I had survived my first night in ward E1.
After my 6am blood pressure check I lay their and witnessed the ward outside my lonely side room slowly become alive once again. The darkened corridors were lit with overly bright, unflattering, florescent lights. The attempt at whispers of the night staff were now forgotten and a normal (if not slightly heightened) volume of speaking was reinstated.
The nurses station was situated directly outside my room. I watched them gather for their scheduled morning meeting. I couldn't help but over hear them discussing the different patients. They talked about patients who had had problems in the night, patients who were booked in for X-rays and scans, patients who were going to be discharged later that day, and patients who had been newly admitted...Me. I heard my name being mentioned, and then my age, and some of the nurses couldn't contain their shock or sympathy. I had my eyes closed so if they looked in to my room, they would think I was sleeping. This allowed them to freely discuss me, without thinking I was eavesdropping... Little did they know.
The time was creeping on to around 8am, and I was still wide awake with my eyes closed wishing for my family to arrive and be by my side. I was still clueless as to what was going on, what was going to happen, how long I was going to be in hospital, what the next step was.
There was a knock on the door and my eyes were open in a heartbeat... Breakfast time.
The nurse helped me in to a sitting position, prepared all of my food so it was easily accessible for my right hand to feed myself, and made sure I was comfortable before she left me alone to eat. I stared at the tray in front of me. I wasn't particularly hungry. I didn't want the cornflakes; there's nothing worse than soggy cereal. I stared at the brown, bread roll. The nurse had buttered it for me on one side, and put jam on the other. I took a bite, not expecting much of a reaction from it... but it was nice. I enjoyed it. I lay my head back and chewed at the bread slowly. I then took a gulp out of the small carton of apple juice, not realising how thirsty I was... it was gone in about 2 seconds.
After breakfast it was time for medication. It was becoming clear that this place was very regimented, and I was sure it wouldn't be long before I became familiar with the routine.
Mum and Dad had bought me a telly card before they left the hospital the previous night, so I turned my attention to the small screen and switched on ITV to watch Lorraine, I knew that the following programme was Jeremy Kyle, and I remember thinking that watching that would maybe make me feel slightly better about the situation I was currently in!
Finally, I heard familiar voices greeting the nurses. My family had arrived. Mum, Dad, Anna and my lovely Chris walked in to my room, they were all smiles, but their eyes couldn't hide their worry and sadness. Mum's face was still red and blotchy, and, like me, I don't think any of them had gotten much sleep. But we were reunited... I wasn't alone any more.
Mum and Dad went off to talk to one of the nurses (I'm guessing to ask what the next step would be,) and Anna and Chris kept me company, asking me how well I'd slept, and telling me how they'd got a Chinese takeaway on their way home from the hospital the night before.
My parents came back with the news that I would be seeing the consultant on his rounds, an MRI scan had been booked for me and I would be seeing the physio team, asap. Mum and Dad had brought with them some home comforts; clean pyjamas, a new dressing gown and slippers, and toiletries.
I was desperate for the toilet to the point where my bladder was hurting. I had been too embarrassed to tell the nurse that I needed to go, so I waited for my mum. It took the help of a nurse and my dad to assist me off the bed and on to a wheel chair, and my mum wheeled me in to the nearest bathroom.
Before this I had always been quite conservative when it came to showing off my body. I never allowed my mum or sister in to the bathroom when I was showering, and they never saw me getting changed. But now I had no choice other than to be liberal. My independence had been snatched away and I could no longer do anything on my own. I had to deal with this situation in the best way I knew how, and that was to laugh. I joked that this was the first time mum had had to shower me, help me go to the toilet and see me naked since I was a baby, and mum said that I would always be her baby, and when it's all girls together, who cares! After my 'sit down' shower she wrapped me up in a towel and cuddled me tight. I felt like I was a baby again, and I felt safe in her arms. I didn't want her to let me go.
When I was dry and in my fresh pyjamas, I was wheeled back to the room, and not long after that I was greeted by part of the physio team. From the off they were lovely, and they made it clear that I would be seeing them a hell of a lot throughout the duration of my stay on ward E1. They made a few visual assessments, and then performed most of the physical tests that I had already taken part in the day before, and when they were finished they said they would devise a schedule of when they were going to work with me and deliver it back to my room later in the day.
I was in their hands. I was now relying on them to help make my body work again.
I could only hope that whatever they had planned for me would work...