Between 15 August 2008 and 29 September 2008, my little boy was in a coma in a hospital in Johannesburg. The Staff and Management of said hospital had been so kind to my husband and me that they gave us a room in the Maternity ward to sleep in, as they knew we would not want to leave the hospital. About 10 days in (my mind was muddled due to all the stress, so my timeline is kind of wonky) there was a surge in pre-term births, and they needed to utilize the room we had been sleeping in. A nurse told us that there was a ward which had space for us, if we really felt we could stay there. She did not elaborate on this ward, and we were soon to find out the reason for it.
My husband (now my ex) answered for us, saying we would be happy as long as we did not have to sleep in our car. The hospital is a good hour's drive from home and it was past 10PM by then, so he really was not in the mood to drive home. We were directed to the Ward in question. For some reason I can not remember the number of the Ward, but later found it ironic to what we had experienced. We were directed to the back of the hospital. The Peads ICU is located on the second floor, about a third of the way in from the front of the hospital. To get to our destination, we had to go down to ground floor, and then take a separate set of stairs to the basement level.
The passages we had to follow were dark in places, seeming to really be out of a horror flick, with fluorescent lights flickering on and off and being able to hear your own breathing and footsteps very clearly. We reached the final set of stairs, leading to the basement level and my husband, who had been next to me the entire time, now took the lead and headed down the stairs. When you stand at the top of the stairs you can see about a foot into the ward before the ceiling obscures your view. I stood there, feeling really uncomfortable going into that ward. My husband reached the bottom of the stairs and disappeared from my view.
The hairs on my arms were standing on end; I had goose bumps all over and I walked down the stairs slowly. As I got to about the middle, I could see into the ward. It had the usual nurse's station and the passage with the rooms leading off both sides, but there were beds devoid of mattresses scattered all over.
Reaching the last step, I realized there was a large gate and bars about two feet away from where I stood. I immediately thought of programs where a prisoner walks into the prison and the heavy gate slams shut behind him. My husband stood peering over the nurse's station desk, looking for heaven knows what. As I took in the sights around me, I knew I was looking at the ward where prisoners had been kept. I tried to take the last step but could not move from where I stood. I had the distinct feeling that I was being held back from going in there. I could feel eyes on me from inside the ward, the feeling was intense and very uncomfortable, and then I "heard" a voice say into my mind; "Don't go in there". I could not differentiate between sexes, did not know if it was male or female, but just as I heard this my husband came running to me, grabbed my hand and pulled me back up the stairs.
He told me he had felt someone push past him as he was standing at the nurse's station and it felt very cold and very wrong. He also mentioned he heard eerie giggling coming from a presumably empty room down the passageway.
I've never seen fear like that on his face before, though a few days later I saw it again in ICU with our son.
Since coming to realize that Charlie is always with me, and him telling me he was with us in ICU, I now know it was he warning me. He knew there were bad spirits lurking in that Ward and wanted me nowhere near it. In addition, guess where we ended up sleeping that night? The car was a very welcome bed.
We were like nomads for two more nights, helped with rooms in other, operational wards, and finally getting a room in the Maternity ward again. I never had any bad feelings there, but walking the passageways between Maternity and the Paeds ICU in the early morning hours as my husband and I took turns sitting by our son's bed at night, I had repeated feelings of being followed and watched.