Tuesday April 12th
After a night of disturbed reflective sleep, I was up early at 6.00am. The management of the hotel had given us a splendid suite of rooms, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a fully equipped kitchen. All night long I was pondering on the resuscitation team and wondering how they appeared so quickly to save Helen’s life. Do they sit around smoking a fag and drinking cups of whatever waiting for an emergency to arise or are they dragged at a moments notice from all areas of the hospital. Wherever they came from it does not really matter, they like Jesus brought Lazarus/Helen back to life for which I am and will be eternally grateful. However she has still a long road to travel. Her father and a good few of his brothers and two of Helen’s brothers had died suddenly of heart failure. We were lucky in that she decided to go into arrest in the best possible place.
We rang intensive care, who told us Helen had a comfortable night and that she was going down for an angiogram at 10.00am and not to come before lunch time. We got a bus into Eyre Square and walked the tourist trail down Shop St, into the Church of Ireland cathedral to look at the tattered remains of the Connaught Rangers Colours presented by the regiment over a 100 years before. We had lunch in the King’s Head and toured the Catholic cathedral looking for the stained glass window dedicated to the Connaught Rangers and slowly made our way to the hospital.
We were in the waiting room when Helen came up in the lift, still sedated, still surrounded by many screens, still looking like a pin cushion with all the apparatus stuck in her body but with a thumbs up from the doctor who accompanied the porters. After about an hour Louise arrived from England with young Albie and we were let in to see her two at a time. She was pale, still sedated but she had been cleansed of spouts of blood, all the machines and screens were working and telling the tale to the medical observers. The only thing I recognised was her blood pressure being very low but the constant and steady bleep, bleep telling us her heart was beating and working in a regular manner.
She was a mass of bruises, on her legs, arms, throat and chest but she was living, breathing and fighting. Her body moved slightly, her eyes flickered open, she held her hand out to me which I tenderly grasped and then she fell back into her sedated state. She said afterwards that she remembered seeing Jamie with me. We took it in turns to sit with her for a while and the sister told us the results of the angiogram. The angiogram is a thin tube with a camera at the tip which is inserted into a large vein in the groin and it goes round the body looking for clots or damage to the cardiac system. No clots were found, no stents needed, her heart and blood vessels were as clear as the day she was born. The medics were scratching their heads at this point.
We went back to the hotel, had a feed and a few drinks and slept a better sleep than the previous night.
Wednesday 13th April
The hotel rang us early, a haematoma had occurred in the groin underneath the skin caused by the thinners that Sligo had pumped into her body to ensure any clot was dissolved, these thinners had stopped the vein, where the angiogram incision was made, from healing and was haemorraging blood into her flesh. She had to go down to surgery, drain the haematoma and reseal the vein. After lunch we arrived again, by now Katy had arrived from Morocco and Paul from Manchester. Helen was coming round after sedation, by now a lot of the tubes and lines had been removed. She was still being fed by a tube down her throat and could not speak. Her colour was coming back and things were looking good. After a few hours we left, she was very tired and needed peace.
I was feeling guilty about the free hotel rooms and saw the receptionist. I told her it was very nice of the hotel to put us up for nothing the first night but that I would like to pay for the rest of the stay, she smiled went away and quickly returned to say that Shay Livinstone, the hotel manager, had said we were to pay for nothing. I walked away embarrassed and emotional. At times like this man’s humanity shines through.
Thursday 14th April
Into hospital early and we found Helen in good form, the feeding tube had been removed and she was croakily able to speak a few words. Everybody by now was relaxed, things were improving by the day. By now I was in the same clothes for four days and people tended to shy away from me. Louise , Albie and I decided to head back to Boyle and sort the house out and clean ourselves up. Katy and Paddy Jo stayed on for another day.
Friday 15th April
By now there was talk of Helen being sent back to Sligo, beds were scarce in Galway’s ICU. Katy and Paddy were with her and we stayed put. They joined us in Boyle that evening with the news that there was no beds available and that the hospital was on lockdown because of the novo virus bug. No admissions only emergency ones and no visitors. Paul went back to Manchester today.
Saturday 16th April
Louise, Paddy, Albie and I drove down to Galway, a tedious two hour drive of 80 odd miles on bad roads. Katy had said her goodbyes and had taken the plane to Gatwick on her first leg home. Helen thankfully was in great shape, I wheeled her down for scans and sonar examinations, the medics were still scratching their heads as to the cause of her attack and were examining every part of her body, lungs, kidney, liver and brain to find out where the clot originated but without a clot it was difficult. Everywhere they looked was trouble free.
We were not too bothered, we had her back and that was all we could think of. The staff in Galway ICU were great and they allowed us to come and go as we pleased whilst they got on with looking after some very serious looking cases. We returned to Boyle with no news of the return to Sligo.
Sunday 17th April
Louise had to get back to Manchester and there was news that Danny, his wife Helena and their two boys Hamzah and Yayah had left Bradford in Yorkshire, heading for Holyhead. We were heading for Galway again and Louise said she would cook us all a meal before she left for Knock. Down we went taking a different route to escape the boredom. Helen was in fine form, no more tubes or lines. Danny arrived at 4.00pm having made great time from Dublin, unfortunately the kids were only allowed in for a few minutes. We stayed for an hour and made the journey back home, leaving Helen in even better form and in good care. Louise had made a wonderful vegetable Biryani and a Chana Dahl for the visitors which was gobbled down after their long day travelling. Yayah, at nine months old was also starting to travel. He made his first three steps that evening.