It was Christmas Eve when Wendie started to feel bad, She had a rotten cold, and I was at work that night, Next day, Christmas, She was really bad, Not even feeling up to opening presents with our then 4 1/2 year old son. I stayed up and looked after her, but she still got worse.
Next morning I became very worried, her breathing was very rapid and shallow, I called the GP, He came out and diagnosed Asthma, and prescribed Ventolin, I was not at all happy with this!
Wendie did not start to recover, in fact she worsened ! I was starting to panic, she became very agitated and restless (most unlike her). She could not sit still, running up and down the stairs not knowing why ? her breathing getting constantly worse, I thought she was dying!
24 hours after calling the doctor I again called him, He was reluctant to come out again, I explained the situation, He then offered to come after surgery, I explained again that I felt that was too late, He then said what about 2 hours time? I was now angry, I told him I needed him there now! He arrived in 10 minutes, He took one look at her from the doorway, and told me he would call an ambulance!
On arrival at the hospital 15 minutes later, The nurses had taken her Blood Sugar Levels as a routine procedure. They were 44 Mrnol (normal is 4 - 7 Mmol), 11 times higher than normal. They came to me after 2 hours( an agonising wait , alone in a secluded waiting room, no one telling me what was happening ) and asked. Did I realise she would probably not survive the morning.
I had known her 6 Weeks at this time, I had known her parents 3 Weeks, I had to phone her father and tell him she might not live, I was hysterical, but hid it well. Wendies mum was blind, obese and immobile and in chronic Renal failure, due to Diabetes, Wendie had been checked regularly, But it was stiill to be a shock for her parents, Wendies mum in particular was unable to cope with the news !
The Doctors put her on I.V Insulin, She was still very restless and agitated when they let me see her, She was not really aware of where she was ! and kept wanting to go home, constantly trying to get out of bed, and risking pulling out her drips etc, a male nurse and myself had to restrain her.
At one point Wendie kept pleading to be let up, We explained that she really couln't, for her own sake, she still kept trying to get up, very confused ! She wanted the toilet, was offered a pan, but just wanted to go to the toilet, If we let her she would behave she promised. Anyway eventually she told us she would go to the toilet ! The one at home ! and then come back ! She only actually wanted to use the toilet to cough up Phlegm !!!
She made a good recovery, I was so happy. Next morning the hospital rang, Could I come right away! I was distraught ! what had happened, they wouldn't tell me on the phone,The mad dash up to the hospital was the worst moment of my life. She had relapsed and gone into a Coma,and her kidneys had completely failed, this was very rare, She was on full life support. Again they did not think she would last 2 hours, I had never even heard of Keto Acidosis before.
Wendie was now in I T U, There were 17 different tubes, monitors and drips etc connected to her, It was a nightmare to see her like that, The staff were wonderful, and other relatives of patients who had been there longer gave support. Without the kindness and understanding of all concerned I would not have been able to cope over the next week.
I knew I had to remain strong and not to show any negative thought around Wendie, She may have been in a Coma but I knew she could hear, I chatted away telling her all that was happening at home, Especially with our son, who started proper school that week, I told her about the wishes sent by all who knew her, I talked about work, In fact I was in the hospital for the next 48 hours, at at her side as much as possible.
I had asked Wendie to marry me just before she became ill, She had agreed, We hadn't yet told her parents or mine ! But seeing her like this , knowing I could lose her , I realised just how much she really meant to me, Lose her I would have lost everything , corny I know but I really thought that way. Nothing happened, there was no good news, no promises,no hope ! but still I clung to the faintest glimmer of a future.
I prayed, I never stopped, Eveyone on the unit was so busy, rarely having time to talk, The times in the waitng room helped, I was rarely alone , and soon I was comforting the next set of devastated family. A couple of the other patients died over the next few days, They were terrible moments, You couldn't help thinking was Wendie next ?
I didn't eat , I didn't sleep, I existed, but only for Wendie, I had to share looking after Dayne, and Wendies Mum, allowing her Dad to visit her, But mostly I spent my time at her side, That week dragged and dragged, and still nothing changed.
When Wendie was first admitted they had realised there must have been an infection, and had put her on I.V antibiotics as well as insulin, this had caused problems, They could not find where the infection was , and they were worried that Wendie was showing no improvement.
