Critical Care Ward at the Royal Stoke Hospital
The diary entries below were written by Ruth and her mother Jean.
Day 1 - Friday 31st July 2015
Weird: When Dave woke Friday morning he slept through three alarms. He said "Had the deepest sleep ever and had dreamt about being in a really deep sleep".
Initial attempts to bring Dave around.
Reacted very strongly - limbs moving, understood instructions.
Re-sedated due to breathing pattern.
Nurses are amazing, a top team
Gradual reduction of sedation all week.
Brought Dave close to consciousness.
Me and Sue visited and he was eating well.
Day 8: Black Friday - 7th August 2015
Dave vomited in early hours of the morning which caused his system to free-fall.
We were prepared for the worst.
Dave turned on to his stomach for drugs to sedate to the right level. One of which was to give artificial paralysis.
[DMW: There is a two week gap between diary entries. You can view my mother's own diary around Black Friday by clicking on this link]
Day 23 - 22nd August 2015
Dave turned a corner in the night (Friday) and stabilises.
Eyes open again.
Starts soon to return to full unconsciousness.
Still not very responsive.
Doctor mentions locked-in syndrome.
Day 30 - 29th August 2015
Ruth unable to visit for first time.
Responding at a new level.
Sits out in the chair for the first time.
Day 33 - 1st September 2015
Dave smiles in recognition and reacts well when I visited with mum.
AW visits. Ruth speaks to sister to restrict AW. Ruth speaks to sister about AW leaving due to Dave's state in evening. Clearly in pain.
Dave starts with urine infection.
Dave is moved to new ward.
Dave starting to say a few faint words.
AW visits again - Ruth steps in with his employers and the ward manager.
Day 41 - 9th September 2015
Dave very lucid for first time for about 3 hours.
Asking about accident.
"Knows it's been terrible".
Dave moves late evening to ward 228.
Day 50 - 18th September 2015
Dave starting to make sense of the world and events that have happened to him.
Readsfrom the whiteboard for the first time - location and date.
Dave obsessed with wee process!
Uses bottle in bed himself for the first time.
Dave convinced he went to the moon, but when asked if he'd seen Neil Armstrong: "He was there earlier than I was".
What does Ruth do for a living?: "Sorting out lots of stuff for rabbits... and recruitment".
Understatement of the year: "Ruth you are doing a fab job darling, I'm just embarrassed I've been a bit under the weather".
Obsessed with oranges: "When I was reading the Telegraph Ruth, is there anything in there about the orange situation".
Day 55 - 23rd September 2015
Passed swallowing assessment and started on thickened water and yoghurt.
Dave pulls out feeding tube again, Ruth threatens to sit in until it's sorted.
Physios had Dave on his feet for the first time.
Ruth initiated legal action (for AW).
Dave moves to Haywood.
Fully back with us next day and raring to go.
Feeding tube comes out.
Puree food and thickened drinks.
Day 59 - 27th September 2015
[DMW: Olivia visits me for the first time - it was the eve of Olivia's 11th birthday. Olivia has since told me that despite all the advice she'd received, she expected to see a person with broken limb type injuries. Seeing me with a shaved head and skull scars was disturbing, but she said that in conversation I seemed nothing like the dad she knew.]
[DMW: This is a different diary than the one I referenced on 'Day 8' above.]
David in hospital after a very bad accident, special care.
I was with Ruth at hospital. David to be left asleep for over 24-36 hours.
Contacted Sue in St. Lucia.
All we can do is hope!!!
Ruth came at 6:30am, she was with him all night.
Emma, Laura, Amy coming around 12:30 / 1:00 pm
David has had comfortable night, they might try to ease the pressure today.
Met Aidan Bolger's mum at the hospital, she works there.
Sue will be coming today around noon, she'll be on her own.
Les rung, he is bringing me some shopping over. I didn't know about this, he is such a good boy. Les brought me bags of stuff from Sainsburys, that boy is simply marvellous.
