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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Dec. 15th 2012: A Night to Remember

There are some nights in our lives that we will remember forever…. and the night of Saturday 15th December 2012 is certainly one of them as far as I'm concerned. I spent the whole night with Suzie, lying beside her trying to reassure her, helping her to sit up when she really felt she couldn't breathe if she laid down, helping her to lay down when she was too weary to sit up any longer, or just sitting up myself watching her during the fleeting times when she managed, albeit briefly, to fall asleep. Throughout the whole night I agonised over the question of 'at what point does this constitute an emergency?' Her breathing problems had been going on for weeks, during which time she'd been seen by two different Doctors and her Consultant. After the recent television advertising campaign intended to stop people wasting the time of the emergency services I was so afraid to call them out, only to find that Sue was just having a bit of an anxiety attack. On the other hand, if there was something seriously wrong I would never forgive myself if I didn't act appropriately or soon enough. I can honestly say that it was the most dreadful night of my life. While Suzie lay sleeping I watched, listened to and analysed every breath she took. 
As the first glimpse of Sunday morning gradually began to dawn, so, too, began to dawn our realisation of just how serious this situation might be. As my concern for Suzie increased, and as soon as it felt like an appropriate hour to do so, I phoned the 'Out of Hours' doctor to ask for his advice. With hindsight I realise it was a phone call I should have made hours earlier, and the guilt of that was something I would have to live with. Within half an hour Dr. K. arrived and examined Suzie, paying particular attention to her chest and her breathing. Within minutes he was asking me for the phone and calling for an ambulance.
As he left I was able to speak to him out of Suzie's earshot and ask him the question that I'd been struggling with all night…. 'Is this serious?' With my concern for her ever deepening I ventured a step further and, barely able to actually articulate the words, I hesitantly asked........ 'She is going to get through this, isn't she??'........ Dr. K. looked at me with eyes that exuded compassion and concern in equal measure and told me, very gently, but truthfully, that if Suzie was one of his own loved ones, he would be extremely worried. Her condition was indeed very serious and potentially life-threatening.
While we waited for the ambulance to arrive every minute seemed to last for ever. During that time we came face to face with emotions we didn't even know existed. We cried, we prayed, and we just held each other, so afraid of what was going to happen next, but somehow relieved that, at last, something was.