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Making tough choices.

The past few weeks have been totally manic for me. Between myself ending up in hospital, Cookie going to Spain and my head going to pot, losing one of my best friends, having to cremate said friend, making the decision to resit first year and making the choice to bring Sophie back to Ireland with me.

At the end of August I was meant to sit my end of year exams at uni. Because of my mental health, my GP, Cookie, Sophie and I had made the decision to defer my May exams to give me the best chance of getting my head into the best place as possible. Unfortunately, I ended up in hospital during the first week of the exams. I managed to make the first one, which was Cell Biology but wasn’t well enough mentally or physically to sit the rest. This left me in a bit of pickle in that I wouldn’t be able to proceed into second year because I didn’t get enough credits. So I attended quite a bit meeting in uni last week with my tutor, lab module co-ordinator and student welfare officer. We have decided that I’m going to redo 1st year as a clean slate and not have to sit the modules I passed, which were Study Skills and (shock horror) Cell Biology. I was totally gobsmacked to see I’d passed CB! It’s my worst subject!

Making the decision to resit 1st year and not just go “fuck it, I’ve had enough” was not easy. Every part of me at that time was not believing I was in anyway smart enough to be doing this course or well enough to be able to keep up. I just wanted to be able to do it in 3 years like everyone else. I know not everyone else didn’t have the crap going on that I did, but still. There’s so much I need to be able to do to keep up, and I’m scared I’m not going to be able to again. And then it’s essentially 2 years of my life and about 15 grand wasted. But I enjoy uni. I love having a reason to get out of bed and do something, I love learning new things and I’m excited to see what the future will hold for me. So I’m going to give it another go. Hopefully now we  know my head is doing a lot better(touch wood), I’ve had my shoulder surgery and hopefully my chest consultant will pull his finger out, things will be a bit easier this year. But I have another reason to work hard, and I’ll explain that in a minute.

I’ve had some rotten luck with the DWP lately. I got back from Leeds and the meeting at uni on Wednesday last week to a letter from the council telling me my housing benefit had been stopped. At this point I totally panicked and rang the council. They told me it had been stopped because it was up for renewal. I’d heard nothing about this and had no letter about it or anything, so needless to say I was a total mess.  At this point I rang the DWP to find out what was going on. They said that they hadn’t actually been cancelled or up for renewal, but in fact they were only suspended because I hadn’t sent in proof of my student finance for this year. I hadn’t a clue I needed to and was surprised when they mentioned it. The woman on the phone told me that they should’ve sent a letter out but didn’t for some reason and the only thing they could do was fit me in at the job centre in person to get the relevant documents sent into them quicker than it would be by post. Thankfully it was pretty much sorted by that afternoon, and hopefully things are semi sorted. Unfortunately due to a change in my student finance rate, my ESA rate has dropped considerably which is causing me a great deal of worry at the minute. I’ve been struggling to manage as it is. I’m debating cancelling a few things that aren’t totally necessary and seeing how much I can knock off monthly bills.  It was just a really shitty week.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Leeds lately. Sophie ended up quite poorly in her local and unfortunately her mum was in the Scottish Highlands and couldn’t get home, so I said I’d hang around to make sure she was OK and not on her own. I ended up with a sore arse from sitting in hospital chairs for so long! But we picked her up from hospital when she was discharged and the difference I saw from when I left her in the evenings during the week was astounding and was good to see. It was absolutely gutting and soul destroying to see her in so much pain and not being able to help or do anything. She really is an amazing human and I wish she understood that. But knowing that she wasn’t on her own has helped us both deal with it a bit. It was a very difficult admission for her, both mentally and physically, and being able to be there to hold her hand and show her the difference that she makes to me when she does the same was rewarding.

The reason I had to leave Leeds was that I had to go to the funeral of one of my best friends. Simi passed at the beginning of August, but due to circumstances we were only able to say goodbye properly last Thursday. It was heartbreaking. I was in no way ready to say goodbye. Simi was doing the same course as me, all be it at a different uni. But it brought us so much closer together and we spent many a night moaning about uni politics, lecturers and the stress of assignments and exams. She would’ve known exactly what to say when I made the decision to resit the year. She always just knew the right thing to say and I can’t see how it’s ever going to not hurt. To not be heartbreaking when I see a picture of us both or to make me cry when I think of good memories. I’m just glad she was able to fill the last few months of her life with things she enjoyed. And that brings some comfort to us all.

I’m going to be going to Ireland on Wednesday for the first time since January. I absolutely cannot wait. I’ve not been home since January because of many circumstances. I’m taking Sophie home with me for the first time ever. I’m totally beside myself with excitement. I’m counting down the days. It’s logistically a nightmare, but the idea of giving Sophie a break for a few days and seeing where I grew up is fantastic. It’s coinciding with my birthday as well so I’m hoping we can all go out for a few drinks. It was tough making the choice to ask Sophie, as she has a lot of medical problems that could stop her flying and is taking a lot of phone calls and toing and froing to try and get it sorted. But I made the choice to ask her if she wanted to and left the ball in her court. And she made the choice to come over! And I’m glad she did! I’ve already started writing my packing list and tidying my room so I’m not having to come back to a bombsite!

 

So anyway, it’s nearly 4am and I’m not asleep.

 

Until next time people x

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The one.

I’ve not been able to catch up on my P365 lately, I’ve had a rough few weeks. I will catch up with it, but there’s quite a lot to talk about in the meantime.