Debbie is coming with us to visit the hospital today.
Had an angina attack. Sat it out, eventually it subsided.
Went to see the doctor. I got told off for not getting in the paramedics, I've got the message now.
I had a much better sleep, felt a lot better.
David is breathing on his own, he is trying to cough. A small chest infection, but he is having antibiotics.
He is trying to bite on the tube down his throat. A little agitated and trying to wake up.
07.08.2015 [DMW: Black Friday]
Not a good day.
Improvement very sightly.
Sue going back home, coming back on Monday night at 8:45pm.
Les rang. I will ring him if I need anything, he is in Stoke 5 days a week.
Sue rang, David is taking a little liquid food. It's looking a little better.
Sue coming back tonight.
David no change.
Pauline rang, had a lovely chat for 25 mins. Felt better for it, a little boost now and again works wonders. People here have been so kind.
Sue rang at 8:30am. They are slowly, very slowly, reducing the coma. He is partially breathing on his own. I feel very, very hopeful.
I had a little flutter earlier, paramedics came. I am fine, just stress, no angina pains, OK now.
Hilda is coming at approximately 2:30pm. Les has to go to Basford, so she is coming here for a couple of hours. I will be very pleased to see her.
Sue rang at 2:15pm, she is coming up about 7pm. I am so very pleased.
Debbie coming here with Olivia about 3pm.
Fire in flat 23 (Rose) earlier. Les and Hilda were here, Les actually carried Rose out of her flat.
I am waiting for Sue or Ruth to ring.
No change, but David's lungs OK, brain OK. They are keeping a watch on his digestive system. New doctor is trying a different drug for this.
I feel much better now I have been informed. Must stop worrying.
Sue rang at night time, there is still no change.
Had a blood test. Went by taxi but walked home - not very steady, but made it.
Will see David with Ruth tomorrow.
Les coming to see scooter on Thursday. Bought it!!!
Went to see David with Ruth last night. He looked better than last time, but is still on the machines.
I felt much better for seeing him.I wasn't too upset knowing he is in very good hands.
David no change.
Come on lad!!!
Found a snail sitting on top of the geranium, got rid of him. Looked out later, another one sailing along by the wall. Told Jill about this, I must get some slug pellets.
Sue rang, there is a little breakthrough with David. A little bit - it gives us more hope. Felt much better over this news.
Bought the scooter from Beryl - flat 52. Les helped me - he understands vehicles - not like me.
Rang Debbie, told her the news.
Rang Ruth about visit tonight. They are inserting a tracheotomy today. He may possibly start moving somewhat, and it could be most distressing to watch. They advise not to come tonight. We will do exactly what the doctors want.
Felt very headachy all morning. Just relaxed all morning.
Doctors trying to clear all of the drugs out of David, will take a few days, it's a slow process. He's breathing on his own for now, it is going to take a few more days, but I believe he will get there.
One step at a time.
Les calling around at 5pm. David is agitated.
Ruth has succumbed to exhaustion. Twice a day has knackered her.
I will be going with Sue on Tuesday to see David, we are not going tonight.
Went to see David with Sue.
I willed him to listen to me and I kept having a response to squeezing my fingers. I know soon he will recover. I will not give up hope, it's just a matter of time.
Went to see David, still looks OK. He is still very sweaty and hot blooded.
I came back slightly exhausted. Keep on going!!!
Went tonight - David moving his arm now and then. Is off the ventilator for longer periods. Looks much better. Still, it's taking plenty of time. He will get there.
Saw David - a little improved. Mouth closed up more now.
He has been sat up on the side of bed this morning. Seems to be slightly tired, we are very pleased. Every day is more positive. I am going with Ruth again at 7pm.
Les rang - enquiring over David and asking if I needed anything - such a good lad.
Ruth said David been sitting in a chair today, every little helps.
Didn't feel too good today, will not go to see David with Ruth. A bit stressed out so will give it a miss.
Won £10 on lottery, best news for a while.