They believed the next 2 hours would decide whether she would live or die, The only place the infection could possibly be was in the brain, there had been faint remnants of infection in the stomach, There were no neurological signs of infection in the brain, The decision to be made was whether to transfer her to Leicester Royal Infirmary, for an MRI Scan , the problem with this was they doubted she was stable enough to survive the ambulance journey. The other option was to forget the source of infection, which was destroyed by the antibiotics and to put her on Dialysis , This was the option taken, and though not out of the woods by a long way, she had started to show marked improvement within two hours, She could live !
It was 7 days after she had slipped into the coma, we were all exhausted , Mentally I was a wreck , I arrived at the hospital early, as I entered the unit , ther was several staff around her, But I could see, She had her eyes open, She was coming round, I could not express my joy ! The staff took me aside, and tempered my happiness by telling all was not yet well ! They were not happy she was ready to come round, they put her back under for a further 12 hours. I talked to her, told her how happy we were she was coming back, I told her of the cards etc waiting for her, for the first time I cried in front of her , I just couldn't be strong any longer and I sobbed my little heart out ! The staff took me aside and comforted me,and also told me I would still need to be strong for Wendie. Later I went home for a while !
As I re-entered the unit, Wendie was propped up slightly, her eyes were open, She had had a tube down her throat, that was gone, She saw me, and not being able to speak, she mouthed "I Love You", then a puzzled look came over her face, I realised she knew she loved me , But couldn't for a moment remember who I was, We have joked about it many a time since, In fact she still insists she doesn't know me !!!
She was alive, and she was probobly going to survive , I didn't know how to handle my feelings, having hoped and hoped that she would pull through , but due to all she had been through , I had never really believed she would make it !!! Now I felt guilty , I had not believed in her strength , her wanting to live !
Whilst she had been on ITU Wendie had been exposed to MRSA , the bug that is resistant to antibiotic therapy , understandably she developed MRSA , I would also later get it, She also developed a pressure sore on one of her heals , But was otherwise doing great and a day later was transfered to a side ward on the Renal Unit where she could be Isolated , due to the MRSA , With further Dialysis treatments she came on in leaps and bounds , her kidneys recovered without any permenant damage , Our son Dayne who at the time was 4 1/2 years old ( now 9 ) , is a clever old sole , and he picked up lots about his mum's condition and treatment, One day a nurse on the renal unit came to us and told us she was amazed , she had been talking to Dayne and he had explained the workings of the Dialysis machines , and had done it better than the nurse tutors.
He had apparrently explained that the machine was a washing machine for blood, that it seperated Red and white blood cells from the plasma, washed the poisons and waste from the plasma , put back the red and white cells and then pumped it back into mummy, Dayne is classed as a gifted child but this amazed us as he had put it together for himself, He had been brilliant throughout Wendie's ordeal.
Wendie made fabulous progress, She left hospital 1 day short of three weeks after admission ! The only problems she had after discharge were she was now Diabetic and thats for life ( There is lots of cure research going on ) , MRSA which cleared in a few weeks , and the pressure area on her heal , which the District Nurse looked after , It was amazing.
Just a week after Wendies discharge her Mum became very ill, We think being a rather neurotic worrier she had become so distressed about Wendies conditon that she couldn't cope and finally let her own problems take over, She was admitted to the renal unit in the next bed to the one Wendie had been in, She was dicharged to a nursing hone a week later, Two weeks after that she died on Valentines Day , due to complications of Diabetes !!!
Wendie's ordeal was an extremely rare one ! Her Diabetes Consultant wrote it up for one of the medical journals , We came through , and it made us very strong , I would like to say that the staff at the Leicester General Hospital and all those involved were wonderful , I owe them evberything , This account is my side of things , Wendie in a coma for almost 8 days has thankfully little memory of most of it.
Wendie has not had any further related probems , But we recently had to cope with Cancer ( another page to come soon ) , and I suffered a Stroke and developed Epilepsy following an Inner Ear Infection , this was 2 days before my 36th Birthday ( now almost 38 ) , Again a page about that experience is to follow.
We are very lucky , We are alive ! We are Happy , What more could we want !