Friday, 22 March 2013



I was sure someone was calling me, but it seemed so distant, and the sound was slipping away into the quiet... In to peace once more.


There it was again. So urgent. Why were people shouting my name? I wanted to answer them, but I couldn't. I wanted to tell them to stop bothering me, to let me rest, but they carried on shouting my name. There was more than one person, there were lots of people. Why did they all sound scared, why were they all panicking?


Something was on my face. Get it off! Why was something covering my mouth and my nose. Who were all these people? Why couldn't I answer them? What was on my face?!

'Rebecca?! Bec?!'

Mum? I could hear Mum. Chris? Was that Chris, and Dad? But there were other people as well. They were talking fast, and it was scaring me, I could feel them acting in haste around me. My eyes felt heavy, but I wanted to see what was going on. I tried with all my might to wrench the lids away from my eye balls, but I could only see through slits. It was bright. Unfamiliar.
Hang on a minute!
Where was Anna?
My sister?
Was she OK?
I tried even harder to open my eyes, and straight away I focus on Mum's worried face. My eyes swiftly scanned around the faces that were staring at me. I didn't recognise anybody but, my family. Where was I? Last I remembered, I was in the cinema... Surely I wasn't still there.
It suddenly occurred to me that I was lying on the floor. What happened?
'Bec, you collapsed, we're still in the cinema.'
'Hello, Rebecca, can you hear me?' A woman dressed in green was looking down at me, her fingers pressed to my wrist, assessing my pulse. A paramedic? A man, dressed in the same green uniform was talking to Dad, and Chris. I looked round and finally spotted Anna's little white face, staring at me, she was sat behind one of the cinema chairs. She looked wide eyed, and worried, and I just wanted to go and sit with her.
I went to move my head, but as soon as I did a wave of nausea attacked my body, making me convulse... I  was going to be sick. The paramedics flipped me on my side in to the recovery position, but the sickness passed, and I just wanted to sleep. I didn't care that I was on the floor of the cinema, surrounded by strangers, I just wanted to close my eyes and slip back in to a state of unconscious. But before I knew it, the male paramedic was lifting me into my wheelchair, I realised that attached to my face was an oxygen mask, and as my body was being moved without my permission, I gulped in mouthfuls of pure oxygen, as I was smacked in the face once more with the unwelcome sensation of sickness.
I allowed my head to loll to one side, as I tried to ignore my body's urge to throw up, and while I was being wheeled out of the theatre, I glanced to the side to see rows, and rows of people staring back at me. I felt too poorly to allow myself to recognise how humiliating the situation was, but deep down I knew this would be a story that we would be telling for a long time.
Senior members of the Trafford Centre staff were meeting us at different points on the journey down to the ambulance but I had next to no energy to manage to even lift my head in acknowledgement. I needed to get out. I needed fresh air. I needed to be sick... very, very, sick.
I could hear the hushed, but worried tones, of the conversation my family were having with the female paramedic. My first outing since the stroke, ending in disaster... I fought the urge to cry.
Just get me home.
As Mum finalised our details with a manager from the Trafford Centre, and Anna and Chris kissed me goodbye, and promised to meet us at the hospital, Dad followed as the paramedic wheeled me in to the back of that, oh-so-familiar, ambulance, and the doors were only shut as soon as Mum was seated.
Squeezing my forehead with my right hand, I tried to answer the questions the paramedic was throwing at me, but my concentration could focus on nothing but the vomit that was rising through my body, and this time there was no stopping it. Quick thinking from Dad, I keeled over the grey cardboard bowl he held in front of me, and then when I had filled the first one, he rubbed my back as I began to empty my guts in to the second bowl.
Fluctuating from boiling to freezing every two minutes, with sweat dripping from my brow, and my body shaking uncontrollably, I closed my eyes as Dad stroked my head, and listened to Mum's worried sobs as we travelled closer to the hospital.
Chris and Anna were waiting for us as promised, and my poor sister looked terribly pale, her big brown eyes ringed with grey circles, and her hands shaking from the cold she couldn't escape.
As I lay in my bed on wheels in the hospital I had been discharged from only a couple of weeks ago, I listened to the story of what had happened in the cinema.
It all began as Dad heard Anna making a choking noise. He thought, at first, that she was coughing, but as he asked her if she was OK, he realised that she was choking. He shouted my Mum while at the same time, trying to wrench Anna's jaw apart, when he finally managed to get in to her mouth he had to pull her tongue from the back of her throat. While this was happening, I apparently grabbed the back of my Mum's top, and said, 'Mum, I'm going too,' and as she turned back to see if I was OK, I fell from my seat and began to shake uncontrollably. Mum who's attention was torn away from Anna, shouted Chris who had re-entered the cinema, (as he had been out to call an ambulance for Anna,) to help me. In the time from Chris re-entering the cinema, to see the commotion, Anna had come round and was  talking, and said she felt OK. Dad took over from Mum, and lifted me over the seats to Chris, so Chris could get me on the floor in a more open space. Mum went over to check on Anna. The first aid staff from the Trafford Centre, along with two nurses who had been watching the film, were apparently checking over my vitals, and giving me oxygen, all while I lay unconscious, being watched over by around 100 sets of strangers eyes.

At the same time as being told the story of the night's events, I was also being given an ECG which we all noticed was being checked over by more than one senior doctor... something wasn't right.

'Rebecca? I'm afraid we're going to have to keep you in.'