I awoke suddenly in the early hours of the morning unsure of what had woken me. I listened and there was a heavy banging on my front door, I glanced at my phone at it was 4am!!
That can’t be good, I thought to myself… someone must have died! 😳
I opened the bedroom window, stuck my head out and there on the door step were 2 paramedics, I asked them which house they were looking for and he replied… number 4 😬 but I didn’t call an ambulance I told him, baring in mind I love my sleep and I was standing naked chatting to a ambulance man… I thought he was mad! He then told me to open the door and that the results of my blood test yesterday showed I was in renal shutdown. What the hell that was I wasn’t too sure but I was about to find out.
So standing in my bedroom in my knickers and bra with 2 ambulance crew helping me put some things into a carrier bag wasn’t how I planned to start my Saturday morning. The whole house was awake now and my son Luke was worried as was I now. As they bundled me into the ambulance I started to throw up and spewed all the way to the Royal United Hospital in Bath. The crew were amazing and looked after me all the way. When I arrived in the ED I was made to wee into a pot, have blood tests, scans and an ECG on my heart. I still didn’t know really how serious it was, I thought they were just covering all bases, just like they do on casualty. I thought I’d better text Nick my boss as I thought I might be pushing it to get home in time to start my 8.30am shift. Texted a few of my nearest and dearest and got comfy in my bed.
Several hours later and after a cheese sandwich they came to tell me I was being moved later that day to the renal unit at Southmead hospital in Bristol. They were waiting for a bed and they would move me by ambulance when I had one. Damn I thought to myself, I guess I won’t be working tomorrow either now!
At 7pm on Saturday the 24th of November the same ambulance crew that had picked me up that morning from my house arrived in Bath to bus me to Bristol, again I threw up all the bloody way! At one point we had to stop as my blood pressure was reading 251 over 110 and I knew that was pretty impressive. 😳
Arriving at Southmead I was taken straight up to 8b and given a bed in a ward with three other ladies. It was late and I was very tired but first I has to pee some more into a jug and have lots more bloods taken. Then get hooked up to another ECG and a drip. I had cannula’s in each hand and one in my arm. I was scared. It was about now I had the bright idea to put up a very unflattering photo of me hooked up to oxygen and looking rather crap and post it on Facebook to let all my friends know what a poo day I had had!
My phone went bonkers with messages and comments, so much so I just couldn’t respond to them all, but if you sent me a message that day please know you taking the time to talk to me made such a difference and made me feel like I wasn’t so alone.
I settled in for the night and hoped that someone would come to see me the next day.
Sunday morning they woke us early, who wants to get up for breakfast at 6.30am on a weekend! The nurses told me that the consultant would be round to see me after my Weetabix. I was relieved, I felt sure that I would be going home later that day, maybe with some pills to take or something.
My consultant Alison came to see me at about 9.30 am and drew the curtains around my bed and asked if she could take a seat. She looked me straight in the eye and said to me ” I’m sorry Melanie, but I have some bad news for you” … “Your kidneys are only functioning at 4% and they are not going to get better, we need to get you onto dialysis as soon as possible….
She asked me if I had any questions, and of course I couldn’t think of a thing to ask at the time. She said she’d leave me to process the information and she gave me some leaflets to read on my condition.
Most people in renal failure have to start dialysis when their kidney function gets to 10%, mine were way past that and they couldn’t believe I’d been working full time and trying to do gym classes with my renal function so low.
I was in shock, if you know me well, you will know I am a bit of a crier but no tears came. Then I had the task of contacting Steven to let him know how I was, so he could update our children and let my Mum and Dad know.
Things in a few hours got very real and very scary.
My Sister Helen was on the way to Bristol to see me and arrived just before lunch time, we had only just started to chat but there and then she said to me without hesitation, Mel if you need one, you can have one of mine and then they came to get me to take me to have a line fitted in my groin so that I could start to dialyze.
I never realised at the time but I really would need her kind offer of that life saving organ. So my line insertion should have taken about 45 minutes, but typically I do things in style and 2 hours later I still had no line in and was very sore and scared. They took me back to my bed long enough to eat my lunch and took me back down again to have another go. This was turning into the afternoon from hell, my veins weren’t playing ball with the wire that needed to be inserted and after a further three hours of trying I was in tears and had well and truly had enough.
Back I go to my bed, where the rest of my family had arrived and were waiting for me.
Dad was pacing the floor and my Mum looked sick. Steve brought Emily and Luke so I tried to keep a brave face on things, but I really really wanted to cry.
They told me they would need to take me down to x-ray and do the procedure there so that the doctor could see where to thread the wire. This time they were going to insert the line in my chest, my right boob to be exact. So for the third time that day I waved goodbye to my family and was wheeled off to have my line fitted.
An hour later and it was done, conscious though-out and I came back to my bed with my hair matted in my own blood and my poor tit looking like someone had butchered it with a knife. It was now they wheeled in my life saving machine and I dialyzed for the first time, something I have had to do every other day and now every day since.
I had dialysis every day for the next three days for 4 hours at a time to remove all the poisons built up in my body. It made me feel tired, giddy and a little sick, but I knew now it was going to keep me alive. I didn’t have many visitors in the days that followed as it was such a long way for anyone to come, but my school friend Paula came to see me and we laughed and gave each other advice, I was so pleased to see her, she will never know how much. All I wanted to know now was when could I go home and what was going to happen when I did?
Could I still work? I adore my job.
Could I still drive my car?
Could I lead a normal life?
So many questions were buzzing around in my head…
Stupidly I thought as soon as they would let me out that things would get back to normal… how wrong was I!!