Monday, 16 August 2010

clearing

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for what seems like forever... and in the end I have decided that I have two choices; 1. I can never write it, and just pretend like the last six weeks of my life just haven't happened, or 2. just write, see what comes out, and keep moving. Of course I have decided to go with option 2, if I'm honest with myself, all I want in life is to be authentic, and it is my way, to address each item on my individual list before I can even contemplate moving on to the next thing. It's just my way.

I didn't want to write out my recent experience in an overly dramatic way, as any of you who have been along for the ride will know, it was dramatic enough without me adding to it, or embellishing it, for pete's sake I know that I've had enough drama to last me a very long time. In fact I am feeling to exhausted that just getting out of bed in the morning is effort enough. Although I am pleased to note that is starting to pass.

So with all of that said, I don't know any other way to start than at the beginning. It's just logical.

Seven weeks ago I was enjoying a morning play-date with an old friend when my phone rang, it was my brother, he sounded bad, like he was crying, but not. He was looking for Mum, and within a few seconds he said that he had call wait, probably Mum and he hung up. At the time I didn't really think that much of the incident. A while later my sister rang, no biggie, just an issue that she wanted to talk through... later in the day, when I got home I rang my Mum and made some flippant remark about being her only offspring that she hadn't spoken to yet today ~ I asked what was going on with my brother.

He was sick, he was out of town and heading towards the hospital. They suspected kidney failure and he needed to be hydrated immediately. They would put him on the drip, sort him out and that would probably be it.

It wasn't.

To cut this part a long story short, once he was in the hospital they started running tests to work out what was wrong, he was unstable, very sick, and having trouble breathing. This went on for the weekend, and culminated in him having a bad turn on the Monday night, he just couldn't get enough air.

On the Tuesday, one of the nurses took his plight in hand and worked tirelessly to have him transferred to a major melbourne hospital, I still thank the universe for that nurse. It is without a doubt in my mind that she saved his life that day.

He was airlifted in the afternoon, and we {still not realising just how very sick he was} made it into to hospital around 7pm. It was the first time that our family has all been together in eighteen months... and we've been know to comment in that time that it would take a miracle to heal our family. Well here we were, about to witness a miracle.

It didn't take any of us long to realise how serious this was. He couldn't breathe, and I don't know about you, but when there are lots of staff (from nurse to head of surgical department) buzzing around, making phone calls, running... then you very quickly realised that things are not good. We sat, we watched, we were told what they suspected, we cried, we said all of the things that needed to be said when a loved one looks like they aren't going to make it. It was one of the worst nights of my life.

In the early hours of the next morning they transferred him to the ICU, where they could focus on keeping him breathing. The infection that he had was attacking his heart and lungs, they were filling him with medicine to fight the infection but his heart was so irreparably damaged. We headed home about 2am, knowing that now it was up to an amazing team of surgeons, his will to live, and the universe ~ I fell asleep exhausted and woke up four hours later with tears streaming down my face.

His open heart surgery began at 7am and was expected to go for 6 to 8 hours. While he was in there we knew that there would be no communication. No word was good news. It was a slow, precise operation to remove the damaged parts of his heart, slowly as to not 'flick' the infection into any other areas, and then transplant new parts and rebuild him. We got back to the hospital around 2pm and sat in the ICU waiting room and waited.

Eventually around 6pm word came that he was being moved back into ICU. He was critical, and every minute that he was still alive was a bonus. He was in a coma {induced due to the life support equipment} and they were working to keep him stable and pain free. Eventually around 8pm we were allowed in to see him, apparently he could hear us but could not respond. All I remember is standing there with my big sister beside me, and my little brother {who is 6'4" and built} laying there with a gazillion tubes and monitors in and around him. He looked so young. I couldn't stay long, it was just... so wrong.

The next few days are a blur for me, he kept getting better, not in a 'i'm going to leap out of bed and run out of here' kind of way; but more a 'slowly but consistently' kind of way. Within a few days he was out of ICU onto the cardiac high dependency ward, the a few days after that he was in the normal cardiac ward, then a week or so later he was sent home for daily nurse visits. All up it took a fortnight.

In the midst of all this my Mum went in to hospital to have her hip done ~ at the time she was all 'don't worry about my, it's just a hip', but truly we were such a fragmented family. There was lots of running around, visiting, running errands, trying to look after each other, and trying to continue running my family of five with kinder and laundry and cleaning... and trying to maintain some social life in order to not go insane.

I am pleased to say that everyone is on the mend, it is still a long road, but every day it's getting better. I am still exhausted, and emotional, and trying to figure out how is the best way to continue to nourish myself so that I have enough energy to keep on giving, but all in all it's getting better.

So that's it ~ the air is clear around here. Hopefully normal blogging will be able to resume.