Wednesday, 24 July 2013

My New Friend

'...Why did you think she'd had a heart attack?' My Mum asked the nurse.
I lay there, silent, waiting for her to answer.
'Well Rebecca's unusual ECG results were similar to that of a person who has had a heart attack.'
'But I've not?' I asked.
'No, your blood tests came back negative which is good news obviously, but we're still unsure why your results were unusual, so we're going to run a few more tests and keep an eye on you for a couple of days. It may just turn out to be one of those freak things with no explanation. For now I think you should have a couple of hours sleep and I'll be back later when we have a heart trace monitor available.'
'OK, thank you.'
'No worries Rebecca, if you need anything just press your buzzer.'
'I don't want you to leave me Mum.'
'I've got to Bec, they seem to be strict about visitors here, and it means I can sleep at home while you're sleeping here.'
'OK then, but make sure you're back dead on two o'clock.' On my last word I let out the hugest of yawns, so big it made my eyes water.
'I will do sweet heart. I best get back and let Dad and Chris know how you are, and see how Anna is doing.'
'OK, see you later then.'
'See you at two.'
Mum kissed me, and waved until she was out of sight. I flopped back on my pillow and grabbed my phone to see multiple missed calls off Chris. I rang him to tell him what the nurse had said and he shared the confused relief that both Mum and I had expressed. After Chris and I exchanged our, 'See you later's' and, 'Love you's,' I put my phone back on the bedside cupboard and attempted to get comfortable for a well needed nap. Since having the stroke tiredness was a feeling I was becoming used to. Not a day had gone by where I hadn't needed to take a long nap, and even with the extra sleep I was having, my body's energy levels were at an all time low.
Pulling the thin hospital covers up to my neck and wrapping my right arm under my pillow I settled down in to my new hospital bed, and in one, short blink I was swept into sleep.
It was just after midday when I was awoken by a nurse who was hovering over me with a blood pressure cuff. As if it was second nature I held out my right arm to her and pointed my finger so she could click on the oxygen monitor, after she'd shoved the thermometer in my ear and the cuff had ceased squeezing my arm, she seemed satisfied enough to leave me in peace once more.
My neck felt stiff from the position in which I'd slept, so I pushed myself into an almost seated position and took a proper look around my new hospital bay. The young woman in the corner had and oxygen mask on, but seemed contented as she watch her little hospital TV and flicked through a magazine in unison. Her hospital table was covered in magazines and an array of fruit juices, there were bunches of flowers on the window ledge next to her, and if I wasn't mistaken a huge box of biscuits perched on the shelf of the cabinet next to her bed. The lady in the bed straight ahead of me appeared to be in her eighties or even nineties. She looked frail and small, and was propped up in her bed a drip tube, leading from a stand to her arm which was covered up by blankets... I hadn't seen her open her eyes since getting to the ward.
Sighing, I looked to my right, to see the old lady in the bed next to me looking right back at me. Slightly startled, I quickly said, 'Hello,' and smiled.
'Did you have a nice sleep love? You were snoring your pretty little head off.' She giggled as she said this, and I could instantly see kindness in her eyes.
'Oh gosh, was I disturbing you?' I asked, embarrassed by my small sinuses betraying me!
'Of course you didn't love, it was nice to see you have a good rest. I do struggle to sleep in this place.'
'Oh no do you? I could probably sleep anywhere. I'm so tired all the time. How long have you been in here?'
'6 days,' The lady replied, 'I only came to get my bad cough checked out, and I've been in here ever since. They say I've got pneumonia, but I'm feeling much better than I did. I just worry about my husband, because he's been in hospital a few weeks, and they've not let me visit him.'
'Is he in this hospital?' I asked.
'Yes, and I visited him every day. He's due to be discharged soon,but he won't be able to go home if I'm not there. He's not well enough to look after himself properly. We have no children you see. I'd have loved to have a baby, but it never happened for us. We have fabulous friends and neighbours though, and I'm sure if needs must, they'll take care of my husband till I can.'
'I'm sure he'll be fine,' I replied to the nice old lady, 'I'm sure he's just as worried about you, as you are about him.'
'Yes I suppose you're right. So what brings you here today?' The lady sat up, slowly shifted her legs off the bed one at a time, and while wrapping her dressing gown around her, timidly took the few steps over to her arm chair, and settled herself down.
'Well I collapsed while I was at the cinema last night and was unconscious for a few minutes. I was really sick afterwards as well, and they didn't seem to be too happy with my ECG results. I also had a stroke last month, that's why my left arm and leg don't work properly, and why I'm so tired all the time, and I think that's why they're being extra cautious about this.'
'A stroke? You poor love! How old are you?'
'Twenty one.'
'Oh love, you're too young to go through all of this. How are you coping? And you're family? Your poor parents.' The lady looked close to tears, and I didn't know where to look.
'Oh you know, I have good days and bad. We all do. My Mum cried for a full 48 hours at the beginning, but since then she's been more than amazing. My whole family have. I'm very lucky. You'll get to meet them at visiting hours.'
My new friend and I chatted for the next couple of hours and being without my Mum wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. Selfishly I hoped the lady wouldn't leave hospital until I did, just so I would have someone to chat to, some company. Hospitals are scary, and even though they're filled with people- staff and patients alike, they can be lonely places. You have a lot of time to think, to wallow, to be scared. The hours drag by, with the same four walls staring in on you day and night... But with someone there, someone just to chat to, it makes it that little bit easier.
As two o'clock arrived I looked up to see Chris coming round the corner followed by my Mum and Dad. I introduced them all to my new friend, just as her friends entered the bay to sit with her for a couple of hours. As we both turned our backs to each other and our attentions to our loved ones, I realised my angst had cleared slightly, as I knew when my family had left me once more, I would have my new companion to turn to...        


  1. Becca Ive been reading your blogs since last year, your writing is beautiful and you really draw me in with your story. Your a very brave women, keep up the blog posts as I look forward to reading them. x

  2. making friends in hospital was the only thing that kept me from going insane. I spent 6 months on the same ward with an absolutely wonderful room mate, we grew very close, her family treated me like I was family. while I was pleased to finally get home after 9 months I was sad because my friend was still in hospital. she didnt get home for another 5 weeks, and then sadly she had a relapse and died in the December. I was heartbroken and I miss her every day.

  3. Becky

    Another great piece of writing - I do so identify with so much of your descriptions!

    Mike (60yr old stroke survivor!)

  4. Hello Beccy,
    I have been reading through your blog and I can totally relate how you feel/felt about having people to help you use the loo and shower, you see on Dec 7th 2012 I had a fall which resulting in me being paralysed from the waist down. I too keep a blog on here - learningtowheel. if you want to chat at all then as away at anything you want or even just to rant. You truly are an inspiration and I am so sorry to hear what you have been through.
    Lauren x

  5. At this time it sounds like Movable Type is the preferred blogging platform out there right now. (From what I've read) Is that what you're using in your blog?
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