Posted by sean on November 27, 2019 at 10:15 am in Health, Roman with No Comments

Artwork Corner 

Some lovely pieces of art, I have kindly been sent, while in hospital.

If anyone else wants to send me more art, it’ll be gracefully received – especially original work from Banksy and Monet. Basically, anything with a high resale value. Please include certificates of authenticity.

.By Eliza – my Mum’s partner’s granddaughter. Aged 3.


By Madeline Herbert – my aunt. Aged 60, A professional artist, whose work includes artwork on the movie ‘Hot Fuzz’


Roman – my house rabbit. Aged 1 year and 9 months. Not art, but one cute bunny.

Posted by sean on November 27, 2019 at 8:13 am in Health with No Comments

Light at the End of the Tunnel

After I hit rock bottom, things started to improve.

Just as fast as they had arrived, the delusions and disturbing dreams ceased. I was back in the land of reality and normality… well, “normality” is certainly debatable!

The physiotherapists, who I normally hate, but had been desperate to see, even arrived; meaning that you should be careful what you wish for.

After a rather heated conversation, where Claire, my Dad and I explained to a group of physios what it was and was not possible for me to do, we found a way in which we could all work together.

Across the opening days of my second week in Southmead, I was brought to the edge of the bed and coached into standing. This may sound very basic stuff, but remember that up until this point, I had been led flat on my back, for an entire week. My two arms both remained very painful, following multiple fractures, and I had broken a leg. To add to the complexity of this military operation, I was in the unfortunate situation whereby, up until the accident, I would always use my hands and arms to push myself upwards, from seated positions. Now that these limbs were broken, absolutely no weight could be put through them.

Despite this setback, I managed to persevere with the physiotherapy, discovering improvements on a daily basis.

I was told that I was now too fit to remain in Southmead and that I should be sent closer to home – the Royal United Hospital – for rehabilitation. After a Tuesday evening of great stress, where at one point it looked like I would be transferred during the middle of the night, I was moved on Wednesday afternoon.

My new ward was called Pierce – one of a few trauma and orthopaedic wards within the RUH. While I still dislike being in hospital, I was round the corner from home, and the entire ward seemed a much more pleasant place to be. Was it the case that I was almost happy?

I will admit to wondering where the hell I had been sent, initially; when, on the first evening, an elderly man demanded to speak with his wife. Considering the time, the nursing staff refused to allow him to ring his other half, instead promising him access to a telephone in the morning. This resulted in the man screaming for an hour. By his own admission, this was in an act of defiance, against what he felt to be an unfair decision. He would repeatedly soil himself and the bed, presumably as part of a dirty protest – I’ve never encountered one of these, but judging by the stress caused to the poor nurses, would reccomend anyone protesting outside the Houses of Parliament to do the same and shit – ensuring you are standing in a suitable wind path, to carry the stench towards Boris. Never had I been more grateful to be wearing my BiPap mask over my mouth and nose.

The physios at the RUH were fantastic – as was every member of staff on Pierce Ward. Between us, we worked hard on my exercises and at the time of writing this (the morning of 27th November), I am able to get out of bed and transfer to a wheelchair. The next step is to perform this trick with Claire, as my glamorous assistant. Once we have accomplished this, I’ll be free to be discharged home! The moment of truth will be revealed later this morning…

The pain in my arms has been easing with each new day. Since arriving at Bath, I have even been able to use my phone, which has allowed me to start blogging again, amongst many other things. With a little thanks to my contacts in the IT Department, I found a WiFi access point, allowing me to watch last night’s Leeds game – which was great, considering that they won the match in the final minute, to go top of the league.

I found audiobooks a Godsend, and was listening to them for many days before my hands would allow me to start typing blog posts. I managed to listen to the recently released “100 Years of Leeds United” – over 15 hours long, but excellent throughout. It certainly kept me entertained and made the time go quicker.

I now feel that I have been able to recap all the main topics surrounding my accident and hospital stays. As long as I remain in the RUH (hopefully not much longer), I’ll continue to blog. In fact, I’ll blog when I’m back home too – you lucky people.

Posted by sean on November 26, 2019 at 9:25 pm in Health with No Comments

Paranoid Thoughts

One of the worst aspects of the entire hospital stay was the fact I became disturbingly paranoid and delusional.

I have been blessed to have remained extremely healthy, throughout my entire life, when it concerns my mental health.

Only twice in my 37 years, have I suffered from any psychological issues. Once last summer, when I believed that a repeat and realistic dream was real. This was days before being admitted to Intensive Care with respiratory failure.

