Author Topic: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream  (Read 103826 times)

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Offline ArtyMar

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #230 on: September 24, 2015, 20:17:40 PM »
October 2010  London

BLOG 35:  daytime drama

In the morning, the ITU comes back to life. People come to the family waiting room adjoining mine. Only two people at a time are allowed to visit a patient and cannot spend more than 10 minutes at the bedside so there’s a lot of coming and going. There’s a monitoring system in the waiting room that assists this process. Before entering the patient’s ward, visitors must wash their hands at a sink in the corridor and put on a plastic apron, which they discard after each visit. There are two patients per ward, separated by a curtain, looked after by an ITU nurse who monitors all the machinery surrounding the patient.

It’s a shock to see OH, unconscious on his high bed, attached to all the tubes and machinery which have taken over all his bodily functions, including breathing. He looks so deathly still. The monitors click and whir emitting various bleeps from time to time, with screens showing moving graphs and constantly changing figures. And this isn’t the finish of surgery – if all goes well, he’ll be taken back to have the pack removed. The main thing is, he’s still alive.

My two sons join me in the waiting room. I have warned them what to expect and go with each when we are allowed to visit the ward. It’s still a shock – nothing has changed, the nurse says OH is holding his own, but there’s a long road ahead and only time will tell. It’s a bigger shock for the boys (I should say, ‘men’ but they’re still my boys, my grown-up boys).  When Daughter arrives from Boston she tells me of her conversation with the Aussie doctor, and how critical OH’s condition is, which is obvious. On hearing from the doctor by phone, she immediately packed a case and caught the next plane out of Boston – not so easy to do mid term with her family and work. We’re here together now, supporting each other, supporting OH. I know he will pull through. He promised and OH never breaks a promise.

. . .  to be continued  . . .usually posted on Thursday



Offline echogirl1

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #231 on: September 25, 2015, 09:18:47 AM »
Another super post, you are so good at conveying your emotions. x

Offline Menthol

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #232 on: September 30, 2015, 21:12:58 PM »
Arty - I sent you a PM the other day - did you see it?

Offline gillian handbury

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #233 on: October 01, 2015, 12:05:40 PM »
At Angel Bar...only a witch & wizard here..... You must be all out casting spells....

Offline ArtyMar

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #234 on: October 01, 2015, 15:07:41 PM »
Oh, dear - massive apology to the witch and wizard - I feel very guilty. I had a few problems and our meeting just went out of my mind.
Menthol, I've just picked up your pm, I should have seen it earlier. You also were unable to attend the covern that didn't quite happen :'(
We leave next Wednesday, and have arranged to have 'Sunday lunch' at The Angel Bar which starts at 2 pm - (and is available until 6 pm).  We plan to go at 3 p.m. If you want to join us, I can book a table for us....?

Offline ArtyMar

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #235 on: October 01, 2015, 15:11:33 PM »


BLOG 36:
  the inside world

It’s a strange new world of its own, the ITU. There’s one nurse on duty per two patients, always on hand. There’s a strange kind of hush, punctuated by the bleeps and grunts of the life support machinery in each small ward – none of the hustle and bustle, trolleys and nurses, visitors coming and going as in the normal wards.

There are small groups of visitors coming to the family room to wait their turn to visit their loved one and we develop a sort of mutual understanding. We understand each others’ tears and fears. On the other side of the curtain in OH’s room, there’s a young guy who has also not regained consciousness. We meet his Mum and girlfriend in the family room. He was involved in a motorcycle crash a week or so ago. He’s had broken bones ‘fixed’ but remains on life support. There’s been no change in his condition. The other main visitor who is almost permanently there is a middle aged blonde woman whose father, aged over 90, is also on full life support. She has been his carer for many years and they are extremely close. She explains that she has OCD and cannot bear to be away from him, suffering severe anxiety every minute. She says the doctors say it would be kinder to turn off his life support, as he has no chance of recovery and will only suffer if he regains consciousness. She says she does not believe this – how could she live without him? - and whenever his oxygen levels rise even a little, according to the figures on the monitors (indicating that he is a bit more able to breathe for himself) she believes that this is a sign that he is recovering, despite being told by the doctors that this is a relatively minor factor in his overall condition.  She wants to be with him and stays by his bedside whenever possible.  They are relaxing the 10-minute rule for her. Poor woman. 

Another group of visitors arrive and make themselves tea using the machine in the room. Surprisingly, they are all smiling – not what we’re used to in this sombre place. A mum, dad and daughter in her 20s. Mum and Dad tell us she was in the ITU for 8 weeks, a record time. No one thought she would recover – but she did, and look at her now: smiles all round. They have come back to thank the team in the ITU. 

