Just over a month ago, I awoke in the night at about 1.30 am and I knew something was badly wrong, although I couldn’t speak. I was lying flat, but I felt terribly dizzy to the point that I was soon violently sick. After an hour or so I was vomiting blood, so I was taken to hospital here in Exeter and subjected to a battery of tests as the night passed.
I was conscious throughout little of this, but in my waking moments I learned that the consensus of opinion among the doctors was that I’d somehow contracted a viral infection that had affected my balance and made me so ill. I was put alone into a sideroom and given barrier nursing because of the possible risk of infection, but all this and more remains a blur.
The next night, I remember getting up and thinking something like “Thank God that’s over” before losing my balance and collapsing again, while the rest of my conscious hours of that night pretty much define my perception of my illness. It is impossible for me to describe how ill I felt, because it was as if I had a burning fever along with the inability to balance or look after myself in any way.
I was seated in a chair, vomiting continually and sweating profusely, feeling so bad that I wished that I would die and it seemed never-ending. Throughout all this, I was attended by Theresa, a Spanish nurse and by Tamsin, an English nurse, who kindly looked after me when I was at my lowest point and I wouldn’t be here without them, so as I wrote earlier, this terrible sickness is all I can think about as far as my illness is concerned.
The doctors at the hospital in Exeter were far less interested in this viral infection than in other matters that manifested themselves as a result of all the tests I’d had. It appears I have had numerous heart attacks that I’m completely unaware of, so after a little while, I was transferred by ambulance to the Royal Brompton Hospital in West London for surgery, something that filled me with dread. Not long before I was taken to London, I learned that Blueboy had died, something that would otherwise have added to my burdens by filling me with intolerable sorrow, but I don’t feel he’s ever left me for a moment.
I can write very little more because I’m so shattered. Last week, I had open heart surgery and a triple bypass, along with grafts and more drugs, needles and intrusive procedures than I’ve ever had in my life. I feel fragile and emotional, so it’s going to take me a long time to get back to my usual dynamic self but I’m still here and I distinctly remember whispering “Not Today!”, instead of numbers when I was put under. My family have told me of every phone call, every card, every inquiry and every good wish, so while it’s been impossible to acknowledge these and will be for a good while yet, thank you all so much for your kindness and may a thousand blessings pour down upon your heads.