Late on Christmas Eve I wrote this post about how we were going to be having a quiet Christmas Day due to the fact my granny had just received surgery a couple of days prior, how I was looking forward to New Year and of course, positive thoughts on entering my 30s as my birthday is in between.
This post seems comical now. And also so long ago. If you follow me on Instagram you will know a little of this already.
Let’s rewind to Christmas Day, just to give you the full rundown of my disaster Christmas/Birthday/New Year.
My granny had gallbladder surgery on the Wednesday, keyhole, much easier with quicker recovery they say. She also believed that this would be the case, with full intentions of going into town and completing her Christmas shopping (along with the food shop) on Friday.
Looking back we all thought this was incredible, but the reality is that it is the same surgery inside your body. And she was discharged from hospital after less than 24 hours, which I now see is insane. It is not long enough.
Anyway, we took her home on the Thursday and she was exhausted so went straight to bed. We thought this was normal, she doesn’t take well to a general anaesthetic and she had just come out of surgery, of course your body would be tired.
Friday..she slept. She was taking fluids but not much food. Still, we put this down to the fact that she does not take well to GA and perhaps would take a little longer than the average person to shake off the effects of the anaesthetic. We did call the doctor to check on her (house visit, within the hour, incredible!) and he took bloods which came back normal.
Over the weekend she got up a little but spent an awful lot of time in bed, she was being sick and her breathing was rapid but she insisted she just needed rest. We were concerned but she didn’t want fuss (a trait us brits are terrible for). We suggested calling numerous times but she refused to talk to the doctor, and we agreed to hold off calling, for now. What else could we do?
She agreed to let us call on Christmas had things not improved overnight.
I can honestly say that no one in that house slept that night. It was awful. I think each time we began to relax, we would hear the sickness (tmi, sorry) and we were on full alert all over again.
But Christmas Day arrived and we all got up, exhausted. We began opening some presents..when she came through! Hurrah! Progress. She sat and watched us tiredly, opening a can of irn bru in the hope of relieving some of that gas they pump into you for surgery ( I know this isn’t advised but I think we were happy at her wanting to anything at that stage). But she was soon tired and went back to bed with intentions of showering soon after. Shortly, she came back and asked for two hot water bottles. Two! Although concerned, we obliged.
And then she got the shakes. And collapsed. She was chattering so hard that she couldn’t make sense. She couldn’t take in what anyone was saying to her. She couldn’t speak her own thoughts. She was grey. Green. Grey.
We called an ambulance. They were brilliant and arrived within minutes, which I am hugely thankful for. One look at her and they announced that infection was present. They took her into the ambulance, put her on a drip and took her back to the hospital. My grampa followed in the car straight after.
From then, we had a long wait for news. We did some washing, tidied the house and Christmas Day was long forgotten. It was the most bizarre situation. I would look at social media and see pictures of presents and of course, the long awaited Christmas dinner but it just seemed surreal. I could not correspond the two days as being the same. This was not Christmas. This is not what I had planned.
My grampa came back later that morning and after bumbling around like lost sheep for most of the day we went to the hospital as a family around 6pm.
She was in the high dependency unit (HDU) hooked up to wires upon wires, attached to numerous machines. It’s a scary sight to see a loved one look so..vulnerable. To feel so vulnerable yourself. I think it numbed us all.
After my granny received a light telling off from the surgeon for not calling earlier, we were informed that it was a severe case of sepsis. Thankfully I have refrained from searching and reading anything about sepsis on google (..unlike my mum and auntie who scared themselves further that Christmas night, as is usually the case with google diagnosis!).
Living in The Western Isles and being Christmas Day, when the majority of the country has inevitably shut down..the doctors decided that it be best to get her off the island should any further complications arise.
To throw in a little extra drama for effect (is it needed?)..there was a snow storm brewing, so after 6 hours in the hospital on Christmas Day, being given a diagnosis of severe sepsis and sitting by my poor granny, close to midnight..a recovery team arrived to do a quick turnaround and get her ready for flying.
The presence and efficiency of this team is a sight to behold. They walked into the HDU and without a word, everyone parted. They did what they needed to do and she was ready to fly. We got to say our goodbyes and in good humour..although I imagine partly doped up, my granny asked me to take a picture of her wrapped in blankets and bubble wrap..and they left for their flight back to Glasgow.
Normally a family escort can fly with the patient but due to the urgency and amount of equipment required, there was no room on this occasion. So the three of us went home for another sleepless night.
And it was a sleepless night.
There was nothing we could do. With no guarantee that she was going to arrive in Glasgow (and not be transferred to another city) due to the weather so we couldn’t book any transport. It was going to be Boxing Day and a lot of the flights were already full. And we were expecting bad weather so even if we could book..we were mindful that cancellations were likely. This is a big issue when living on an island. You can’t always get off.
The following morning we received confirmation that she was at QEUH in Glasgow. We were informed that she hadn’t had a great night, that she was very ill but we were fortunate enough to talk with her for a couple of minutes.
It is a scary notion to have someone you love, who is so ill.. somewhere in the unknown and to have to wait for information as to where they are, and more importantly, how they are. That is a horrible, horrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
The next dilemma would be trying to get off the island and to Glasgow ourselves. My grampa is 80 years old. He honestly couldn’t face a lot of broken journey options (ferry->bus->train..plane then train etc) and it was obviously quite distressing for him. He wanted to be nowhere else other than with my granny but he just couldn’t face a days travelling.
This was the Tuesday and I was booked on a flight back to Aberdeen on the Wednesday. Flights to Glasgow were full. Flights to Inverness were looking at around £400 ONE WAY! Flights to Edinburgh involved further travel by train which he didn’t want to do.
Luckily, there were still tickets available to Aberdeen. I booked him a ticket. I then called the airline and thankfully managed to change my booking to fly with him. Of course, this does involve further travel to reach Glasgow but there was comfort in doing this together.
Peter is a really good egg. His birthday is on Christmas Day and luckily, he got to celebrate this with his family. It may have been a tad overshadowed in our household but he was really brilliant and knowing how important this was, and how tired we were, he offered to drive us to Glasgow on Boxing Day.
After reaching Aberdeen on the lunchtime flight, we arrived in Glasgow at the QEUH at 8.30pm and went straight to the ward. Incredibly, the hospital have quite flexible visiting hours. Within reason. But we did get to see her. In Critical Care, conscious, happy to see us, but very ill.
We booked 2 nights in the Travelodge by the hospital and agreed to continue this until we got the all clear.
This post is a long one so I think I may break it into 2/3 individual posts, as it gets worse.
If you made it this far, I applaud you. And thank you.