Every Breath You Take…

 Amanda remains in the ICU in Wellington Hospital after a massive brain bleed last Wednesday. The drain will remain in her head for a number of weeks until the fluid changes from blood red to a lighter cerebral fluid straw colour.

On the scale used for levels of consciousness which is 3 to 15 (15 being fully awake and alert like you are now), she is around a 7 at the moment. She is sleeping most of the time but I’ve learnt that when the heart monitor shows her heart is above 60bpm she is awake enough to hear me. She can squeeze my hand on command and has been fiddling with my wedding ring, and I know she is trying to communicate and let me know she is still in there somewhere

Yesterday she was unable to open her eyes but the day before she could. Apparently this is normal in the slow recovery process. I remembered telling the paramedics she was wearing contact lenses as they worked on her 5 days ago. I presumed the message would be passed on, or it was part of some kind of checklist once she reached the hospital in Wellington. However, yesterday as the nurse carried out the regular care procedure and gently opened her eyes to put drops in, I caught a glimpse of the edge of a lens. The nurse checked and confirmed she still had the daily -wear contact lenses in she had put in 5 days earlier. Removing them while wearing surgical gloves proved useless so she called over another nurse who wears contacts and knew how to remove them quicly and safely. Presumably only the regular administering of eye drops had stopped them from sticking to her pupils days ago.

This photo was taken 5 days after Amanda’s stroke. At this point she was still unable to breath unaided and was unconscious for long periods. She has given me permission to use these photos, which I took to show her when she was eventually well enough to ask where all that time had gone. She has no memory of any of this.

Overnight she was trying to pull out her breathing tube and her blood pressure went up so she was sedated. They took her off that 4 hrs ago so she will probably still be drowsy all day today as a result.

She is receiving amazing care and is probably in the best place in the country, given what has happened. Around her other patients are also being admitted to ICU. Some are just post -op so recover, are assessed and move on. Others, like Amanda are critical and stay longer.  The most critical are quietly moved into curtained, private rooms and the strict rule around only 2 visitors per bed is relaxed to allow loved ones to say a final goodbye.

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