Monday 18th April
An early phone call from Galway ICU telling us not to come down as Helen was being bundled into an ambulance and being taken back to Sligo and to ring Sligo ICU that afternoon. I rang at 4.00pm and was told that Helen had arrived but that we could not see her. There was still a lockdown because of the Novo virus and no visitors. We, ie. Paddy Jo, Danny, Helena and myself cleaned the house in readiness for her release. We sat and talked, some of us drank wine, others tea.
Tuesday 19th April
We rang at 10.00am but still given a bum’s rush by the ward only news that she was improving. She also got the hang of her new mobile phone and was able to accept calls from us. She was in good spirits and sad to hear Paddy had to get back to Dublin today.
Wednesday 20th April
Restrictions were relaxed, we piled in the car and went down to Sligo. I wheeled her down to x-ray for a scan on her kidneys and another sonar something or other. Helen was in great form and anxious to come home. We stayed a couple of hours and came home. Later that day Helen rang and told me the wound in her groin was infected again and that she had to go down for further surgery to cut away the dead skin and flesh, both sides were blaming the other hospital for this further infection. By now after three invasions at this spot the wound was large and deep and causing some concern to the nursing staff.
Thursday 21st April
We went down early but refused entry by a seemingly paranoid ward sister who in all fairness was only doing her job. So back home it was another 70 miles on mileometer for nothing but at least we were able to pass on to the sister some change of clothing for Helen. She rang me that evening to ask me alone to come in the following morning to see the doctor.
Friday 22nd April
A phone call at 8.30am from the consultant Dr Finan asking me to be available at the ward at 10.00am as she would like to speak to me. I was there and she led me into Helen’s room, by this time I was shaking a little, it all seemed to serious. Dr Finan sat me down next to Helen and explained how her heart was good, damage to the left wall which would heal itself in time and working at 75% efficiency which again would improve. There was no need for any further action in that area. They were very pleased with the outcome.
The groin wound was large and would take some time to heal, there was signs that the infection had been beaten but care, rest and nutrition was needed in hospital for at least another week if not longer. The results of the scan on her kidneys done on Wednesday was not that good because a spot had been found which could either be a cyst, which was no harm or it could be a cancerous growth but only a urologist would know and a date was fixed to see her on Tuesday 26th April. Dr Finan explained that she was going on holiday but that another consultant had been asked to manage Helen over the next week. Helen was not in the least worried by this news that had only been discovered by chance and had nothing at all to do with her condition. She said to me quitely that she had taken her GC Maff which had come from Switzerland some weeks before and that had cured her arthritis. GC Maff is a new drug that reboots the body’s immune system and is mainly used as a cancer cure but it is banned in England and Ireland probably because it is too good and if allowed to be given to all would spoil the cancer industry, which is massive.
Saturday 23rd April
Restrictions back on, Danny and Helena had to go back to Bradford with the kids. I was now on my own and feeling it. My e-mailing list had grown to large proportion and I spent my day assuring everybody that things were good and that Helen should be out in about a week’s time.
Sunday 24th April
Still no visiting and Helen was going up the wall with boredom and hospital life. She had refused them any more blood tests or any other invasion of her body. She wanted out and would willingly sign herself out. The temporary consultant was called out and he spent an hour with Helen and the nursing sister discussing the case. Helen wanted to go, the sister wanted her to stay, the consultant was ambivalent but took Helen’s forthrightness into consideration and told Helen to ring me and for me to be at the hospital at 9.00am the following morning when he would look at her condition then and decide.
Monday 25th April
I was there at the appointed time, Helen had been moved to a medical ward the previous night and after short time the doctor arrived followed by entourage. Again he made a half hearted attempt to persuade Helen to stay but the bit was between her teeth, she smelled the fresh air, like a young horse kept in the stable for winter, she was bucking, there was no stopping her. However formalities had to be overcome. It was arranged now that the urologist would see her in out-patients in a couple of weeks time, the district nurse had to be contacted and daily visits to dress the wound had to be arranged. Also her long forgotten heart would be further inspected in out-patients in a months time and that was arranged. Prescriptions had to be written out, letters had to be written. All of which took several hours. We shared the hospital lunch, which was very good. Helen had always said the old story about rotten hospital food certainly did not apply in either Galway or Sligo. Eventually at 3.00pm we were released. Was I glad to get her home. She was looking ten years younger, she weighed 62 kilos and was looking great. It was her positivity that had made this happen.
Tuesday to Sunday 26th April to 1st May
Daily visits from some very able district nurses as the wound slowly started to heal. On Tuesday Helen was very tired and subdued but by Sunday she was yelling out orders for me. Neighbours came round knowing by her shouts that she was home. Things were slowly returning to normal. I kept the kids informed on a daily basis. Again it was time for reflection and time to count our lucky stars that she was where she was when it happened. In chronological order I would like to thank the following for helping to bring my dear wife back to me.
- Dr Barry Cosgrove of Boyle Health Centre
- The Acute Assessment Unit at Sligo Hospital
- The Resuscitation Team at Sligo Hospital
- Dr Kathleen Finan at Sligo Hospital
- The two helicopter pilots who took her to Galway
- Mary Menton and Robin for driving me to Galway that first day
- All the staff of the Intensive Care Unit at Galway Hospital
- All my children for dropping everything and scurrying to Galway
- Mr Gerry Hallahan of Ballyvourney in Cork
- Mr Shay Livinstone of the Connaught Hotel in Galway
- All the staff of the Intensive Care Unit at Sligo hospital
- All our friends and neighbours who showed concern. We have had e-mails, letters and cards from Australia, Greece, Morocco, France, Spain Sweden, England, all over Ireland, America and Canada. We thank you ever so much.
Improvement, relaxation, sleep and a glass or two of wine are the order of the day as Helen returns to normality and we thank our lucky stars. Helen had masses of instruments and screens to aid her recovery, Lazarus only had Jesus but I do not believe that old baloney. Do you?