My second and final mental health concern took place last week, during my stay in Southmead Hospital. Again, this involved spells where I became unable to tell the difference between dreams, my imagination and reality.

I put these issues down to a number of reasons…

The drugs I had been taking post-accident and surgery. As many of the essential painkillers contained strong opioids, it was no surprise that my head would become a little messed up. Don’t forget, during surgery, I was also given a dose of my old nemesis, ketamine.

The accident itself surely didn’t help. Not only did I land spectacularly on my noggin, but I was clearly shaken mentally by the entire experience.

Finally, I love to sleep. Claire will testify that if I don’t get at least eight hours of Vitamin ZZZZZ each night, I am not in a good place the next day. I am normally excellent at sleeping; although in hospitals, I struggle. Too many disturbances, loud noise and bright lights left on at 3am. Incidentally, America used round-the-clock lighting in cells, to break the spirits of suspected terrorists at the now infamous Guantanamo Bay. The Yanks were also reported to have played the Eminem song Kim, on loop, 24/7. For those who don’t know, this is the infamous track, where the rapper brutally murders his wife. I don’t think that even Jeremy Hunt considered this to be a positive approach to patient care, during his time as Health Secretary.

Surely sleep deprivation over many days, especially during a time in which I should be resting, will have an effect on my sanity.

The delusional scenes I experienced, ranged from the bizarre to downright disturbing…

In certain lights, people around me appeared to have orange hair and faces. You know the television adverts for sun protection cream, where they show faces under UV Light, revealing damage caused by the sun’s rays? Everyone looked like they had been sunbathing on Brighton Beach, over an entire Bank Holiday Weekend, without using any form of protection – no… not THAT kind of protection. At first, I thought that the nurses had dyed their hair (badly), for Ginger Hair Awareness Week, or some equally strange cause. It was only when I noticed that Claire and my parents had also turned fifty shades of orange, I thought something wasn’t right with me.

My first night on the Trauma and Orthopaedic Ward, after leaving ICU, was bizarre. In my messed-up head, l believed that once the lights had gone out, bunk beds were erected in the bays. I was convinced that relatives of the patients were staying overnight, in some kind of cross between a hospital ward and bed & breakfast. It is a shame this was not real, as it would certainly make for a cracking episode of Four in a Bed.

Some of the patients had chosen to stay up late and chat about everyone’s favourite hated subject – Brexit. Nothing unusual there, although I was convinced my Dad was in the room, having decided to stay the night with some of the patients, who he now considered friends.

It is only as I write this down, that I realise just how strange the whole thing sounds, but at the time I was convinced everything was real.

My irrational thoughts continued for a few more days and included spotting photos of my pet rabbit, Roman. This was after being dragged from my bed late one evening, to have an x ray. Like anyone who had been unexpectedly woken up and bundled off into the night, by a trio of burly men (x ray porters), I was more than a little dazed. To add to my confusion, I left my glasses in the bay. Given my poor eyesight without corrective lenses, the poster on the wall could easily have been a human skull, which my disabled eyes mistook for a Netherland Dwarf Rabbit.

Things turned a little sinister, when my delusional thoughts and sightings, went from strange to disturbing.

I thought some staff were working against me. Mostly members of the hospital’s Information Technology Department – don’t laugh!

As I stared at the white tiles on the ceiling – my only real view over the recent days – I could see cartoons, sketches and animations – as if the entire ceiling was one huge electrictronic whiteboard.

I did at least think that something was odd, because nobody else was commenting on the display.

One night – incidentally the same one where I was unexpectedly hauled to radiology – I was one hundred percent convinced, that members of the IT Department had organised a video games party.

The rest of the bay, bar one other patient and myself, had been cornered off. The nurses station, which I could see from my bed, played host to some wild party.

The reception was full of smoke, which I believed to be cannabis, while the air looked wavy. IT Staff and some of the nurses were drinking – and I don’t mean that they had been at the Fortisip milkshake.

I then noticed what, at the time, I believed to be dogs and small children, who belonged to staff. I even managed to convince myself that the neighbouring cubicle was being used as a brothel!

Despite being scared, I remember plucking up the courage to ring my nurse call bell. A nurse approached me, but I was convinced that he was already drunk, stoned or both, so had little faith in his ability to help me. I asked the nurse what was going on and that I had spotted the dogs.

The nurse told me that everything was normal and that I should go back to sleep. Of course he would say that. Nothing was happening. In the real world, this was a normal night on the ward – apart from a man in his thirties, going batshit crazy, asking about dogs. In my messed up state, I took this response to be a lie from a pissed-up nurse, desperate to return to the fun of the party and his next joint if wacky backy.

