Sunday, 25 May 2014

How I broke and snapped my spine. Part 2

When I woke up, I was still on the deck of the Jetty. I was fuzzy and in agony. I had so much going through my mind that I couldn't even focus. I remember just looking to the roof thinking, 'Why did I go on that stupid boat', 'What is going to happen to me', 'I am never going to walk again, ever!' I didn’t cry, nor did I talk much, I just lay there. I was still lying there 6 hours later when the ambulance finally turned up. 
I got carried on the stretcher to the sand. The pain was excruciating, I just remember biting into my arm, I had never felt pain like it.

There were two men from the hospital, in their 50's I'd say. We spoke about how we were going to get me up the mountain top. I told them it was too much pain to lift. They decided on lifting me without a stretcher. Yep, WITHOUT a stretcher. Okay, so when somebody has hurt their head/neck or back, they use a stretcher and don't move them right? I remember clenching my fists as one of them carried me in his arms, as in my back was curved. I was gobsmacked. They were going to hurt me more.....
I think I passed out from the pain again because I can’t remember getting in the ambulance. I remember waking up and it being so so cold and rickety. They didn't shot me with morphine, or give me anything for the pain. I remember the ambulance man sat next to me, holding my hand, telling me stories about his family. I felt safe, I felt calm. I remember asking him was I going to die, would I be able to walk again and he just kept reassuring me that I would be fine and to pray. I remember praying to my Nan in heaven, and my sister. Praying that no matter what I would be a good person for the rest of my life, if they helped me to walk again... The journey to the hospital was 2 hours, the longest journey of my life; by this time unknown to anyone I'd been lying with no support, no pain relief and a broken back for 9 or so hours. 
We arrived to the local community hospital and it was so busy. The ambulance people told me that they would have to transfer me from the ambulance bed to a hospital bed. I remember going into a panic attack because I knew the pain would be unreal. We decided on the count of three, they would lift me by the sheet of the ambulance bed and hoist me to the next one..(yes, you read that right). This time, they dropped me onto the bed, as the sheet was really slippy. I remember letting out this almighty scream. 
On arriving at the hospital, they wouldn't let Emma come in the room with me. I was so scared as I could just hear panic and Greek talking nurses/doctors running out of different cubicles. After an hour of waiting, a lovely young doctor, not much older than me, came and spoke to me. She explained everything that was going to happen. The first thing I would need was a scan. (Still no pain relief). I got wheeled to a corridor and left there alone. At this point I cried. I was overwhelmed, in pain, scared, and anxious. I had no idea what was about to happen. I sobbed. Then I felt the warmth of somebody holding my hand. It was an elderly Greek lady smiling at me. She stoked and kissed my head and prayed. I asked if she spoke English but she didn't. I just smiled at her. She was waiting for her husband who was in the x-ray room I gathered. 

It was finally my time for an x-ray. The Doctor I seen earlier was there. She asked me to take my belly piercing out (the one I had got done two weeks previous with a steel rod, when in Greece huh!) I explained I couldn't she laughed and was fine about it. I remember closing my eyes while having my x-rays. After about five minutes, the Doctor came out with three other people. 'Oh shit', I said to myself. She was asking me if I drank milk as a baby and if I had any back problems. I told her no. That is the point I knew something was wrong. The look on her face, the sympathy. 'What's wrong with me? Please tell me?’ I asked, but they wheeled me back out into the room. Emma was there now. A few minutes of talking to Emma and a group of five nurses came out. None of them spoke English. They started cutting my shorts. I told them to stop and tell me what they were doing and they were just laughing. I will spare you all of the gory details but basically, the put a catheter inside me. Now, if they would have told me or explained what they were doing, it would have hurt A LOT less, but they didn't. I felt traumatised. I then got wheeled up to a room...
I remember being on a ward of my own, it was immaculate and I felt safe. Three/four Doctors came to see me. 'Tell me the bad news' I said. I had actually prepared myself for the worst. 

'You have broken your back. You may not walk again', where the only words to come out of the Doctors mouths. I zoned out. 
On the left scan, you can see the top two bones crushed in size. It is hard to tell on these scans.

