Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Tragedy, Part 3

So I began the convoluted and disjointed tale of my tragedy a couple of months ago (Part 1 and Part 2 are here, and there). And then I stopped. Not because it was causing me great pain or drama, but because I ran out of steam to tell it. And I didn't get very far, and I am now making myself get back to it. Thus far, we crashed in the middle of nowhere on a hot summer's day and I had done a sterling job of breaking my neck and squelching my spinal cord. People stopped, angels flew over (or were they vultures?), the sun looked at us despairingly from her perch in the vast Karoo sky, and I landed up in ICU at a hospital in Bigger Town.

We transferred from Small Town to Bigger Town in a rickety ambulance. The Small Town hospital had an air of dusty despondency about it, unlike the big private hospital in Bigger Town (about 3 hours away) at which I found myself. Wheeling down the corridor on arrival I was surprised to notice tinsel and shiny red and gold balls attached to the ceiling of the passage... Christmas.

I was met there by my mother's university friend (and Godmother to my sister) who lived in the university town. My mother had phoned her with the news and she rushed to meet me and be with me until my mother arrived (she had to fly down). I remember feeling relieved to see her familiar face.

I'm trying really hard here to remember my thoughts and feelings but I think I've left it too long. I feel like I'm going to make them up, as if I'm thinking now, how all that whirl of chaos and drama would make me feel if it were happening to me now but I'm a different person, surely? Perhaps not.

At this juncture, though, it was just whirlwind. I was X-rayed from head to foot because I couldn't feel anything. I knew full well that I couldn't because every doctor/nurse/tea lady who came into my room seemed to have a pointy instrument with which they prodded me, starting at my feet and moving up, asking at 5-secondly intervals: "Can you feel that?" Right up until my upper chest... then I could feel it, bloody hell. And they kept telling me to move my foot/leg/hip. I couldn't.

I was put in ICU with two other people - a man who complained incessantly of being uncomfortable and a woman who, in hindsight, I think must've been psychotic. I was on morphine, it all seemed fine, if a bit noisy. I love morphine, just so you know.

My mother arrived. She flew, while my father drove below her in the direction of us, he would sleep over in a small dusty town and change direction when he heard I was to be airlifted out of there, heading toward the City Beneath the Mountain, to which I was transferred.

I don't remember much from that first night, a combination of shock and drugs, I'm sure. I just remember waking repeatedly to the discomfort of the man in the next bed, the wailing of the psychotic woman, and the beeping and disturbingly-human-like sounds of the ECG and ventilator machines. Somebody there must've been on a ventilator.

Next day I was airlifted to The City Beneath the Mountain, where my sister waited anxiously.

I need to stop there. Like I said, disjointed, I apologise.

Better disjointed and flowing, than buried deep within, right?


Anonymous said...

Can't be easy to write, but you're doing a good job.

family affairs said...

Keep going. What an extraordinary trauma for you and all involved Lx

Shiny said...

Thanks - I will keep going, I will (I am, at this point convincing myself... not you).

Happy Christmas to you x