About this time of year, three years ago, I began to notice occasional difficulty swallowing. It was December before I saw my GP. and was sent for an endoscopy. Just before Christmas i got a phone call from the hospital, would I go to ward 3 at about 1 o'clock on New Year's Eve. I thought that was very odd. Hospital appointments are never at "about" any time, and never on New Year's Eve. It must be very urgent. And I could only think of one thing that urgent. When I kept the appointment I was told I had esophageal cancer.
There followed weeks of tests, scans and xrays, long exhausting journeys through the snow, worry and misery.
On the 2nd of March I had an esophagectomy, and was recovering well, when things began to go wrong. All I can remember was sudden pain and wanting to go home because I knew I could breathe in my own bed, and I couldn't breathe there.
I'm told I had developed a duodenal ulcer which had perforated giving me a subphrenic abcess and then pneumonia.
I just know I woke up in hell. I was certain the nurses were going to kill me and the nightmares were terrible. They still haunt me.
So many odd things happened, I don't know in what order, or what is real.
I made up little rhymes to the rhythm of the ventilator.
The nurse's faces were all distorted , like in a funfair mirror, and they laughed at me. I dare not open my eyes in case they were there. Sometimes they imitated my family's voices
Once the staff performed very unusual sex acts in the middle of the ward.
Then I was wheeled along a corridor to a machine that was going to cut my head off.
I'm told I had an "away day" when I wouldn't wake up.
I'm not sure how long I was in ICU, I think it was about a month, and another month on the ward. All absolute hell for my family. I don't want to think about it , but I can't not think about it.