progress. Within 3 days, I had been weaned off the oxygen, my catheter had been removed and I was able to move about unassisted with the help of a walking stick. With all of my medication stopped, I was discharged and sent home.
This whole experience, while scary when I reflect on it, was actually a blessing. It is sobering and scary to think that 4 times I came close to death, with the doctors feeling powerless to save me. However, I prefer to look for the positives.
Unable to sleep due to all the noise and constant observations, I had a lot of time on my hands in hospital and plenty of time to think. I had 2 visitors a day, my fiancee and my mum, but between visits all I had was a National Geographic magazine which i’d read cover to cover a number of times. So I reflected on my life and what had happened.
Having survived this health scare, I couldn’t help but feel lucky and that i’d been given a second chance at life. I could’ve become depressed at my weakened state and loss of independence, but I have never been one to feel sorry for myself.
I used the free time to reflect on my life so far, my relationships, achievements and how much I still had left to tick off on my bucket list. This reflection filled me with motivation and determination, not only to become a better person but also to challenge myself to achieve more in life. I cheated death, and now have no time to lose. I am keen to improve my relationships, do more for others and achieve more professionally than i’d previously thought possible. Time to stop playing safe and living in the moment.
Back at home and continuing my recovery, I have carved out time in my day for further reflection. If there is one thing you take away from this, it is that TIME IS PRECIOUS AND SHOULD NOT BE WASTED.
Now that the tremors in my hands have stopped, I am able to put my reflections and resolutions in writing. This is important as it makes them more real, and more urgent. It also means that I now have no excuse not to take action.
I am one of life’s optimists, and always prefer to look at the positives wherever possible. It is for that reason that I chose to view my experience as a wake-up call and a second chance at life. After many hours of reflection, I resolved to;
- Fix my personal relationships, and do my best to become the best fiancee, son, brother and friend possible. Reflecting on my relationships helped me realise that i’d been taking my fiancee for granted. Living in the moment had blinded me to how I was behaving towards the most important person in my life. Hopefully, it’s not too late to reverse the damage.
- Make a career change, to something which will challenge me to develop, grow and challenge what I believe myself to be capable of.
- Take control of my finances and become more responsible.
- Stop wasting time and playing it safe. Take more risks, learn more and push myself harder
Thank you for reading. I hope you found something of value in my experience and reflections