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Interview 25

Age at interview: 45
Brief Outline: Was admitted to intensive care in 2003 because of severe pneumonia, septicaemia, liver abcess and kidney failure. Spent about 4 weeks in intensive care and 2 weeks in a general ward.
Background: Occupation: mechanic. Marital status: single. Number of children: no children. Ethnic background: White British.

More about me...

 

He dreamt that he had to prove himself through games if he really wanted to survive.

He dreamt that he had to prove himself through games if he really wanted to survive.

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I had dreams, not nightmares. I had dreams, loads of dreams, all the time. I've since gone to a medium to find out what they meant. And the way I looked at them at the time is, it's a case of fighting and not dying. Willing to fight, willing to live. That's how I perceived it.

Your dreams were about being willing to live?

Yes, all the time. 

I tell you one of them was, you know like these video games you get where you've got to get, like kids have in a game station, you've got to get up to higher levels. There's one I had to get from A to B to C to D before I could get out and carry on. And every time I was just getting A and B. But it was a race, a racetrack. And I had two mechanics. One was Michael J Fox and the other was Sylvester Stallone. No word of a lie, it's true. I tell people this and they think, "Yes, he's lost it." No, but it's true. I had these two all the time. They kept on saying, "You've got to keep going, you've got to keep going." So that to me was a way of fighting, you know. I've had another one where I've been underwater all the time. I'm not drowning, I can see people and I'm trying to get up to the top.

You know the people?

I know the people, yes. And I'm trying to get out of the water and get to the top to see them. But I'm not drowning. There's lots of other little ones which are a little bit vague. I can't recall them too much. But those are the two main ones I can recall.

 

His partner noticed that nurses often didn't wash their hands or wear gloves when they attended...

His partner noticed that nurses often didn't wash their hands or wear gloves when they attended...

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She [his partner] noticed that when I was on the ward to start off with, a lot of the nurses weren't wearing gloves. She's got [written down] "Nurses, no gloves, changing bed sheets, especially washing down when patient has left and eating at same time." She noticed the cleaner sometimes always eating something and, you know, when they changed the linen not having the gloves on or whatever. Again this is something that she should be saying to you, not me, because she was noticing it all the time.  

This was on the general ward?  

Yes, this was on the general ward. She noticed that on some of the wards there was a nurses' station with cups and sweets etc that are eaten throughout their shift. Like the cups had been used, so obviously the nurse had had a cup of tea or something, then she'd put it down and go and see a patient, then come back to the cup of tea, she's not wearing no gloves, you know. That's how it goes on.  

Again, "No, no gloves from, on many occasions from patient to patient, nor the washing of hands." She did notice it a lot, she noticed it a few times when I was in ICU, where they come up and change like the catheter and the bag with no gloves, and then go and see somebody else. 

 

He was eager to recover and was sometimes already at the gym doing exercises when the...

He was eager to recover and was sometimes already at the gym doing exercises when the...

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Even when I went up on to the ward, I mean they said to me, you know, "You'll be three, four weeks." I said, "No, a couple of weeks is all I'm going to be here and I'll be gone." "Well, we'll see." 

But when the physios came, I had a little bit of physio work down in the ICU when I started to come around, and when I went up there [general ward] they obviously got me doing a bit more every day. I suppose after being up there a week I could walk down to the gym on like a Zimmer frame. Sometimes they had to come looking for me, but I was already down there. So they got a bit nervous.  

At first I started off with a Zimmer, first of all the physios sort of walked me down, and then they put me on like a Zimmer frame with little wheels on it. And then it was like, I think it was walking sticks. But they, you know, came with me. Like I said, but by the end of the second week I could walk on the walking sticks. But obviously to get out of the hospital I had to be put in a wheelchair, like health and safety reasons I presume.  

Did they make you try and climb a couple of stairs? 

Oh, yes, oh, yes. When I went down into their little gym sort of thing they were teaching me that. What I was doing in the end, like the second week, I was going down on my own and doing all the bits that they showed me previously. And sometimes they'd come down and say, "Well, we'll try this today." Going upstairs and what have you, and coming back down again. Then I went to a physio in [town], after the hospital. 

Was that through your GP or privately?  

No, that was through the hospital. They advised going to there. So I went there once a week for a couple of hours. But they were quite impressed with how well I'd go on. They said, "Well, there's no really, any need for you to come if you don't want to, you know. If you feel that you're okay and you're happy with it then..." you know. They give me exercises to do at home, which I did all the time. But I was sort of determined to get out and about and walk about. 

 

He felt emotional when he thought about young people who had died and how close to death he...

He felt emotional when he thought about young people who had died and how close to death he...

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I used to read the paper, and I mean you go through it and you go through the 'death and memorial', and I'd just be starting to cry because just so many young people dying for no reason whatsoever, you know. They've got all their life ahead of them. And I've questioned myself and said, "Well, why, why save me and take them? Why not just take me? I've had a good life so far. Let somebody else carry on with theirs." You know, I always used to ask this question. I'd ask it to [my partner]. "Well, maybe there's a reason for you being here, you know. There is something, there is a reason why you've been given a second chance." Which I have.

How did you feel emotionally during the whole time? 

Very emotional, very, even now I'm quite emotional about it. Just to realise how close I'd come to dying really. And also it was all the support and help of family. And the whole village as a community were right behind [my partner], 100 per cent. Everybody was always asking. Even people today, I've been up to [city] airport and saw a couple of local people. They said, "Crikey, we haven't seen you since you've been bad. How are you doing? How are you feeling?" It's still going on now. That's absolutely fantastic, I couldn't believe it. Absolutely fantastic. It's just, it's just brilliant, absolutely brilliant, overwhelming.

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