The Intensive Care Unit – it was a mad human circus

October 30, 2020

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

ICU was a mad human circus.  It was always wide awake, brightly lit and very loud. 

ICU was a mad human circus.  It was always wide awake, brightly lit and very loud.

I awoke to hear a fellow inmate shout, “Feck off you, fecking eediet!”  The cursing Irishman was called Simon. I knew this because the nurses spent the next four days shouting, “Simon! What’s your name, Simon? Do you know where you are, Simon? Can you tell me your name?” 

Doris was in the next-door bed to Simon.  She was the proud owner of a new phone, into which she shouted to all and sundry her predictions on her medical diagnosis.  “I’m going to die, mate… my heart’s no good, mate.”   Doris didn’t look remotely like she was going to die after she engineered a hairdressing session in her corner of ICU.  My ‘nurse of the day’ and I were deeply impressed.  You couldn’t make it up! 

ICU was a mad human circus.  It was always wide awake, brightly lit and very loud.

Christopher, next door to me, was wonderfully silent.  A few others were on ventilators.

I had bags of saline dripping into a vein in my hand.  Apparently, there was an abnormal amount of liquid being produced, yet I was losing sodium and potassium.  This meant every thirty minutes there was a flurry of activity around my bed throughout the day and night.

ICU was a mad human circus.  It was always wide awake, brightly lit and very loud.

The registrar and a group of junior doctors would meet up and declare, “What? That’s impossible! So much! Are you sure? Really?” 

My wonderful surgeon popped in to tell me that if my body was left to its own devices it would most likely balance itself perfectly well.  He thought I should come off the saline drips.  

The trouble with those wise words was I was the only witness.

I was holding up my swollen hand on the fourth night.  It looked like a pale marigold glove filled with water.  I mentioned the similarities to a nurse who replied that she thought it looked quite normal. 

“No.  I can assure you that I had knuckles in the old days.  And incidentally my hand is now so full, that it’s overflowing into the pillow.”

The morning of the fifth day, the nurse shift had just changed.  The saline bag was being lifted into place.

“Oh. Sorry, I’m not going to have that anymore.  Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be working your way.  So, I’m going to try my way… which is to just say No!  

Enough was enough.  I’d been terribly well behaved until then (which was extremely rare) but unfortunately my true colours had just broken through. 

ICU was a mad human circus.  It was always wide awake, brightly lit and very loud.

I said…”no more drip” and then anarchy happened… everybody started rebelling!

Well, it seemed silent Christopher had also had enough!  He sat up and declared, rather forcefully, “Nurse, I am refusing this medicine… no more for me.”

Then to my horror I heard a loud shout, “Feck off away from me, you eeediets.  I’m out of here! Let me home!” 

Oooops! I was transferred out of ICU and upstairs to a single room within the hour. 

I mentioned to my surgeon that he might wish to avoid the ICU for a little while and, if asked, to say he has absolutely no idea who I was!

To read previous posts about Miranda’s health story, click here

We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who works in the NHS – we really appreciate all your sterling efforts.

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