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Between then and now (Part 2)

Mental Health and Trauma Blog | Noisy

TW: Graphic Content / Miscarriage We all have our own idea of what death is like. At least once in our lives we have sat and imagined how it would feel. Does it hurt? Is it scary? Would we know what was happening? As much as I've contemplated death, it couldn't have been further from what I had imagined. "Do you consent to a blood transfusion?" Words I honestly never thought I'd be asked. As I laid on the hospital bed, getting weaker by the second, those words cut through the noise of doctors and nurses rushing around me, through the constant and increasing beeping of the machines I was attached to. It took every ounce of strength I had to lift my head up. "Yes." Although I knew things were serious I didn't realise to what extent. I knew I was losing a lot of blood, but I wasn't aware of how much. I found myself staring at the ceiling tiles, as I was the day I found out there was no heartbeat. Weirdly, it brought comfort, I still don't understand why. I imagine it reminded me of a time when although my life had been turned upside down, it was a time I was still very much alive. You never feel more alive than when you're close to death. It's a moment in time when you're aware of your mortality. I wasn't filled with regret, I didn't panic or cry. I simply thought, what happens next? Is there anything after this? Alarms were blaring as more and more doctors and nurses surrounded me. "She needs to be taken down to emergency theatre now!" I couldn't help but notice the sense of urgency in his voice as he spoke. I turned my head towards my mum who quietly watched from the corner of the room as the chaos unfolded in front of her. I can't imagine how she must have felt. She showed little emotion, but I could see her eyes filling with tears. She was watching her daughter bleed out and there was nothing she could do. Within minutes doctors and nurses wheeled me down to the theatre room. I don't know how long it took, I lost all sense of time. I continued to look up at the ceiling tiles, every few seconds I would squint my eyes as we went under a strip light. By the time we got outside the theatre room I no longer squinted at the bright lights, I stared at them. At this point darkness crept in from the corners of my eyes. I became aware I was going to lose consciousness. I subconsciously told myself to stay awake, no matter what, I had to stay awake. But my eyes grew heavier by the second and it was a relief to close them. "Stay with us, open your eyes, come on, stay with us!" The brush of a nurses knuckles over my collar bone made me open my eyes. The bleeding continued and I became aware of just how bad it was. Every few seconds I felt a gush of blood pour from me onto the bed. I didn't have much sensation in my body, but I could feel that. I focused on it, anything to keep myself conscious. I came to a sudden stop as I found myself next to the theatre table. I turned my head and thought to myself how uncomfortable it looked, it was just a metal slab. I couldn't help but imagine myself lying there, lifeless and cold. Doctors and nurses gathered around as they prepared to move me onto the table. I lifted my head and looked down to see a river of red. My waist down was crimson, the white sheets I laid on were soaked ruby red, blood dripped from the bed and onto the floor as it poured from me. The realisation hit me, I was dying. I was moved onto the table. It was so cold but I was grateful, it helped me hold onto life. I focused on the sound of my blood dripping onto the floor as the muffled voices around me grew fainter. I glanced down towards the end of the room and watched as a surgeon began to scrub in. "Hey, you're still with us, that's good!" I gave a smile at the second surgeon who stood by my head. I didn't speak, I could only smile. He asked me general questions about my life, trying his best to keep me conscious. I occasionally gave one word answers but they were slurred. His reassuring presence soon changed when the blood he requested hadn't arrived. "I need that blood now!" He looked back at me and smiled once again, I think he was trying his best to comfort me. He didn't need to though, I had accepted what was happening. I closed my eyes. "No, stay with me! Open your eyes!" I half opened my eyes to see the panic in his. I turned my head to the right to look at the monitors I was wired up to. My vision was blurry but I could just make out the numbers and lines. Sounds became echoes and the only thing I could focus on was the beeping of the machines. But the beeping slowed down and continued to do so with every passing second. I looked back to the surgeon. "I don't want to die." Speaking to him took every ounce of strength and fight I had left in me. As I closed my eyes for the final time a warm sensation washed over me. It was calming, inviting, it felt comforting, like a warm duvet on a freezing night. "Stay with me, please, stay with me!" For a moment I felt peace. There was no sound, no pain, just warmth as I was consumed by darkness. Then there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. For 40 minutes there was nothing. I didn't feel, I wasn't aware, there was just emptiness.

I opened my eyes. My vision was blurry and sounds were still muffled. I didn't have any significant sensation throughout my body. A nurse appeared by the side of my head where the surgeon previously stood. "Am I dead?" Laughter filled the once tense room as she smiled at me. "No, you are very much alive, but you did give us a bit of a scare." I looked over to my right at the clock on the wall, I took note of the time but it didn't register (you know that annoying thing where you look at your phone to see what time it is but find yourself doing it again moments later because you can't remember what it said). Although the nurse told me I was alive, I wasn't convinced. The last thing I knew, I was bleeding out with a surgeon doing everything in his power to keep me awake. The pain I began to feel radiating through my body was the only reassurance of my mortality. I used what little strength I had to try and sit myself up but I was quickly stopped. "No! Don't get up, you can't move yet. You have a catheter in." In a split second I went from feeling very little, to being fully aware of the tube going into my bladder. "Please, please take that thing out of me!" I'd never had one before and it was the most uncomfortable feeling. I was fine until I was aware of it, then it was all I could feel. I laid still while the nurses checked me over. I looked around the room, it seemed so peaceful. A stark comparison to less than an hour before. I moved my head to look around the room for the surgeons, but they had already left. I wanted to thank them, for bringing me back and saving my life. The nurses talked amongst themselves as they continued to check me over, occasionally asking me how I was feeling. I honestly didn't know how to answer the question at the time, so my responses were always generic. Emotionally, I felt numb. There wasn't any recognisable emotion I was feeling. I continued to lie still and think about what I experienced after I lost consciousness. It felt so real. Was it real? Did that place really exist?

This, is the fight of your life. - Noisy


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