It’s been a surprising couple of weeks – you just never know what will happen!
After twisting my foot on the rocks near Moraira beach on a Saturday, I rested it Sunday & worked at the computer with it raised on Monday. In hindsight, definitely not the best thing to do (isn’t hindsight great?), but my foot was swollen & it hurt.
On the Tuesday morning, I rose & couldn’t walk the dogs, but pottered about my usual routine for a couple of hours, tidying & feeding the pets etc, before heading to the shower. All of a sudden I felt faint & sick, with a pain in my sternum, thumping heart & breathlessness!
My first thought – a panic attack (though I’ve never had one), so I crawled to bed to rest. I was so out of breath as though I’d climbed a steep flight of stairs, not gasping, but breathing quite slowly & very deeply which calmed a little after a short lie down.
Until I rose again when the sheer exhaustion & breathlessness returned, so we were off to the medical centre.
I was put straight on various monitors with clips to my chest, fingers, ankles & wrists, followed by oxygen, then a CT scan of my chest. I was wheeled to a room & lay sucking in oxygen whilst Rob & I waited what seemed like hours for the doctor to return.
Rob had to disappear a couple of times to check the parking ticket on the car, then move it, whilst I mentally made peace with potentially receiving bad news. I reflected on taking the decision to leave home in the UK & travel Europe, though we only made it to Portugal & Spain. I was happy we’d enjoyed some great experiences & if that was it, if I had less time than expected to continue on, so be it.
Then the doctor returned with a few nurses in tow & shooed Rob from the room.
I was really scared.
The doctor didn’t speak much English, so one of the nurses passed on the message that I had thrombosis in both lungs & would be transported by ambulance to Intensive Care in Gandia main hospital.
Wired-up to machines & monitors, with twice daily blood thinning injections, scans & x-rays, I wasn’t allowed out of bed in ICU. I didn’t feel at all well, slept a lot & time didn’t pass too slowly, especially as my bed was the last in the ward & all the staff had to pass on the way to their rest room.
I noticed a young trendy bloke arrive at work in his shiny shoes, tight jeans & smart leather jacket. On the first day, he remained in this outfit so I assumed he worked in admin or IT. However on day 2, he was in a white coat & scrubs, but someone elses I think, as his trousers were waaay too big & he walked about hitching & holding them up. Definitely a knock to his cool image!
When visiting, Rob commented on the waveforms on my monitor, the musician in him attributing a sound to each, so we had a laugh as I changed the ‘noise’ by wiggling my finger & moving my arms 🙂 Only once though as I didn’t want the nurses to come running unecessarily! It was good to see Rob laugh as he’d obviously been so stressed & worried.
My progress was good & late Thursday afternoon I was transferred to the Cardiology & Pneumology ward, still not allowed out of bed until 24 hours later. After that, I was limited to my room. However, after having to call for a bed pan & having nurses give me bed baths, being able to get up was just wonderful & Rob helped me shower. The feel of warm water on my skin was sheer bliss. I’d a decent view out of my window too, over orange groves to the hills & Rob brought me tea in a flask – my saviour!
Life was good.
I was so grateful to be alive, likely to fully recover (albeit on meds for a while), grateful for the efficiency of the Spanish Healthcare system, the tireless work of the healthcare professionals, who should be praised & thanked in whichever role or nation they work.
It was probable that my blood coagulated in response to the shock of the strained foot & resting it allowed a clot to form before working it’s way to my heart & lungs. I should have moved more, but my foot hurt & prevented my doing-so – a natural instinct.
I was receiving anti coagulants, having frequent blood tests & sent for scans on my legs & heart. My chest pain subsided & I gradually felt stronger. I’d kept my clients up-to-date by WhatsApp & had an associate colleague covering work for the largest.
I was a really surreal experience for Rob & I, a worry for our loved ones, but thanks to having my smart phone we were easily able to keep in touch. This was crucial, for them, to know I was improving, & also for me as being so far away from family, Rob was my only visitor.
It’s said so many times – live life to the full & don’t take a moment for granted, love your family & friends, take time for & spend time with them – it’s true, you just don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next week, month or year etc.
Not all our family understand why we left them & chose a nomadic lifestyle, & we do miss them. I’ll be back to see my loved ones in the summer when I’m fully well.