I woke up on Saturday 16th on the trauma ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, after being in some sort of drug-induced subconsciousness. My Mom was by my side. I was scared and despite all the pain-killers, I was definitely in pain. My neck may have been broken but with blocks either side of my head I didn’t acknowledge neck pain, I could only feel this droning ache in my arm. Like someone was stood on it in foot-ball boots.
I had been given the most fantastic water bottle, which I still have by my side at all times (except when being washed or filled). The Hydrant definitely keeps you hydrated.
They were created by Mark Moran, following his time in hospital and they have won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation 2013…and so they should have! I drank on average around eight litres of water a day, without bothering a nurse every few minutes or asking a visitor to get me water. I was told that they were only usually given to service men and women that were receiving medical care…so maybe that was my next bit of luck?
Water. Sleep. Laughter. Three things your body needs.
I can’t remember if I had anything to eat that day, I think I was ‘nil by mouth’ after a certain time as we were waiting to see if I was going to the operating theatre later on.
I was moved to Critical Care at some point, time just merged together. It’s strange there. I looked out of the corner of my eyes and thought “I can’t possibly be that bad”. By ‘that bad’, I mean that there were people around me receiving constant support. I was scared, there’s no denying that but somehow I just began to think “I will get better, I have things to do”. Slowly, I too then began to receive constant support. It dawned on me, I’m lucky to be alive and I am lucky to be in the best possible place for me.
That night I was taken for my Halo to be fitted.
**WARNING** NOT FOR THE WEAK – SCROLL DOWN A BIT.
The Halo was fitted under local anesthetic. This is where anesthesia is injected in a ‘block’ into my forehead, a few injections above my eyebrows. The surgeon then waited to see if it had worked and what I could feel before drilling into the front and sides of my head. Five pounds of weights were added to the pulley system attached to my Halo. Over the next day or so this went up to seven pounds and then nine, by which point I was calling it my ‘Jesus Crown’; mainly because I was on a lot of medication but also because it was screwed in to my head.
I was on a spinal bed, a bit like a slightly padded wooden table. You can feel where your hips and spine are digging in to the bed, this can’t be helped, especially if you have to lie absolutely flat. I counted all the dots on the ceiling, lights, beeps, you name it…it got counted. I don’t think I went ‘mad’, but who am I to say? I had to be log-rolled to be washed or for sheets to be changed. I didn’t soil myself at any point, so luckily I didn’t have to be rolled to be changed but that is a reality for most patients. You feel like all privacy and dignity has gone.