They where talking to Emma really, I couldn't focus. 
They told me to get rest and a surgeon would be round to see me in the morning. I asked for pain relief but they said no. 
That night, I didn't sleep a wink. Emma was asleep in the chair and I felt so out of it. I kept crying. I was in pain but more so, I felt like my catheter wasn't working, as I felt wet on my legs. (Oh I was still soaking from the sea, covered in sand and still in my wet clothes. 
6.30am finally came around and a friendly looking surgeon came to see me. He explained what i had done. I have crushed my vertebras together and parts of the bone where lodged in places. Okay so what happens now. He told me it was too dangerous to fly me home for the operation and I would have to have it in Greece. He then went on to tell me he had spent some time in The Walton Neuro Centre, which is a few streets away from my house. I felt a lot better but I was still nervous to say the least. He told me he would have to put metal rods in my spine and screw it together, removing the bits of broken bone. He also told me that it is such a risky operation that I might not walk again. Great. The hospital I was in was a small hospital so he told me it would take 4 days to order in the parts. 4 days. I could not put up with this pain for four days, surely! 
At this point, I wanted to call my Mum however she was going on holiday they weekend so I didn't want to worry her... More people arrived at the ward. Emma had gone home at this point, she had to work to keep our apartment going. Lunch time came and the nurse left my lunch and water on the side table. As I was lying flat I couldn't reach it. I also had no idea how I was going to eat lying down. I remember putting my arm out towards the table and it hurt so much! I was getting closer and closer. I managed to get hold of the fork and use it to edge the water towards me. I felt so chuffed with myself! I took hold of the water but because my hand was so shaky, the water fell all over me. That's when I heard 'Need some help?'. My heart sank! Somebody could speak English! Finally maybe he could help me! I looked up and there stood this 20 something man, who literally looked like an angel! I would have to see someone bloody gorgeous in the state that I was in wouldn’t I! haha. We both introduced ourselves he was called Kostas and he told me that his Grandma was in the bed opposite. He asked what had happened and I explained. He then told me about Greek hospitals and how they work. Basically your family cared for you, fed you, washed you and looked after you. When a doctor entered the room, all visitors had to leave. Things where now making sense. He asked about my family and I explained that I didn't want to worry them. He told me his family where now mine and invited them all to meet me. Kostas and his family sat with me for the rest of the day. Kostas fed me, spoke to the nurses about pain relief and managed to get me some Ibuprofen but it didn’t even take the edge of it. We swapped numbers when he was leaving and told me to text him if I needed him. An hour later, I already had three texts asking if I needed anything and he would come in at 6am. Do people like this even exist? I remember thinking. Another sleepless night with no pain relief. It was now Thursday and it was basically a repeat of Wednesday. No pain relief, worry and anxiety. Kostas brought me fresh fruit and his Mama brought me orange juice. They fed me again and his Mama washed me. I was so grateful and I felt so safe with them. I was by this point lying in a soaking wet seaweed/sand covered bed and the nurses told me it would stay like that until after my surgery. I stunk. 

Kostas talked me into phoning my sister. I remember phoning Michelle at work, asking to speak to her husband Lee. She told me he was busy but she knew something was up. I told her to please not tell Mum, but I needed her to send me a copy of my national health card to the hospital. I told her I had hurt my leg or something. She knew I was lying. I changed it to I had hurt my back but not to tell Mum. She said she would sort it. An hour later a panicked struck Mum rang my phone. 'Great', I thought. I told my Mum not to worry and I was fine but I had hurt myself. I didn't tell her what had happened but she needed to fly out...As soon as. My Mum tried her ultimate best but there was no flights until the Saturday, until then Kostas and his family looked after me. On the Friday night, I remember getting wheeled to another ward. I was sobbing, I felt safe here with Kostas' family, they cared for me and I them. Kostas came with me to settle me in to the new ward. I was alone there and scared. I remember he stayed the night. It was the usual sleepless night with pain that made me pass out a few times. But again, I felt safe. I know some people may think how on earth could I feel safe with a stranger? But I did. 

I will write part 3 soon enough, it just brings up emotion from a horrible time, that I can only do so much.

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