Debbie is a little worried about maintenance. She doesn't want David going short now he's not working. I told her not to think about money.
Sue rang. David's moved his arm over Ruth's shoulder. He gave a smile, this is the best news yet. The antibiotics are working.
David seemed a little tired today. Nurse said he hadn't had a good nights sleep. He's making up for it today. Looks very placid - eyes focussing on us when we spoke. Hands kept on moving now and then. Infection is OK now. Quite placid in a room of his own. Gentle soothing musing in the background, good environment.
Sue rang - no change in David.
Rang Sue and Ruth. I am going to see David tonight.At last my boy has come through. He is attempting to speak, but of course having the tube in his neck makes it impossible. He will be on another ward next week doing physio. The staff are angels, I feel on top of the world.
Debbie coming at 3pm with Olivia.
David still making good progress. Tracheotomy is now out, thank God.
Les rang - spoke for 40 mins, he is so very reassuring. He puts me in such a good mood when we have been speaking to each other. Ruth is visiting David today. I shall be going on Monday 12 - 3pm.
David is still making good progress. He's wondering why he is in the hospital. He is getting his life back again - feeling hungry and thirsty. He will make good progress because he is to very fit, his body can fight against it.
Went to see David, he is still doing fine. Seems a little tired but course it must be a little tiring having to breathe on his own again. He's a fighter and he will get there, I know this.
David is still recovering very slowly.
Didn't feel very good today, stress is creeping up on me. Not sure if I shall see David today.
I went to see David. He is making progress very slowly and steady. He is trying to speak but it is more in whispers. He actually said "Bye mum" when I was going. Still a little bit of rubbish coming up from his chest. I'm quite satisfied with today's results.
David recovering quite nicely, thank God!
Went to see David, he looks more like himself now. In pyjamas and no elastic socks on. Body feels very cool, he still has a little rubbish coming out. He is still persevering though. He is in the chair now for most of the day.
Les came in the afternoon, bringing me goodies and a bunch of flowers, he is a smasher.
I rang Ruth, David was a bit tired again. Sleep is the best medicine, so they say.
Stayed in all day.
Felt a bit lousy again, must try to pull myself together. Keith has come out of the hospital, I am so happy for him.
Ruth came here with Livvie's outdoor clothes for the trip next week. We had a lovely chat for about an hour. We get on famously, which is a lovely thing.
Saw David today. What a difference - wanted to keep on talking. Not sentences, but words - maybe five at a time, but very coherent. I am thrilled to bits - at last.
He did physio for around 20-40 mins, no catheter or tracheotomy. Ward 228 neuro ward.
David moved to neurology, I shall see him on Friday.
Neuro ward 120. People are working on David's short-term memory, this is a normal procedure.
My phone is now on the blink, I am missing quite a lot of calls. I will ring Les to see if he can do anything. This is where I miss David.
Debbie coming on Saturday to pick up Olivia's clothes for the trip from school.
Went to see David with Ruth, what an improvement!! He talking all the time, very sensibly. I am over the moon!
What a transformation - he is simply fabulous. He wanted to do a lot of talking.
This lad is so strong in body and mind. He will definitely walk out of there.
Debbie and Olivia came at 4pm. I had a card from Olivia to David - very nice.
Went to see David with Ruth, what a difference. He wanted to keep on talking and I helped him to bring back a lot of memories.
Ruth and I were elated over the progress he has made. Keep on David and you will get there!!!
David still making very good progress.
Went to Polish club, very good meal.
Went to see David with Ruth. He had his food off a plate - feeding himself mashed potatoes, peas and gravy, then a yogurt, also fruit juice. He can digest very good now. No tubes or wires in him now.
He was going on about when he was in Australia and Dakota and Nebraska, he has never visited these places. We discussed his accident, think he needed to know this. About 2pm Ruth went out, and David and I discussed a lot of things which happened in his life. He was so very keen about his. He could remember a lot of things which I had forgotten.
