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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Dec. 19th 2012: Home for Christmas??

The days leading up to Christmas were chaotic, but not in the way most people would experience. For a few days I was travelling back and forth to the hospital (a 16 mile round trip) and spending every moment possible with Suzie. When I wasn't at the hospital I was at home trying to keep up with all the emails, phone calls and texts, from her many friends who were concerned about her.
On the medical side, Suzie's chest drain took three days to drain off more than 10 pints (6 litres) of fluid. I couldn't begin to grasp how such a huge amount of fluid could even fit into her chest. I tried to imagine holding a 3 litre box of wine in each arm.... It's no wonder poor Suzie couldn't breathe. I recalled, with horror and an immense sense of guilt, the hours I'd so often spent with her in the middle of the night, trying to reassure her, and encouraging her to lie down and try to relax, whilst Suzie had been panicking and saying she couldn't breathe if she laid down. How could we all have failed to realise the seriousness and significance of this problem sooner?
The cause of the 'pleural effusion' was not yet known, but tests on the fluid may reveal more clues. It was still considered very unlikely that this latest illness had any link with her ongoing deterioration but the doctor in charge was going to investigate all possibilities. However, with the chest drain now removed and the fluid cleared Suzie was ready to be discharged from the Respiratory Ward, but she was certainly not well enough to come home. Her mobility had been bad enough even before this recent crisis, and after all the trauma she'd been through, not to mention having spent four days barely getting out of bed, she was weaker than ever. She was going to need a lot of extra care and intensive physiotherapy to build up her strength again.
Our little local hospital would be the ideal place for Suzie's recuperation, but beds there are like gold dust and we were told that it was most unlikely that she would be able to go there. However miracles do happen... Interestingly, at our Church's mid-week Holy Communion service, prayers were offered specifically for Suzie, and it was immediately after this that I received a call from the hospital to say that a bed had unexpectedly become available and that Suzie would be transferred there later that day!! God is so good.
When I went in to see her that evening she looked so relieved and relaxed. She had been greeted and taken to the ward by a nurse who was also a dear friend of ours, and then had immediately been visited by the lovely physiotherapist who had already been treating her for months. She was in familiar surroundings amongst people she knew. Although she wasn't quite home we both felt she was so much closer. That evening we watched television together, had our evening coffee together, and I was able to settle her down for the night and say our bedtime prayers together, before going home, just up the road. We felt like a glimmer of hope had lit up like a Christmas star.