Picture a child of three, healthy, full of energy, smiling. Beautiful. Now take away the energy, take away the chubby exterior, see the Energy drain the energy, go ahead and drain the colour from her skin. Now the smile, it’s hard to picture when everyone around the child cries, or shouts in frustration. Doctors say there’s nothing wrong, the mother must be crazy right?
Imagine Christmas Eve, a happy child gets washed and dressed so quickly eager to get to bed, excitement fills the air, Santa is coming! Now take away the happiness, exclude the excitement. Replace the bed with a hospital cot, beeping machines and drips. The child is dying.
Undiagnosed diabetes, the blood is sticky with blood, acidic with ketones and organs are failing. Dr Carson his rounds dressed as Santa, to spread some cheer other night, delivering twin baby dolls to the dying child, a happy memory to leave with.
Amazingly death does not become her. The child lives and leaves hospital weeks later with two new babies.
Let’s skip ahead a few years. The child becomes a young teenager, attends a grammar school, is doing well. Duke of Edinburgh’s award comes along, she eagerly applies, keeping records of community services, extra curricular activities and a sport, on top of the map work and weekends camping with friends, sounds good, right? Now add the show an tell to leaders the girl has to do to teach them what to do in a diabetic emergency, add the extra weight of insulins and hypoglycemic kits to the already heavy rucksack. All part of the experience!
The weekend doesn’t start well with a broken down bus and late arrival to the start point, the heavy rain and blowing gales make it all the better. All the girls trudged in the dark for hours, 1.30am arrived before they made it to the camp site, but no rest for he wicked, tents have to be erected.
Birds chirp, sun slithers into the tents, waking the girls from slumber, only this girl realises herself and two companions perched at the edge of a cliff. The darkness of the night before had concealed why could have been a fatal fall.
no time to dwell, miles of walking lies ahead! At first our girl keeps up, walks with her group and even did her share of map reading and leading. The energy starts to deplete, the headache kicks in and you don’t even want to know how badly she wanted to vomit, frequently! ‘Just keep going we are half way there’ the older man dubbed as leader repeated more than once.
The camp site was a welcome site indeed, trangias popped up all over to cook up some delightful boil in the bag or pack of noodles. Our girl wasn’t hungry, she crawled into her sleeping bag and slept. Not even the violent shaking if the tent from her companions awoke her the next day, ‘girl problems’ was the diagnosis, ball everyone agreed she could board the bus and skip the remaining days walk!
Back at the school, she slumps in a corner, forced to wash trangias before fleeing to the arms of her mother, an straight to an A+E. Have you ever seen on T.V how the lights blur past and faces swim in front of the acting patient’s face, that really happens!
‘We need a drip now’
‘her heart rate is dangerously fast’
Sharp pain explodes across her back and the scene from the exorcist unfolds, then nothing.
Kidneys shut down, respiratory system needed assistance and the heart almost gave up. Amazingly death does not become her. Pneumonia can be fatal.
Let’s jump forward again, past the usual school business of new friends, new loves and stressful exams. Picture our girl now 16, cramps aren’t uncommon at this stage, but hers won’t go away. So what happens when the pain suddenly becomes sharp and a little more tithe right? Hospital.
Sitting in a bed, the doctors don’t believe her, but she has a pain, so let’s keep her in overnight, just to be sure, right? So what happens when the skin starts to turn grey? Is that still normal? Blood tests suggest it isn’t really, poison? From where? Remember the right abdominal pain? Bingo!
‘This is ICU madam we only allow two members of family in at one time to see patients’
Apparently an appendix can be fatal, amazingly death does not become her.
With life experience like this, what future does this girl have? One in nursing of course, give something back, afterall empathy is needed in such a career!
Year three into her degree, the headaches come. It’s not an easy degree, ward placements on top of university work and exams, anyone would suffer a headache or two, right? So what so you do when it doesn’t go away? What so you do when you can’t write in a straight line? Back to A+E of course. Only this time our girl leaves the hospital with two pain killers and no chance of a ‘just in case overnight stay’.
Give it a few days, rest up, relax, it will go away, right? Wrong! The only thing disappearing for her was her sight. Slowly, but surely. The GP suggests an urgent appointment with an Opthamologist, he suggests an over night stay with a brain CT scan to investigate further. Imagine the fear when one CT scan isn’t enough. Two CT scans and an MRI later, everyone is still being quiet, but you know that look? That sympathetic look when someone knows something and you don’t? Everyone had it. Finally a doctor appears, why the huddle of other doctors and nurses? Apparently they are a specialised team, to devastate a life with the diagnosis of a stroke.
A torn artery to the neck can be fatal, luckily a clot formed, too bad it broke free and settled in two parts of the brain. Amazingly death did not become her.
This girl, the one you have imagined time and time again in different scenarios, well she is real. She lives on today with a nursing degree, a child and a fiancé, in the hopes that death continues to overlook her, to let her live a full and happy life with her family. Not to forget the two dolls, who can now legally drink in any country!