Exactly five-and-a-half weeks ago I felt the disease rearing up and went back to "my" hospital. Christmas was still possible. My wife came to visit me every day but I remember nothing because...
Exactly five weeks ago I was crashing. They intubated me, transferred me to ICU, and put me into an induced coma.
Exactly one month ago -- they told my wife that there would probably be an opening on the New Years' guest list.
When she came back the next day, they told her she was now basically married to a potato. That I'd probably die without regaining consiousness and even if they did manage to wake me (glossing over the fact that they were the ones to put out my lights), I'd be prone and on a ventilator until I had the decency to shuffle off anyway. Happy Christmas.
Exactly four weeks ago I woke up. It wasn't my most pleasant day but I had no idea...
Exactly three weeks ago the ventilation tube was removed and I was able to breathe normally almost immediately. I demanded the phone and called home. I heard the tone of her voice as she received another call from the hospital at an unexpected hour.
"I love you," came my rasp.
"You don't know how long I've been waiting to hear that."
"You don't know how long I've been waiting to say it."
Within two hours I'd ditched the oxygen mask; I was able to breathe regular air, unaided.
Exactly two-and-a-half weeks ago I was moved out of ICU and up to a monitoring ward. All but four tubes had been removed.
The next day my 4-year-old daughter was able to visit me. Penny purse in hand, she insisted on buying us both an ice cream. Never has shit ice cream tasted so good. We ate it together in my wheelchair.
Exactly one-and-a-half weeks ago I was transferred to a normal ward for a few days' observation as the last of my tubes were removed and all IV meds were replaced with tablets. Shitty but solid food and release in sight.
I kept walking until I had to sit down, then walked some more. And more. And more. Within two days I could do 140m without a break. The sooner, the better, the less rehab.
Exactly one week ago I was released. Before lunch.
Today I'm back at work, back to doing home tasks, recovering without therapists, and doing pretty much everything that's supposed to be impossible, from picking up my kids to going shopping for groceries.
Tomorrow morning my daughter and I will make pancakes together. When they're done I'll grab the baby and let my wife sleep a little longer.
A couple of hours ago I was at my GP's again. They'd kept him apprised of the goings-on and told him things that hadn't been included in the official notes. I wasn't quite as sly as I'd thought. The ICU people had seen me trying to exercise my arms and legs whenever I thought they weren't around. That alone may have saved me years of physical therapy.
Update since I couldn't finish writing this in time:
We made pancakes together. She remembers all the ingredients, most of the recipe, and did most of the work. It was just the start of a good day.
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