Here’s one of the reasons why the NHS is so dear to me ❤️

So fast forward 5 years ago when I had my colectomy, which is the removal of the large bowel. I was just 18 years old, confident that the risks of the surgery wouldn’t apply to me. I was wrong, very wrong. 10 days after the op I was rushed in to theatre as my stomach had exploded due to sepsis and peritonitis. During the surgery they accidentally bursted a abscess in which was containing the sepsis. Meaning now it was swimming round in my blood stream, infecting every organ. I was so unstable following the op that I had to stay in recovery for 2 days with an anaesthetist who’s shift finished moments after my surgery, the man stayed and held my hand and stroked my head and comforted me through my delerium. He was amazing and I well up when I think of him because he wasn’t supposed to be on shift but he knew I needed him.

Once I was more stable I was admitted to ICU, where I was diagnosed with peritonitis, sepsis, pericarditis, pneumonia, collapsed lungs, pleurisy, kidney failure, liver failure, pulmonary embolisms and intestinal failure. My doctor in the ICU gave me family warning that it’s possible I wouldn’t make it, I’d already flatlined previously in theatre and recovery. He thought it was to much for my body. My family was cross with the notion that they weren’t being positive so I was assigned a new doctor who was amazing. He looked at me and knew I had the strength to fight, he wasn’t going to give up and neither was I. He was honest and that’s what I needed he told me that if I don’t get the fire in my belly back that I’d die so I wanted to push and fight. The nurses were incredible, they’d read the news headlines to me so I was aware of time, they washed and dressed my broken body, each time I deteriorated they’d reassure me and got me help straight away. When I was delirious from the infection and got agitated and wanted to rip my drips and wires out they held and cried for me. When the pain was unbearable they’d play music that my family said I’d liked and sang until my pain medication took effect. They’d tell me each day how special and what a miracle I was. This all happened the summer before university, worried I wouldn’t cut the grades my medical team wrote a letter to the university telling them how hounered they should be to have me as one of their nursing students. I was in ICU for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks I was blue lighted to the High Dependency Unit at Salford Royal. Here the nurses were helping me to accept what I’d been through. They sat and listened to me cry about how scared I was and what I wanted them to do should I pass away. They cried when I cried. They laughed when I laughed and they fought when I needed to fight. One day the physiotherapist was helping me move mucus from my chest when I asked them if I could attempt to walk, the physio laughed and said I was at to high of a risk of falling but after 12 weeks I’d lost so much weight and muscle mass. I was 6.5 stone because I couldn’t eat orally as my intestines were failing to absorb and excrete. I knew after HDU I was getting a bed on the Intestinal Failure Unit, there’s only two of them in the country. The physios had me doing basic exercises from my bed but it just wasn’t enough, I wanted out of the bed. Eventually I met my first target of sitting in a chair, it took 5 staff due to how weak I was and all my tubes, drains and drips. The face of the nursing staff and the physio I’ll never forget, one of the older nurses cried and then I could tell how much nurses and health care workers care. I was the talk of the unit for a week, every nurse, HCA, doctor and worker was thrilled by my small but mighty progress. Each day I fought so hard.

Eventually I got transferred over to the intestinal failure unit. Here I finally learnt about my stoma, the stoma nurses worked hard with me to accept it and taught me how to care for it, they was in awe of how well I accepted it. I was on IV feeding called TPN I was on it 4 months, hadn’t eaten since the day I was admitted. The teams worked tirelessly with my rehabilitation mentally & physically. I got there in the end after a 8 month stint of hard work, the day I left the hospital the nurses and doctors all commented on what a miracle I was and that I’m alive due to hard work and determination.

I’ve been admitted 14 times over five years, each time I’m met with the best treatment and guidelines possible. I’ve had numerous surgeries since including the removal of my rectum and anus, tumour excision and biopsies, small bowel resection and stoma refashioning.

I have a specialist nurse and a GP who are amazing, they are on hand every step of the way, just a telephone call away at any given time. On the days I just want to fall asleep and never wake they give me reassurance that everything will be okay whatever the outcome. They support my partner just as much as me as carers need support also.

I’ve had the privilege to work in the NHS, I’ve seen the other side of what it’s like to nurse. Be there at the beginning of life and hold hands at the end. Support those who are vulnerable and have the privilege to nurse patients through their individual journeys.

Without being biased I think healthcare workers are the definition of hero’s but I worry with political challenges that we might not see the 80th birthday of the NHS. I know for a fact, I would not be here without the NHS and it’s staff ❤️

I Currently I rely on the NHS for a multitude of serious health complaints, I wouldn’t last a day without the NHS.

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