At the minute I’m in Grantham. Myself and Cookie came to see Kira for a few days. We hadn’t seen her since she was in hospital after her hip replacement, and i’d not seen her at home in months so we decided the time was right to go say hi. That and I wanted to borrow her wheelchair for the Harry Potter tour. I’m finding walking any distance difficult at the minute, and I want to be able to enjoy the weekend we have planned.

We got the train from Manchester on Friday and we were planning on staying till the Sunday/Monday depending. Unfortunately as these things go, it didn’t all go according to plan in any sense of the word and in true Vicky fashion, my lungs decided they didn’t like the fact that I was getting on with my life and threw rather an impressive strop. I had said to Kira on the Saturday that I wasn’t feeling quite right, and that if things didn’t improve I was going to put my pred up. Kira being a sensible dr and all that was quite supportive and gave me a few options.

I spent Saturday night nebbing, and whacked my pred up to 60mg in the hope that it would help but it really wasn’t, and I was starting to get quite worried as to what was going to happen. Obviously I’m not at home and am not at my normal hospital where nobody knows me. We called an ambulance and a L.I.V.E.S First Responder showed up after about 20mins. I don’t think Kira was overly impressed when she came in and asked “So have you used your inhaler?” When I was sitting on my nebuliser pretty much struggling to breathe. Because of where Kira lives, it takes slightly longer to get a proper ambulance so she had called one and was sitting pretty much looking at me. I did find it amusing when she had to ring the ambo control and ask them where the ambulance was because “I’m getting quite worried about my patient” but was sitting looking at me doing v little. Luckily when the ambulance came they were really good and got me out to the ambulance, and with all dues to the paramedic he got a cannula in me, gave me some steroids and adrenaline and blue lighted me to A&E. I don’t think i’ve ever seen things move quite so quickly in A&E in my life. As soon as I was in A&E they had me on a monitor, neb and gas done and within 2 hours I was in CCU. Because Grantham is a local hospital they don’t have the capabilities to do anything near what they needed to for a severe asthmatic and because my gases were a bit mad, they had to transfer me from Critical Care in Grantham to ICU in Lincoln. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. They were talking about tubing me and wanted to ring my mum and had me nil by mouth and the consent forms signed. I’ve never come so close to loosing my head before, and i think if it hadn’t have been for Cookie and Kira coming down, I probably would’ve lost it.

Once I got to ICU in Lincoln they had me hooked up and my Art Line that I had put in in Grantham re connected to their equipment and had some meds. Unfortunately they couldn’t give me aminophylline which is the medication I normally have because I was in SupraVentricular Tachycardia which is a very fast heart rythym and Amino can make your heart run quickly so it was deemed too dangerous to give me anything that could increase my heartrate, so I was given Magnesium Sulfate and mega doses of steroids. Bloody things. But I really was feeling quite shit and just wanted to sleep, but couldn’t get my chest to calm down enough to let me. it was horrible. I’ve never been in the situation before where I’ve not been able to get better as quick as I needed and the fact I was struggling for as long as i was scared the shit out of me because I didn’t know if it was going to get better.

Luckily the next day they were able to give me some aminophylline, and on top of the regular steroids and Magnesium i’d been having it started to help and I was able to start to feel better. So I was on ICU for 2 days and then got to the Resp ward. I think I take for granted the fact that I’m under the care of one of the best respiratory centers in the UK and have a fantastic ward that do take care of me fantastically. While i can’t fault the care of the staff on ICU, the staff on the ward didn’t leave me as impressed. When i told them i was feeling poorly the next day, it took them over 3 hours for them to get some help to me and I was really starting to get worried. Luckily then they got a gas and realised I was getting tired and got some meds on board again. This was a scenario I was to face several times over the course of the admission, and i really don’t feel like i was given the best care that i could’ve. I understand that nurses are extremely busy, but when you’ve got a patient who has just come off ICU and has the history that I do, you would expect that people would listen to you when you say you don’t feel well.

I got out yesterday morning, and have come back to Kira’s for a few days R&R before I go back to Manchester. But I have a lot of unanswered questions about this admission, and a lot of things I want to speak to my consultant about. Because I’m scared. And I don’t like being scared.

 

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The Pre-Operation Assessment.

Well, As I’ve been saying for a while now, I had my pre-op appointment today. It didn’t really go aswell as I wanted. I met the anesthetist today just before I had my proper nurse assessment. The anesthetist was absolutely lovely, and I’ve met him before I think, when I was in ICU before. He said from the word go that he didn’t think I’d be able to have a general anesthetic. He even explained all the risks involved and told me about what would happen when they are doing the spinal. He even spoke to another anesthetist to get their opinion on it to see if there was any chance whatsoever that they should do a GA. It’s shit, and I’m not happy about it, but I’m going to have to live with it. They’ve told me everything that’s going to happen and how they’re going to do it. I’m scared. There’s no doubt about it, but they aren’t going to do a GA. So all I’m waiting on now is my actual op date. I’ve been told to ring them on Monday and they’ll give me a date all being well. So hopefully I’ll be able to tell dad and he’ll be able to come for it. It would be good because I think the thing that’s getting me the most is doing it on my own. But everything else is looking OK for it. And for once I wasn’t running stupidly tachycardic despite the fact I’m off my heart meds. 

Here’s to an op date being soon.