Dead is dead and you can only improve on it!
Well that's the motto in this business and it has been improved on professionally myself for the past 37 years.
Last year it was personal about as personal as it can get. Being the last 2 remaining of generation 7 you would think that one would get used to death, especially in a business where black humor is used to get through those days when one looses all faith in humanity. Just when you think you have seen it all. Out of left wing.
This time last year stress was a day to day event. The black mist had taken a different tack this time. Physical was its strategy. Like an old machine my body was breaking down at the age of 50 something.
After turning in the shower to get the shampoo I was suddenly in excruciating pain and paralyzed down the left side of my body. Home alone I then dragged myself down the hall into the study for the phone. Thank goodness for clean floors. Again with all the technology, no one was answering the phone. Guess it was vibrating in the Ute alone as usual. So emergency service embarrassment it was. This being the second ambulance to the property within 3 months.
Then vital spinal surgery x2 May & June last year. Successful. Praise God in Heaven, or so I thought. Walking again after the second surgery but still in hospital a new kind of hell broke loose on the 23 June 2014 at 0900hrs. Again with the bathroom! I wonder if death is going to get me in the bathroom. OMGracious.
The day started with a storm over our fair city like no other. A storm that was the worst in recorded history. Torrential rain wind 200kph lightening from the ancient Gods and destruction. No warning. I was in one of the oldest buildings in the city purpose built as a hospital.
I collapsed and on the way down I pressed the emergency button. You know the big red button on the wall marked emergency. Within seconds the tiny bathroom was filled with staff. That was a surprise. I remember being dragged to the bed. The surgeon must have been doing his rounds. I saw his face. Lights on/nobody home.
I regained consciousness in CCU, critical care. Surrounded by consultants and nursing staff. I remember the Medical officer apologizing for not being able to find a vein to cut down and insert a central line in my neck. Water was coming through the ceiling onto another monitor across the room. The city was in lockdown. Backup power was utilized. All I could hear was sirens down in the streets from the 2nd floor. I looked up to the monitor my BP was 30/20. Lights on /no- one home. Lights off/no- response.
Grandma H was standing at the end of my bed on the left side. She had her beautiful soft face, silken white hair. Dressed in a black cocktail length dress with matching coat. Her black handbag was over her arm and she was holding a white handkerchief near her face. Her shoes were also black. She had died when I was 3 months of age.
On her right side was Grandfather W, her father. He was in a dark pin stripped suit with a white high stud color shirt. He had a beard and was standing there with a gentle concerned face.
I said/thought/communicated "I know who you are your photo is on my dining room wall'. Everyone's photo for the past 3 generations is in our dining room. Rouges gallery as my late father named it.
With the same peace that she had arrived grandma H had gone. Mum, our dear L was now standing on the right side of grandfather W. She was wearing the clothes I had buried her in just nearly 9 years July 4. The sapphire silk purchased for her grand daughter's wedding the week prior to her sudden death.
Mum moved up towards my right shoulder. Grandfather W remained standing at the foot of the bed. Mum said "come home with me dear". She looked into my face and held out her arms ever so gentle. I noticed she had her rings on but that was impossible as we only cremated her with her wedding band and her remaining rings were at the farm in the fire safe. My response was I had too many things to do yet and she needed some peace. We often joked about getting peace after death.
If I knew what I was to go through this past 12 months then as I do now I would have gone home with mum. My body remained in the bed and I was aware of the commotion around me, but I couldn't feel anything.
I always thought my father's family would be the resilient ones that would stand the test of all time and creation. They tended to leave a 'presence' on the family history side. However it is proving to be mum's side of the family that was there when no living family could be.
Then the next stage of this fresh hell evolved. This was nothing I had experienced before and never wish to again. I was fighting, panic set in fighting for every breath for my mum for life for this to be a nightmare to end as the storm raged moving the building. Physically I was unable to move. Thinking, doing the inventory. God help me God are you on holiday or what? G & E where are you? Thinking everyone was around my bed. Peripheral line, arterial line, central line to name a few O2 BP ETT. The rain the wind, the pain. Vomit black sludge old blood. Panic. This was no patient this was ME. God in merciful heaven my chest hurt. Like a weight was on me. Then the penny dropped. Every successful resuscitation leaves broken ribs. Another vomit, mum come back. More lines going in. I vomited for 3 days and won't mention the rest because I am pretending it did not happen to me.
I was in CCU for 7 days then remained in hospital for 2 weeks. Toxicology due to complications with anesthesia caused Septicemia of the liver. The panic couldn't be quelled. I was hysterical and in great distress.
I still feel my dear mum and grandma around. Their images were as clear as crystal.
My brother couldn't come home at the time. He flew in the following Christmas. I was still very frail. I discussed seeing the family. I wanted his opinion not only as my big brother but as a trained minister in the Christian faith. He left the ministry and is now an engineer.
His response was, Sis mum's love for her mum was special real, pure, honest. As is our love for mum. The mind is a miracle a most powerful thing producing endorphins and adrenaline to provide the body with whatever it needs to get through a crisis. He believes they were there. Are there for comfort, love protect and renew life. He told me he often sees our Dad out in the desert. My brother works in the Pilbara dessert in Australia's most extreme conditions. He has his own company and takes a very active role. I also feel that there is more to the process of death and afterlife after being witness to many unexplainable events and now this. I have witnessed many unexplainable things throughout the past 30 odd years. Little things especially in palliative care. Has anybody else had an experience like I had in CCU?
I have resigned my contract, retaining my commission to take time for my health. I can walk. I have care; changes have been made to promote a quality of life. This past 12 months I have been working on an interesting project.~LIFE.
My brother also said 'sis it's not death you have to be afraid of it's the way we die.
DEAD IS DEAD!
I was DEAD nearly 5 minutes...DEAD...and the crew improved on it