I begrudgingly allowed what I thought was a party to continue, while keeping one eye open in case a dog was to approach my bed.

I did manage to get sleep that night, albeit broken, but not before spotting a figure sat on part of the hoist. I couldn’t decipher if the pale faced woman, with long black hair, was a real person, or a doll.

Things came to a head on my sixth night in hospital – a couple of days after the party which never was. I had a truly terrible night. I was constantly thirsty. What’s more, the laxatives which I had been swallowing like Smarties, had begun to work, during the previous day. 12 days of poop had been woken up, and bit by bit, was working its way out of my body, like a long, drawn out labour. Over one 24 hour period, I must have produced more poop than that pile of dinosaur dung in Jurassic Park.

That night, I had some of the strangest dreams I have ever experienced. Amongst many, I found myself repeatedly returning to a supermarket. I then had a strong desire to ring the nurse call bell – on one occasion, to produce further post-laxative dino dung. However, I was unsure as to whether I should ring the nurses’ bell. In my dream, I was in Sainsbury’s, but I was buying a Tesco-branded product. Should I call Sainsbury’s? Or was it Tesco? What about Aldi?

I spent the morning feeling very down and depressed. I was entering my second week in Southmead Hospital. I was still experiencing a lot of pain. I had been bedridden for seven days, with no contact from physiotherapy – meaning no start to any rehabilitation. I remember feeling like I would never be able to leave – destined to spend the remainder of my days in a hospital bed, unable to use my limbs, while experiencing confusion and paranoia.

Luckily, things did get better…

Posted by sean on November 25, 2019 at 4:21 pm in Health with No Comments

(Taken six days ago)

“If you think I look rough, you should see the bloke who lost!”

Posted by sean on November 25, 2019 at 10:12 am in Health with 1 Comment

The Panic Attack

It wasn’t long after the hoist incident, that I was moved from Intensive Care to the Orthopaedic Ward.

I was still on edge and nervous. Not only were all the events of the past four days fresh in my mind, but the hoist transfer, ward move, along with changing beds, had left me even more shaken.

I was also severely constipated. It is not uncommon for me to suffer from this condition, even while medically well and at home – especially with the cocktail of medications I take. However, this time, my blocked bum was something else.

I believe the term used by hospital staff is to “open your bowels”. I’m yet to hear anyone use that term in sensible conversation, away from a medical environment. I’m not suggesting that these top consultants, on six-figure salaries, approach 94-year-old Betty, to ask if she has “had a shit”, but I would be more than happy for my doctor or nurse to ask “have you gone for a poo today?”.

I don’t know how the chain of events unfolded, but I believe that I was complaining to my wife and mum, about the pains in my stomach, caused by not “going number two”* for so long.
* I didn’t actually use those words!

This progressed to a stage where I believed that I needed to empty the contents of my bowels into the bed.

I was clearly becoming increasingly agitated, as Claire and my mum had begun to show concern, with regards to my breathing.

I am unable to remember everything, such was the state I was falling into, but Claire later told me that when asked what was wrong, I shouted back “I’m shitting the bed!”.

After that, I lost all control of my breathing. Being unable to breathe properly, is one of the most terrifying experiences that any man or woman can encounter.

I was effectively dying. I was aware that I was dying. I knew that if I could simply control my breathing, I would be safe, but I couldn’t. I was having a panic attack of epic proportions. What’s more, this attack had been caused by severe anxiety. If I could just get rid of the anxiety – but you try telling a man, who is convinced he’s dying, to relax.

I remember hoping for an easy way out and to be saved. I wanted a team of doctors and nurses to rush to my bedside, armed with equipment; slamming a plastic mask onto my face and administering lifesaving oxygen.

By this point, I was aware of concerned medics nearby. Although it was clear that I was not going to be given an easy way out of the crisis. If I was going to live, I was going to have to save myself.

Somehow I calmed down and managed to get my breathing under control. I suffered no ill effects of my mental episode, although have been left terrified by it. No doubt my family, who witnessed the attack have their own bad memories of the event too.

Claire later revealed just how bad things had become. During the panic attack, my blood oxygen levels were taken. Generally, anything above 88% is healthy. Nowadays, I find my readings to nearly always be higher than 90%. When I was admitted to the Intensive Therapy Unit in the summer of 2018, my blood oxygen level was 80%. During this panic attack, my levels dropped to a terrifying 66%. Thank goodness I wasn’t told at the time!

While I had made a recovery from the panic attack, I was still very much “bunged up”. I guess at least I hadn’t pooed in the bed…

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