Last weekend I spent an amazing weekend in Lisbon with my wonderful husband Shiv.
This weekend I find myself a widow again?! I went from lazing in a luxury hotel spa last Friday to camping out on a sofa bed in our local hospital this Friday.
Firstly, let me tell you about my Shiv. A wonderful husband and father to our girls goes, without saying. More than that he was an amazing doctor a local GP who was like a stick of rock that had NHS all the way through, working at out of hours in addition to his practice with only one day off a week. A man who loved life to the full, we loved to travel as a way for him to release pressures of his work. Everywhere we went it didn’t matter who the people were, could have been a man living on the street or a VIP, Shiv was equally interested in them both.
We returned from Lisbon on Sunday lunchtime and went out for a family meal with our daughters and her boyfriend’s family in the evening.
Went to bed happy with no symptoms. Shiv started with vomiting and diarrhea at two in the Morning (Monday) temperature and shivering.
All usual I thought with a high temperature. I called him in sick in the morning and he asked for one of his colleagues to come out to him.
Shiv was complaining of pain in the kidney region and thought he had a kidney infection. By 11.00/11.30 shiv was delirious with a temperature of 40 breathing was very fast but again I thought that was normal for a high temperature.
When his colleague came at lunchtime Shiv didn’t even recognise him, instantly his colleague knew he was very ill, blood pressure was only 70/40 and an extremely fast heartbeat. I was told we needed blue lighting to hospital, needed IV antibiotics as soon as possible but he was confident he would respond quickly.
The Paramedic phoned through to the hospital with ETA, staff and drugs were ready and waiting and I had to leave him while they got lines in.
Five minutes later I was again by his side and IV antibiotics were in. I thought that was drama over, what I didn’t realise was anything about how this illness works and how serious the situation already was.
By now it is early evening, he was transferred up to Critical Care Complex, I found myself wondering why, when he was only going to have IV antibiotics administered.
I was asked to wait in the waiting room whilst they settled him in. Now my world began to fall apart the consultant took me aside and told me just how serious the situation was. I was shown to his side room and things went down rapidly. Although now the confusion was better and he was lucid and talking to me, checking if I had had dinner, looking after me as always.
What I couldn’t see was the destruction going on in his body, at 1:30 on Tuesday he needed a CT scan to find out where the infection was stemming from but he was to unstable to take without being ventilated.
After swapping I love yous I saw the frightened look in his eyes as he was on the receiving end of being ventilated rather than doing it as he had so many times during his anesthetist days. He was too ill to be able to do a CT scan as his kidneys were failing. The filtration of his kidneys was now the priority, this meant no way of moving from the room to do any investigations to find the root cause of the infection. So from this point on all they could do was fill his body with so many drugs to try and buy him time for the antibiotics to work.
Antivirals, antifungals were just a few of the drugs given and staff phoning all kinds of specialists to see if they could find out what the initial infection could be as no cultures were producing any results. The balance went on for the rest of the week, like juggling balls. Often treating by raising one drug would have a knock on effect on another. Just like juggling balls sometimes concentrating on one another would be dropped and need picking up.
Many times over the week we thought we were losing him, having to call in the family to watch and wait but he somehow found the strength to pick up the BP again. Thursday morning, we were told he was dying as until now the drugs, now up to maximum on all drugs and 100% oxygen, had been supporting his organs which are now in full multiple organ failure. The situation now is that although drugs are maxed out the organs were no longer responding to the drugs. If his heart fails, they can’t resuscitate as he is on maximum of adrenaline.
Again, he found some strength from somewhere his sats and bloods showed some marginal improvements over the next 24 hours.
Maybe there is a glimmer of hope of a recovery, we are still told that he would be too ill to resuscitate but a few more days like today and we may have the potential for recovery. Oxygen is turned down and some drugs are reduced. Changing filter to new cycle gave a worrying drop in BP but we had been told to expect that, drugs whacked up to full again and he was more stable.
My mind now turns to quality of life for my vivacious life loving husband who would not want to be here if he wasn’t able to do what he wanted. 02.15 (Saturday) I am called from my little sofa bed to his side as this time he has gone downhill in a different way and is now not responding at all to the drugs. Girls are called in again.
I had been widowed before when the girls were 8 and 11 years old, Shiv always promised me he would never put us through that again, I reminded him of it many times over the week. Now I found myself telling him that he didn’t need to stick to his promise and with that the heart rate and BP started coming down. After three hours, the end came with him being cuddled by myself and his two girls.
We now have to get used to a world without Shiv in it which is extremely painful for us. We cannot change our situation so have turned our energy to fight the illness that took him from us. Opening up the giving page in his memory, posting updates on his condition and death bringing awareness to the condition. We do not want another family to suffer as we are.