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Daily Diaries – Jessica Rudland, Critical Care Unit (CCU) The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust – August 2015 – Day one.
Dads Diary notes from the first day August 3rd, 2015.
“So, Jess, this is my first night in critical care and guess how I got her? On blue lights in Ambulance, they sent one to our house looking for you.”
“They picked me up and brought me here. I am shocked to see my little baby with so many pipes fitted to her and wonder how you got here. Me and Mum are here and Ashley is on his way from London. Rest now Dad xxx”
Although these handwritten transcribed records look as though they were written calmly, I was probably in no fit state to be writing in the diary. Confused, lost, emotions were running high and no one seemed to have a clear idea what had happened to Jess. I had just walked in on my daughter in CCU and experienced an unfamiliar feeling of shock, despair, desperation and absolute panic in that order.
I am OCD by nature, I feel I need to have some control, On seeing Jessica comatose and bedridden, piped up in the mouth, neck, legs and arms, my legs went, they gave way and having never experienced such a feeling I was frightened and felt totally lost, alone and unsure of what was happening around her. In despair, I sat down quickly and slumped in the armchair beside her bed.
What were all these tubes for? What do all those sounds mean? Why are all these monitors attached and why is she in here?
This was a feeling I had never experienced before and would not experience again until the 13th August when a Doctor rang me at home and said: “Jessica has taken a turn for the worst.” The one and only night I left the hospital premises and Jessica had deteriorated rapidly. When your legs give way it’s like an electric shock throughout your body from the feet upwards, you have no way of controlling it, a hit to the brain and your body takes over, almost like a chemical reaction running through your veins.
All I knew was family were coming, beginning to arrive their reaction was similar to mine and Jessica’s Mother Sue. Puzzled by the enormity of the situation in an otherwise healthy young lady who had just had her first son some 13 days earlier. In August I created a Facebook Page for Jessica and left her messages and posted updates which I wanted her to read when she awoke from her coma. The image above is from 3 rd August, Jessica’s first day in the Critical Care Unit (CCU).
Individual Daily Diary Entries from Intensivists.
Jess my name is x, I am the nurse looking after you today you came into critical care after your visit to ED last night. Unfortunately, you had a cardiac arrest and it has transpired you have postpartum cardiomyopathy. Your heart is damaged caused by your pregnancy there is nothing you could have done to prevent it, it’s just, unfortunate, one of those rare diseases that can happen. We are looking after you and your respirator, a (breathing machine) to help with your breathing you have fluid in your lungs (pulmonary oedema) this prevents you from getting the right amount of oxygen when breathing.
We have given you a medicine to help get rid of it, and the ventilator helps also. It is working already and your blood gases (ABG’s) are much improving we have been able to wean the ventilator support down to a minimal. We were hoping we can wake you up soon you’re on medications called sedation (propofol and fentanyl) which help keep you asleep and you are slightly paralysed so we can help you breathe effectively. You also have a breathing pipe to your mouth.
The process of waking you is called the sedation hold because that’s what we do basically turn the sedation off, and see how you wake up. Your heart is not working well and this is making your heart rate very fast. The easiest way to explain it, one be my heart beats is equal to yours doing four or five to every one of my beats. If I squeezed a full bottle tomato sauce out, you get a big blob of sauce so that’s how the blood in your happy heart works. Your heart, unfortunately, isn’t happy and working like an empty bottle of tomato sauce. So only a very small amount comes out when it pumps.
Your body needs more than this one to squeeze, so it goes faster and faster to get more and more out, that’s why your heart rate is so high. We see this effect on our monitors so we are talking to Ipswich cardiologists and Papworth cardiologists all the time and at some point, you may need to be transferred there for further treatment.
I have met your partner and your beautiful son Lewin is adorable, your family have been to visit you and you’ve hardly been on your own at all. Keep strong and keep fighting Jess.