OH has been returned to theatre to be ‘opened’ once again to remove the pack that has been instrumental in stopping the internal bleeding. The Aussie doctor’s strategy has worked in that he believes the internal ‘seeping’ has stopped, evidenced by a return to a more normal blood pressure. The big question now is: can he withstand this further surgical procedure – another onslaught to his body?

All we can do is wait but this time I am not alone. My children count the minutes with me.

. . . .

OH is back from theatre – although we can’t see him yet! The Aussie surgeon smiles at me and confirms that the bleeding has stopped. He says: “your husband is a remarkable man. “ (as if I didn’t know!) – “We’re not out of the woods yet. We must just wait and see. Rest assured, our Intensive Care is the best in the country. We are doing our very best.”

We all thank him profusely. We won’t be able to see OH for a couple of hours at least now – so we leave the Unit to go to the hospital cafeteria. My dear grown-up children are centering  their attention on me, with hugs and loving words of encouragement. What would I do without them?

We pass back down the corridor, wash our hands again at the sink with the large sign, and throw our plastic aprons in the big bin provided.
We smile at the people in the family room, and exit the ITU. I suddenly feel quite hungry. Can’t remember when I last ate.

. . .  to be continued  . . .usually posted on Thursday

Offline ArtyMar

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #236 on: October 01, 2015, 15:15:25 PM »
Not being competitive (never!), but - er, Menthol, I just passed you on the number of hits on our blogs - admittedly, by just one.   ;) Now, you'll have to continue your blogging, just to keep up! 8)

Offline Bluwise

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #237 on: October 01, 2015, 15:45:22 PM »
Excellent writing Arty -  thanks so much for sharing.

Offline ArtyMar

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #238 on: October 08, 2015, 16:22:52 PM »
October 2010  London

BLOG 37:  the outside world

OH is back in his bed in the ITU. So far, at least, there is no deterioration after the follow-up surgery. This is good.

I think briefly of life outside this bubble, and with a start, realize that I have not contacted work. My colleagues at College knew that OH’s operation was imminent – they must be wondering what’s happened.  I can’t face ringing them, so I send an email to HR, together with one to my Head of Department and one to a close colleague, who I know will tell the others. In view of the situation I tell them that I would like to take ‘leave of absence’ for the rest of this term, and resume work after Xmas. I’m thinking that when OH returns home (and I know he will) he will require a lot of care – and anyway, I don’t think I could face students while worrying about him.

I can imagine the difficulties that this will cause having not had an opportunity to give longer notice. The college will have to get part-time suitable cover and in the meantime, my poor overburdened colleagues will have to step in. And my students – the start of this new academic year has just got underway and students are adjusting to their new curriculum. Dropping them like this, just as they are getting going, will cause some problems, especially to those in my lowest level group. As well as being a course leader I’m also a ‘group tutor’ which means that I’m responsible for pastoral care for that particular group. Basically, this means I keep a close eye on their attendance and watch out for anything that may be hindering their progress e.g. bullying or family problems. It often means ringing their home and speaking to a worried Mum. Unless HR appoint someone who takes this part of the job seriously, my group’s PIs (performance indicators i.e. attendance figures, drop out rate, achievement of qualification, high grades etc)– will plummet. In my previous life as a Department Head, I know that this is really the only thing College Managers care about, other than funding. These ‘PIs’ inform league tables and future student intakes which all come down to ££££s. I so much more enjoy being at the coal face, actually teaching students and from time to time, have congratulated myself for stepping away from management by taking this job of teaching Art and Design at my local 6th form college.

Right now these college concerns seem surprisingly unimportant. I’m pleased when I get a prompt return email from HR telling me that my job remains open and wishing me and OH well – just to keep them informed. I don’t feel like having to respond to umpteen phone calls from family and friends, so I also send a group email to them saying that I will keep them informed as to OH’s progress by group email. Funny how things of seeming major importance suddenly recede when there is a different priority.

Our villa! I realize that not only have I not received any recent photos from L, but this is the first time I’ve thought of it for days! From today’s perspective, maybe the whole enterprise was a stupendous, ridiculous mistake. Maybe it was a way of not facing up to the immediate challenge – for both of us. Right now, as with College, I don’t care. Let them get on with the building – or not – I’ll think about it later.

OH remains motionless.

The monitors continue to whir and click and flash their patterns.

We, his closest loved ones, hover by his bed, two at a time – looking and praying for a sign of consciousness.

. . .  to be continued  . . .usually posted on Thursday

Offline gillian handbury

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Re: ArtyMar's blog: buying the dream
« Reply #239 on: October 08, 2015, 18:28:24 PM »
ArtyMar & OH....thinking of you and your family...
Hope you had a good flight back yesterday... We bought the sunshine back to UK....maybe for 1 day!! Roll on next Blog Thursday....




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