I left my husband in intensive care at about 2am on what was now 3rd July 2017. I didn’t want to leave him knowing he might not make it through the night but I was also aware that I had two children at home and my husbands voice rang in my head ‘Don’t worry about me just look after the girls’ I knew that’s what he would say to me if he was awake that’s what he always said whenever I fussed over him. So I got my dad to drive me to my car which was still at the hotel and then I drove home. It was like living in a dream everything just seemed so surreal.
Walking in to my front room soon made reality come crashing down on me though. my mums face was staring up at me with concern and fear and confusion at what had happened (I think we all saw my husband as an unstoppable force). My dad made me a cup of tea not knowing what else to do or maybe I asked for one who knows, that night is a blur now but all I could hear was this screaming voice inside my head saying ‘I want my husband’ until I became aware that, that voice in my head was not in my head at all I was actually screaming and crying it out loud. My lovely mum and dad tried to calm me down, reminding me of the two sleeping beauties in the room above me but I couldn’t stop I was so scared and frightened and I wanted to run away or wake up or whatever you do when you don’t like what’s happening. I did eventually calm down and went upstairs to stare at my girls, our girls who we love and adore and who drive us to be better people, I watched them sleeping but only for a while I didn’t want to wake them not while I was in such a mess. I had blood all over me, my husbands blood and my make up was smeared down my face if they saw me like that they would be very scared and I didn’t want them to know what had happened I wanted to keep them safe and innocent and for them to be able to see their daddy the following evening, I was scared that they might not ever see him again.
I remember being struck at the innocence of youth, the absolute trust you have that mummy and daddy will make everything better. I wanted to be a child again, I wanted someone to make this better for me, to protect me and tell me everything would be ok, I didn’t want to be this adult anymore, I wanted to be cradled in my mums arms and have my head soothed ‘sshhh it’s ok, everything will be ok’ but I knew that wouldn’t happen, I am the parent in this situation and I had to be strong for my girls and the responsibility of that weighed heavy on me, I have never been known for my strength so I knew I was going to have to dig deep. My husbands words constantly rang in my ears ‘you just have to get on with it Tam, its how you deal with things that makes you’ he was always saying stuff like that whenever I started moaning about anything. He has become the voice inside my head now. I told my parents that I wanted the morning to be normal for them until I knew what was happening and then after they had eaten dinner that night I would tell them what I could, until then life was to stay normal for them, daddy was at work and mummy had a busy day ahead.
I didn’t really sleep when I crawled into bed I was still crying I just wanted to wake up in the morning and it all just go away. My mum came in to check on me she was so worried and I was aware that she wanted to make it all better for me, being a parent never stops no matter how old the child. She laid down beside me and I was grateful for her being there, I’m not sure if either of us slept but we lay in silence until my alarm went off for the start of another week. What will this week bring though and the fear in my heart returned.
I don’t remember how I managed to stay normal that morning in fact I don’t think I managed it at all but my mum and dad took over for me making sure the girls got to school while I went to collect my mother in law to face whatever came next. I didn’t know what to expect or how to feel no one ever prepared me for this eventuality.
When we got to the hospital we were told to sit in the family room as the doctor wanted to speak to us. I was living my own personal nightmare, how had life changed so dramatically like this?! The doctor as always said nothing positive my husband was awake but not responding in the way they would have liked but he hoped that seeing us would help him to come back round. We were escorted to his bed where he was gagging on and fighting with the oxygen mask he looked scared and confused like he was still choking, still stuck in that terrifying moment before the blackness takes over. After a while I managed to calm him down he started giving me kisses and tried to ask about the girls but nothing he tried to say made any sense, but he knew who I was he responded to me! the nurses told me he needed to rest as much as possible as his brain was swollen so I tried to make him sleep but he wouldn’t he was too busy fighting was happening to him. I told the nurses that he would fight every inch of the way as he is the most determined man I know and that was to become my mantra over the next 3 weeks while I watched my husband fight for his life.
Despite everything I left the hospital that afternoon knowing he would make it, I just knew in my heart that he wouldn’t leave me and the girls! So at about 4pm I left to tell our girls that daddy had, had a nasty accident. I left out most of the details telling them that daddy hurt his face and his throat while he was at work, it wasn’t a lie he did cut his cheek and his nose and his throat was bruised I just didn’t tell them the extent of the damage they would be frightened enough without knowing all of it and so we all sat on the settee hugging and crying on each other while my mum, dad and sister looked on.
By the time I got back to the hospital that evening they had decided to sedate my husband again to make his body relax so his brain could begin to heal. The nurse told me that before he went back under he was trying to say hello and ask about the children, she told me that she had worked in intensive care for a long time and had seen lots of things, she said you could never tell what was going to happen but in order to make it you needed determination and fight as the ones who fight normally make it and she could tell he was a fighter and that he would make it through. I felt so grateful for her words they kept me going for weeks. I decided to block out all the negativity and stay focused on the fact that he would pull through no matter what and even though I stayed in a state of constant fear I kept hold of the fact that he wouldn’t be in there forever. I just had no idea what to expect when he did finally come round but that was to be much further down the line.