After 10 years of the inability to do many daily activities in my life and continual pain and on many painkillers, on 29th May my life changed forever. My Anaphylactic reaction to a drug administered prior to an operation, my heart stopping for 17 minutes until I responded. My sons were contacted by the hospital to make their way to the Royal Melbourne Hospital urgently. After CPR and three Defibrillator shocks I did eventually respond and was taken to ICU for two days, where I was monitored constantly.
When I awoke in ICU, sitting beside me was a Chaplain of the Uniting Church. Two of my sons arrived a short time after. My daughter-in-law had contacted my grandchildren who now live in the Gold Coast and the two of them had flown down on the first available flight to be with me. Two of my other grandchildren visited me the next day, with my younger son and his wife arriving the night before I was discharged. I never had needed to see and touch my family so much.
Chaplain Julie visited me on a number of occasions during my stay, which I found very comforting. I opened up about my involvement in the Church growing up and how the Church treated me when I went for them for help whilst I was in a violent marriage. They didn’t want to know me, let alone help me. I now attend Church and find it very comforting. I have also taken advantage of their live streaming of services when I am unable to attend personally.
I found I was questioning my priorities in life. I started really appreciating waking up in the morning, getting pleasure watching the birds, plants and stars. Seeing them differently, not as objects, just being there, but why they are there, questioning and trying to have a better understanding of life itself. I am still discovering so much about being alive.
I am looking at and now more accepting of other peoples’ actions, the decisions they make, without my making judgement. It was a shock to realise that I was thinking this way - who am I to judge people? I am now more accepting of people for who they are. I have found my interaction with my family is somewhat different, we appreciate each other more, we contact each other regularly and tell each other that we love them and value their being here. (Unfortunately, though, nothing changed within the family with regarding the relationship between my sons – still there is time).
I am more content with my life – I used to think I was, but now I know I am. I do feel different. Things that mattered before no longer do. There are other things to appreciate.
I eventually had my operation nine weeks later in August. This time it was successful. I am without pain, I am still weak on one side, but I am alive and so looking forward to learning about myself and who I am. Chaplain Julie was once again by my side during my stay in hospital, which I was grateful for as I was rather frightened at the time. I did look forward to seeing her again as I have so much to thank her for.