Here I am 50 yrs old and sitting in a hospital room. I am all alone. I have been here a week and have seen very few people. I have been put in a private room because of the noise I make when sleeping. The cleaner calls me Darth Vader, I don’t think she knows who that is so I assume this is what people outside the room are calling me. I was brought here by ambulance after collapsing at the doctors surgery. They put me on a nebuliser but it did nothing so they decided to stuff me with steroids.
I am unable to eat, I have been unable to eat for a few years. I survive on fortified milk drinks so no body bothers asking if I want food. A nurse brings my steroids and I ask for a glass of milk but it is pointless because I am now at the point where I just choke when I try to drink. I ask if a doctor is going to see me, no point until the steroids kick in apparently.
A few days pass and a doctor pays me a visit. I tell her that I am struggling to drink. She informs me I will be ok as long I am taking in water. I try again to tell her I cannot drink but she is not listening, She tells me the steroids will kick in soon and if I am still having trouble she will ask a dietitian to stop by.
I wake up this morning and I think it is time for the worm to turn. I take my chair and move into the corridor. I am asked to go back to my room but when I refuse they just walk away. A man walks up to me and informs me he is a physiotherapist. He says he was told to come and see me but has no time for people who take up beds that could be used for sick people. The straw that broke the camels back. IF I ANNOY YOU FIND OUT WHAT I AM WAITING FOR. He told me to go back to my room. No find out or find someone who will.
I think I sat there for about 3 hours and eventually I was told I was waiting for a spirometry test. I have had one before, you blow as hard as you can into a tube and it measures your lung functions. I am still not moving till I have had this test.
It is becoming clear to me that these people think I have asthma, I know I haven’t. I have not been able to eat properly for years and now I cannot breathe. It doesn’t take a medical degree to link the two but one is respiratory and the other is dietary and never the twain shall meet.
It is the coming to the end of the working day and I am taken down to have the test. The man testing me checks my notes and is shocked that I have gone down hill so fast since my last one. This is the first time in a week that I have not felt like a hypochondriac. Relief floods over me that someone else thinks something is wrong. How long would I have had to wait if I had not protested in my own small way.
I am exhausted, I have not been able to get anything inside me for days, the fight is going out of me. I am taken back to my room. I crawl into bed. What happens next is a bit blurry.
I get out of bed to go to the toilet, I cannot get my breath. I must somehow manage to get to the alarm. I am sitting on the floor. A nurse comes in and askes me why I am out of bed. I can’t breathe, I can’t talk. I think she is panicking. I can’t breathe, I am in hospital, I will be ok. More people come in, they keep telling me to calm down, I can’t breathe, you must calm down, I can’t breathe.
I must have been given drugs, I don’t remember much, I rang my daughter, I don’t remember, I had a scan, I don’t remember. My daughter arrives. I remember seeing her the other side of the glass but she is far away. I am on a very small gurney in an enormous white and glass room. There are two men standing near me with their backs to me. I look around the room. It looks to me like it is about 20ft x 20ft. There are metal trollies with bottles and instruments on but they seem very far away. I am not afraid. I should be afraid. I am not afraid.
One of the men turns to me. He can see something on my scan. He can see bubbles where there should not be bubbles. He tells me the other man is a specialist and would like to put a camera up my nose to see if he can see what is going on. I have gone again. I don’t remember. I am now in an ambulance. I am being taken to another hospital. there are a lot of people in here with me. I do remember asking if they are going to put the dur durs on. They laugh and tell me yes. Finally someone will make well again.