The year started off well and I was doing well.But things were destined to take a unusual turn after my visit to clinic after Christmas. I was still getting headaches in the morning, had mentioned this with the doctor who felt it would sort it self out or may be as a result of a side effect of one of the medications.I felt that it could have been due to CO2 and asked about Bi-Pap.The doctor said that it was rare for people to need it and he would adjust the medication if needed should the headaches continue.
The suggestion was made that regular 20 minutes of exercise would help increase my lung function as this had dropped if this did not improve it would mean a bronchoscopy to clear the lungs and check for rejection.
I had been out and done some walking and exercise but evidently not enough. I was finding it very hard to find the energy, and at times I felt ill, but I was determined to try as I didn't want to go into hospital again.The next appointment was set for two weeks.I went home feeling like I was doing something wrong but I didnt know what,I kept hoping for improvement.Over the next couple of weeks the headaches didn't improve and I found my self taking paracetamol through the day with little effect
I felt better in the evening more than the morning and so I decided to go to my camera club meeting on the Thursday to let people how I was getting on after my long absence after the Transplant.It was a good evening and everyone was great and asked me about how things had been Paul the chairman mentioned what had happened and congratulated me on my recovery there were a lot of questions to answer but I didn't mind and I enjoyed being out and about.
Things were about to change though The problem was CO2, and during the weekend the effect of CO2 was building up to a critical levels due to my body's inability to adjust to my new lungs. On the Sunday night my wife found me unconsciousness and cyanosed.She called a ambulance and when they attended they found that I was critical and suffering respiratory failure with sats in the low 50s .I was admitted to ITU in the general hospital and spent 4 days unaware of events around me.I was then transferred to ITU in the local chest hospital but as the chest ward had no beds I was kept on ITU.
I was aware of where I was but most of the first part of my stay I was sleepy and confused.looking back I realise that I wasn't fully well even then and realised that since I had been in ITU I was unable to read,write,use a knife and fork I couldn't shave or understand tasks and required help from nursing staff I was worried and frustrated.I found it was a strange place to be as all the other patients were unconscious so there was little conversation going on!
I had been there for a few days I was happy to be told that they were transferring me to the chest ward. I had been on the ward before on a couple occasions and knew the staff.It was at this point that I started to recover and also become aware of the the problems and frustrations that my stay in ITU had left me.I was still unable to write my menus and I couldn't read any of my books or magazines worst of all I couldn't send text messages to my family or reply to any tweets from people offering me support I felt so isolated. I wondered what I would do if I didn't recover? despite reassurance from the doctors that this is something that can happen after a while in ITU.I realised how much I depended on the gadgets I use, particularly the phone which I was totally unable to operate for a while.The thought of using a computer was something I couldn't even consider at this point.
After treatment on the chest ward using Bi-Pap which is a machine that helps clear carbon dioxide by blowing air into your lungs overnight through a mask I was feeling much better, it had taken a lot of time for me to recover.Towards the end of my stay on the chest ward I was fitted with my own Bi-Pap mask and machine, and then the subject of Harefields was raised. They had been kept informed of my progress and were keen on my admission when I left Oxford, I felt fine and wasn't keen.So as there was not a bed available I persuaded the consultant in Oxford to discharge me home. I made a promise that I would attend the clinic on the following Thursday , I was so glad to get home.