"My amazing 4 weeks in Castle Hill"
About: Castle Hill Hospital Castle Hill Hospital Cottingham HU16 5JQ
Posted by Julian Uzzell
There are not enough words available here to tell you everything about my experience, but I will attempt to write it in brief. I had a heart attack at home just before midnight on the 10th December 2012, I was not conscious, but know that the Preston Rd ambulance crew and first responder did an amazing job and kept me alive with 25 zaps on the paddles etc etc. The journey itself from home to hospital was taken slowly due to the sheet ice, the paramedic/driver showed her driving skills in the poor conditions, while the other ambulance person and the first responder worked on me in the back. My chances of survival went downhill after arriving at Castle Hill due to more heart attacks, kidney and liver failure and pneumonia. My family were told that it was unlikely I would recover. However, thanks to the expert staff at Castle Hill who worked tirelessly on me and following an 8 day induced coma, I woke up dazed and drugged but alive! I continued to make a steady recovery over the next 3 weeks whilst in intensive care. I never got used to the tracheotomy in my throat, which meant I couldn't speak, tubes everywhere, up my nose, into my neck, wrist etc. I had to learn to walk again, I couldn't stand up, or even write. It was a total shock to me and my family. One minute I was going to bed and expecting to drive to Norwich Airport the following morning to fly offshore to work, and the next, I am collapsing onto the bedroom floor etc. It has been a life changing experience for me and my family. After 3 weeks in intensive care, including a rather muted Christmas, I had so far gained 2 stents and a temporary pacemaker, gladly the latter was not required, so it was removed just before new year. I had kidney dialysis numerous times until the ward sister was happy with the results. This was a strange experience, like having cold water flushing through your body. I never warmed to that, excuse the pun. It came as a complete shock to me when one of the male nurses said "we will lift you out of bed tomorrow", I said "why? I will climb out". Tim explained to me that my legs had wasted over time and there would not be any strength in them, despite me feeling normal. He proved his point when I tried to stand for the first time and I shockingly couldn't support my own weight! I then had to suffer the indignity of being craned out in a canvas sling by what looked like an engine crane. It was a huge relief to be sat in a chair though after being in bed for so long. Over the next few weeks I progressed from being a 6ft 2" jellyfish to managing to shuffle about using a stick. Every now and again Physio would arrive at the bedside (Physio-terrorists) in the form of a lady, which took the edge off of it. My time on intensive care was an amazing experience, and the effects of some of the drugs were bizarre, nurses with orange cats faces and pointy ears, a swing band playing etc. I am out of words. I can't thank the staff enough, they a are just amazing. Thank you!