… CONTINUED FROM DIARY No 10 …
SUNDAY 3rd MAY
In the last few blogs, I have been posting messages from my friend in Central London whose friend has been seriously ill with coronavirus in a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit since April 4th. Her latest update is:
A bit of encouraging news for Sunday lunch.
My friend’s breathing has thankfully stabilised again so they are trying him off the vent for an hour to breathe with just an oxygen mask. Not for long because his breathing muscles tire quickly, but it means he has regained a bit of ground.
Kidneys still needing machine. BP needing slightly less help.
I just had a video call with him. They had raised his head in bed and he looked sleepy but comfortable. When I said his name a few times he briefly opened his eyes. I chatted to him for about 3 minutes about his daughter and the garden and the choir. At the end I said, “We are going to beat this and we are all waiting for you to come home,” and then the nurse told him to smile and his lips moved very slightly!
I felt that he is definitely in there, wanting to communicate. It took so much effort, but he did it.
UK reported deaths in the last 24 hours are up 315 to a total in hospitals, care homes and elsewhere to 28,131.
At 1730 instead of going out, I had a nap and woke up at 1930. So bang goes my daily walk and even changing out of my pyjamas. This will be the first time in lockdown that I have not gone out for a daily exercise.
It seems a short, slippery slope from this to living in a tent in my bedroom, shitting in the bedside table and eating spiders and occasional unlucky mice.
Meanwhile, Romanian showbiz star Dragos Mostenescu has posted another in his series of videos about being in lockdown in London with his family.
MONDAY 4th MAY
In the last 24 hours an additional rise of 288 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, making the total 28,743.
Today’s message from my friend in Central London was:
On Friday, the consultant told me he didn’t expect my friend to last the weekend.
This morning, he said that he was surprised to see my sick friend has gained some ground. His breathing has stabilised again and he managed some hours off the ventilator with only the help of a mask. Oxygen requirement about 30%.
And more positives… After my video call with my friend yesterday, the nurse said today he is more alert! This morning he squeezed her hand on command and also tracked her finger with his eyes. She thinks he even managed a slight nod in answer to a question.
After all that, he was exhausted and went into a heavy sleep, so I probably won’t get to speak to him today. Apparently he didn’t sleep at all last night, so, rather than give him sedatives, they will try to regulate his rhythms with melatonin.
The nurse asked me to send photos of friends and loved ones. The staff will print them out and put them round his bed so he’ll have something familiar to look at when he’s awake. I’ll also send a photo of his beloved garden.
Slowly slowly slowly, with our love and prayers…
TUESDAY 5th MAY
My friend in Central London messaged me:
He developed an infection today so that is another new bump on the road.
In the early evening they phoned me about the fungal infection and said that, if it became invasive, it was very serious because invasive Candida is a big killer in ICUs.
WEDNESDAY 6th MAY
My friend in Central London sent me two messages today:
I didn’t sleep a wink. Then this morning spoke to the consultant.
They are still treating the fungal infection.
He had a body CT scan yesterday. Unsurprisingly, it shows extensive changes in his lungs and abnormal changes in the kidneys – both expected results as the virus affected both. They also found signs of colitis/inflammation in the bowel – again not surprising with the amount of meds he’s on.
Now the good stuff. Christina who is looking after him, last saw him when she ceased his sedation some weeks ago. Today she was crying tears of happiness to see his progress. The other staff thought she was being too emotional!
But he squeezed her hand this morning and is slightly nodding and shaking his head to questions. She asked him whether he’s in pain. He shook his head.
The physios have been in and sat him on the end of the bed for a few minutes, with support. He can lift one hand, but still has no feeling in his feet so they didn’t stand him. He can’t yet keep his head upright without help but he did try. He has accumulated quite a lot of fluid from being immobile, so the physios keep him moving, even when lying down. This was the first time the physios felt he was ready to sit.
Christina said that he is trying to mouth words and she explained to him not to try to actually speak yet because of his tracheostomy.
She also said that, now he’s more awake, they are constantly telling him where he is, what time and what day and how long he’s been there, what the weather is like and bits from the news.
Yesterday I had a short FaceTime with him but he was really sleepy. Christina will try again today but, after his considerable exertions this morning, he may sleep the rest of the day.
Lastly, this was our final chat with the consultant (not Christina) as we are “past the peak” – ICU admissions have stabilised – so the consultant can now return to non-COVID-19 patients in another ICU. He wished my friend well for a continued recovery although, in his typical fashion, he warned it will be a long road.
He said he was sorry that, in these terrible times, he could not deliver his reports to us in a more personal way rather than by phone. He added that he was grateful to be able to leave us on a day when my friend looked more stable.
Yay! Had a lovely FaceTime with my friend! For about 5 minutes!! He was awake the whole time. He smiled! I told him about all the messages from his friends, family and workmates. He mouthed a couple of words too.
The speech therapist will see him to assess whether he is ready to have a speech valve fitted – maybe this week.
And the sun is shining. A pretty darn good day!
THURSDAY 7th MAY
In the last 24 hours, UK coronavirus deaths rose by 539 to a total of 30,615
A couple of weeks ago, “somewhere in Southern England”, my friend Lynn shot a video of what happened in her street during the weekly ‘Thursday night clap’ for the NHS.
Tonight, her husband Frank shot a second video reminding us how Brits react in total lockdown… Lynn is glimpsed at the very end (definitely not at the very start)…
FRIDAY 8th MAY
Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Big celebrations had been planned country-wide but of course, with self-isolation and distancing, it was mostly a stay-at-home-and-watch-the-TV day.
I was in bed most of the day with a swirly head and my deadened brain feeling like it was wrapped in a thick towel inside my skull. When I stood up or walked, my legs ached.
I felt a tiny bit vomity – at the bottom of my throat – but I knew I would not vomit.
I had a slight difficulty breathing in bed.
But it ain’t coronavirus; I think just an effect of inactivity, stuck at home.
South London neo-punk group The Outbursts posted a song online which gives a further insight into the effects of a (now) seven-week lockdown.
But, in fact, Outbursts member Ian Breslin tells me it is nothing to do with lockdown. He says:
“It’s dedicated to a chap I was fishing with in the Amazon for a month. He didn’t wash for 9 days, smelt of puke. He confessed that the longest he has gone without washing was 6 weeks. He had fungus on his balls. He rubbed banana skin all over his face in the mornings, as he was worried about cancer from suncream etc. After 3 days, his face was full of blisters…”
Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, coronavirus deaths in the UK rose by 626 to a total of 31,241.
SATURDAY 9th MAY
In the last 24 hours, coronavirus deaths rose by 346 to a total of 31,587.
I am feeling perfectly fine again today. Of course.
I am reminded of a philosophical example of false logic.
“There is heavy snow on the tracks, so the train arrived late at the station.”
“The train arrived late at the station, therefore there must have been heavy snow on the tracks.”
… TO BE CONTINUED …