We were back again the next morning, walking through the dismal corridors to the single waiting room, a couple of broken sofas and a kettle for comfort. We were able to go in to see her again, masks over our faces. They still hadn’t ruled out pneumonia and hadn’t ruled out her being contagious. She was still in the room on her own, one nurse keeping her company, and a couple of plastic chairs by a big barred window. This was a room with no air con – the window had to be opened – daft for a room with someone in a coma.
I had liaised with the Marsden, so I knew they were aware of things, but I still wasn’t sure how involved they were with the treatment. I did learn they were in talks behind the scenes, but before then we were in the dark, and feeling very alone.
And none more so, than when the doctor called us outside the room, into the dingy waiting room. We knew things were still in the balance, but he didn’t sugar coat anything. Her lungs were struggling, as was her heart, kidneys, liver, almost anything they could check. It was a battle to keep her going.
He then told us we should bring the family into see her, as she didn’t have long.
As when we had the diagnosis, my blood ran cold, and a sweat came over me. My mother in law was in shock. We had barely told the children how bad things were, and they hadn’t seen her in two days. When they had left her she was talking and playing games with them – how could I explain that their mother wasn’t able to see them, talk to them, was in a bed with tubes and machines, and would never come home.
That conversation is my biggest fear. I can hold things together for me, most of the time. There have been a few lapses of control, but the dark days can be put at bay. But the children, how do I tell them. I cant even comprehend how, what I say to them, how do I make it better.
And now a doctor was telling me that that conversation had to happen now. I had to get some air. It was raining outside but I didn’t care. That horrible Soviet style hospital, an institution dated back to the 70s had taken my wife away.
When I came back in, we resolved not to tell people to come in straight away. Family knew what was going on, but we didn’t want to rush them unnecessarily. The nurses seemed a bit calmer – and that helped us feel better. But it was still a depressing evening.
However, by the next morning, things had changed. The Marsden were now involved on a closer level, and her specialist had galvanised the ‘A Team’. They had access to drugs the NHS couldn’t afford, and that meant hope. And as we also found out, that meant a surprise transfer to the London hospital. We left the room to get a sandwich, while she was to be moved to the ward, and while there the doctors had organised an ambulance, and another high speed ride was initiated. We were out of the old hospital, and now into the arms of the Marsden doctors.