15th May 2018
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Day 0 | Sunday 23rd April
Ominous Phone Call
9.23am – three missed calls from the same number. Husband out cycling – could mean only one thing. I was surprisingly calm and when the phone was answered I just wanted to know if he was conscious (yes) and had he hit his head (no). He was heading to Barnsley hospital in an ambulance with leg wounds, it was suggested I packed an overnight bag for him.
I phoned my mum, could she have the boys? When? Now! And for an unknown amount of time. Of course.
So I packed bags – one for the boys and two for Dan (it was just like packing for childbirth – one bag with clothes and one with refreshments and entertainment), piled them into the car and drove to drop the boys off.
Then I was alone in the car and my focus switched to Dan. What was I going to find when I got to hospital? How serious was it going to be? He’d probably be home by Monday…
Off to Hospital
It was one of those drives that felt a bit like I just arrived there without knowing how I got there, and I didn’t really hear anything that was being said on the radio. When I found the car park nearest A&E I called Dan, he put me onto the ambulance crew and she said to meet me outside the doors of resuss…
Resuss?! I’d seen Casualty and ER, I knew what happened in resuss, why was Dan in there? It was now nearly an hour since I’d made that call and I’d held it together well, but the tears arrived (as I expected) when I saw him – and my first sight of Dan was him on a spinal board with a neckbrace – I thought he’d hurt his leg?! Luckily they disappeared quickly. Dan warned me not to look at his leg (but of course I had to have a little peak – and I quickly looked away).
The next six hours were quite (dare I say it?) relaxing. I mean I had the Sunday paper, some snacks and no kids – most relaxing Sunday for ages! Ignore the fact we were in A&E, there was a lot of blood and a constant stream of medical staff. The decision was made quite quickly that emergency surgery was needed that day, what no one could agree on was where that should happen and if plastics were needed.
The consultant orthopaedic surgeon decided to stay on after his morning’s surgery and do the op himself, so it was a waiting game then – Dan was on the emergency list but at least two more serious emergencies came in that afternoon.
He’d not been allowed anything to eat or even a sip of water and had only had one dose of paracetamol all day! He said it didn’t really hurt!
We were moved to a ward eventually to wait there for the operation. We weren’t there long before they came to collect us – long enough for me to sort his stuff out and get him settled in and long enough for Dan to introduce himself to the three other people on the ward.
Now when we’d been talked through the surgery and had to sign the consent form the doctor went through the risks, there were quite a few. It was a significant injury and they didn’t really know what they were going to find. The doctor wasn’t using his best bedside manner when he casually mentioned amputation.
I quickly assured Dan this wouldn’t happen but it had obviously played on his mind all afternoon as the final thing he said to me before they took him into theatre was ‘please don’t let them cut my leg off’. I told him I wouldn’t, but as I walked away I couldn’t stop thinking that actually I couldn’t stop them. If they decided that needed to happen then I could do nothing about it (even though I’d promised him…).
Surgery and a long wait
And what followed was the longest and most worrying four hours of my life. We’d been told the op would take 30mins, maybe an hour. The nurses told me to give it 1.5hrs. I’d left him at theatre at 5pm, I didn’t see him again until 9pm. By this point he was a mess, so out of it and very sick. The nurse told me to go home, I couldn’t do anything and they would be keeping a constant eye on him.
It was the hardest thing ever to do, I didn’t want to leave him in that helpless state but also there wasn’t anything I could do. So I drove home (after buying my £10 for the week parking ticket – silver linings!!) and arrived home 12hrs after leaving that morning. My amazing parents had looked after the boys all day and brought them home to put them to bed. They stayed a bit so I had someone to chat with but when they left I was alone. With my own thoughts from the day, what had happened and how much worse things could have been.
We were lucky, very lucky. And I was mum again, ready to fight another day!
A big thanks to my wonderful wife for writing this. I know the past 5 weeks, particularly that first day, has been incredibly tough for her. She jokes that it’s like having to look after a 3rd child a lot of the time…
I think she may have surprised herself, and a few others, with her blogging prowess – she’s certainly better than me! I’m sure she will make another appearance on BOTS very soon…