Later David was transported to the Haywood. There was a bed available, apparently he should have been going next week.
Ruth will be going at 5.00pm to pick up his TV and then go over to Haywood. It has been a very big rush, all happening at once. Everything happens on a Friday, very strange!
We came away after 2 hours but we both felt that there was a terrific breakthrough. At last!!!
Posted Livvie's card. Spoke to Sue, she said Ruth was very impressed over David's memory. Apparently I must have worked wonders with him, no trouble at all.
It has been a very good Friday. David is well enough to be moved to the Haywood. Ruth will inform me when David is settled in there. We were all sixes and sevens, all has worked out well.
David said he was getting bored in one room. Ruth calling for me on Saturday.
David has wished he would like to see Olivia.
Olivia and Debbie came to see David, all were very happy.
Spoke to Sue and Debbie in the evening.
Sue rang, she said David was going to have a mobile phone.
Jane rang me at 5pm, very good chat. Hilda had salmonella, very poorly. She's on the mend now - thank goodness.
I rang Ruth, David still OK. She will be attending a meeting on Friday to assess his progress.
David rang me at 5pm, this has made my day. He is on his feet now, more and more. Can walk into the toilet with a little assistance, which is very good. Les came to see him this afternoon, David was thrilled to bits over this. He is now eating more stronger food - in fact he has just had a second helping, so he is coming on very good. He is so much more positive now that he is doing exercises, etc. Ruth has been with him a lot today.
David rang Sue and she was very impressed by him. She realises never to take life for granted. Well, when we think over what has happened we must think much differently over the future. Spoke to David later, he is in such a good mood.
I felt a bit off most of today, didn't go out all day. I am going to see David on Monday 5th October with Ruth.
Everything is hunky dory.
David rang at 9:30pm. He is feeling quite good. Food is great, had a shower, haircut and feels a lot better. He cracked a rib in the accident, I guess this will heal on its own.
I'll see him on 6th October, can't wait.
David rang at 11:30am, he is OK. Walking down the corridor - nurses either side - but he is doing it.
David rang at 3:30pm, he is in very good shape, helping in the kitchen making his own porridge. He is getting on marvelously. Thank God (or the doctors)!!!
Les calling later, he is simply an absolute marvel, he is good for our family. "Rude Les" is on the top of his truck, NOT TRUE, he is not rude to me.
Sue's birthday card came, I will take it with mine to the hospital.
I went with Ruth, David is doing great now.
Nothing special today.
David and Sue rang.
Spoke to David around 4:15pm. He has being doing plenty of exercises and also testing his IQ. He has passed - not so surprising!!!
I shall be visiting David. David will be seeing doctors tomorrow to discuss his future.
David rang - he has passed all his tests. Could be home in November, I am over the moon.
I went to see David, he is in super condition. Olivia was there as well.
Went to town for my roast ham - gorgeous. David rang, he's OK, waiting for Ruth soon.
David rang. He is in a 4 bed ward now, still very good. His memory is coming back very slowly. I still believe he has been a miracle.
Spoke to David, he went with Ruth to Starbucks at the top of Moorland Road. He was elated. We had a long chat at night time, he is ready for home now, enough is enough!!!
Sue and me went to see David, they were both elated to see each other. I just loved to see them both. Such a super bond between them.
Sue went to town on her own. She went into Air Ambulance and bought quite a lot of things. This was payback on behalf of David. We both went to Haywood, had 2 hours solid talking there. David is ready to come out at any time.
David rang at 9pm, we had a very good chat. We can't wait until 4th November.
Had a call from David. Two lads visited him from London. [DMW: Met Police] His job is still there - he will be working from home on some of the stuff.
David has a very big day today. Eyes are OK. Plenty of food - nothing has happened - digestion is fine. I'm so very pleased.
Close to "D-day" on the 4th November.
Spoke to David, he is getting bored now. A good sign that he is ready to come out.
David back home, hurrah!!!