Real Time Short Stories

I’ll Be C-ing U

Posted on: November 14, 2014

It shouldn’t produce separation anxiety. It’s not like it’s meant to have been a holiday or an exchange trip or something huggable like that but there’s a bed being prepared for me in High Dependency and after the induced coma, period of intubation before the first hernia op, the two seizures on successive nights and getting back to communication with the outside world the last couple of days, my shift nurse Evangeline has just brought me a jelly but I’m struggling to find anything else to keep her busy. Looks like I’ll be out of the ICU tonight and,  in the absence of a way home, I’m not sure I want to leave this family.

The first lesson I absorbed was to let these incredible professionals get on with their jobs. Show trust and it’ll be given back. Smile and wave at everyone because each one is doing something that’s going to lower the wall you’re trying to climb. Like the housekeeping staff who noticed I’d been writing my conversation when intubated, so provided a little wipe-down board and marked pen. Like Jess who managed to get me to focus on my breathing during my seizure two nights ago when I was ready to declare myself unavailable for future struggle. Every wise eyebrow raised by young Max as he swings past in slow-mo.

And that’s without the relationship that builds over a shift with a dedicated, alert, compassionate nurse dealing the best scientific and human care. The ICU really belongs to these nurses and, for those times when I was conscious, I’ll not forget Lucy, making the weirdest feeling of my life feel normal and under control; lovely Big Dave, who felt like a trusted friend within about 10 seconds; Dave Beard who I know will wage war on my behalf and that, if I ever had another kid, I’ll have to name it Sambucha in his honour; exquisite Kieron, a mighty strength applied to a precise point; Chrissie, whose last shifts before her maternity leave had got me back to what I recognised as being alive, even though I slipped back before she clocked off; Efriz, whose dancer’s poise and gentle pride in his work were as inspirational to watch as Ian’s care to not miss a detail or Sara’s immediate capacity to spark good spirits; or Alfie, against whose rock-like strength I was never allowed to slump during the four nights he kept me going.

Evangeline has brought me some bangers and mash. I’m going to miss this place.

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