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Interview 24

Age at interview: 46
Brief Outline: Her mother had cardiac arrest. She spent nine days in ICU and now lives with her daughter. She received a lot of support from her family.
Background: Kitchen manager, married with two adult daughters. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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In May 2006 her 69-year-old mother had a mild stroke and spent ten days in hospital. In July 2006, she had cardiac arrest and then pneumonia. She spent nine days in ICU and was then transferred to a second hospital to have a defibrillator fitted. This is a device which is implanted within the chest wall. It monitors the heart rhythm, senses if there is about to be a severe disturbance in heart rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electrical impulse to stop the abnormal rhythm and allow the normal rhythm to resume. In total her mother spent five weeks in hospital, nine days of which were in ICU.

She received a lot of support from her family and felt that this support was extremely important. She and her brother spent a lot more time together while their mother was in hospital. They are a close family and her mother now lives with her.

She wished she had kept a diary of her mother's time in hospital because it was difficult to remember exact dates later, when her mother attended doctor's appointments after being discharged from hospital.  
 
 

The ambulance arrived quickly and her mother was taken from Accident and Emergency to ICU within...

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The ambulance arrived quickly and her mother was taken from Accident and Emergency to ICU within...

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My brother was coming down to stay for a few days, sort of 21st July. And you [mother] went to answer the door about 11 o'clock at night and you collapsed straight down onto the floor. And so my sister-in-law was able to get in the door and she gave you CPR [caridopulmonary resuscitation] and then she phoned the ambulance but where we lived the firemen came and they were able to shock you twice. So it is very useful that they are trained as, not as paramedics but they are medically trained as well. And then the ambulance came. [My sister-in-law] phoned us up before the ambulance came so we came straight down because we only live up the road and we were talking to the firemen about your medication. They wanted to know everything she was on and wrote it all down and then the ambulance man took you to [the hospital] to A & E and we went straight in to the sort of reception and gave them all our details and we sat down and waited. 

It wasn't too long, about half an hour and then they let us in to see you and they had put a tube down your mouth. It was intubation, something like that, and you were sedated and they put a tube down your mouth and then they took you up to ICU and they made you comfortable up there. And we were able to go in pretty much after you got up there, I suppose, really, about an hour or so afterwards. And then we stayed until about four in the morning, made sure you were stable and then we came home and tried to get some sleep. And then we went back in the next day. 
 

 

The relatives' room wasn't really big enough and you couldn't make yourself a drink.

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The relatives' room wasn't really big enough and you couldn't make yourself a drink.

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Had you ever been in an Intensive Care Unit before? 

No. No I didn't really know what to expect. But they were very good. You have to put a bleep and they have got a video camera and they let you in, which is very good I suppose. They have to have security. And there was a waiting room. You could have done with a coffee machine. 

In the waiting room? 

Yes. There wasn't. It was further down in the hospital. So it was quite a walk. 

Was there anybody else in the waiting room? 

Yes there was. It could have done with being a bit bigger actually because there was only three chairs and a sort of smallish settee. There was another gentleman as well whose wife had died sadly and there was a few other families coming and going as well. 

And did you talk to them?

No. He didn't seem to want to talk. You know, he didn't make eye contact or anything so' 

Did you sit in the waiting room a lot? 

Yes a lot. Especially if, say, they were doing something to mum we would go and sit in there. And sometimes we have been there for about an hour and they would come and get us. 

How would you have liked that waiting room improved if they were going to improve it? 

Well it had a telly. Just may be a little bit bigger. And a coffee machine or some kind of machine like that. There was a toilet and everything in there, so it was okay. 
 

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