In the Critical Care Ward of Royal Stoke Hospital


The diary entries below were written by Ruth and her mother, Jean


Day 1 - Friday 31st July 2015

  • Accident
  • Air ambulance
  • Surgery


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".


Day 2
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

  • Chris - miracle worker, stimulates Dave more than anyone and so caring.  Lovely man
  • Mandy - got us through the first night
  • Tracey - helped us through the worst day
  • Josie - deceptively good
  • Simon - calm and unflappable. Got us through most of first week


Day 7
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.


Day 23 - 22nd August 2015
Dave turned a corner in the night (Friday) and stabilises.


Day 26
Eyes open again.
Starts soon to return to full unconsciousness.


Day 28
Still not very responsive.
Doctor mentions locked-in syndrome.


Day 30 - 29th August 2015
Ruth unable to visit for first time.


Day 32
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.


Day 35
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.
Apologising.
"Knows it's been terrible".


Day 46
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.
Reads from the whiteboard for the first time - location and date.


Day 51
Dave obsessed with wee process!
Uses bottle in bed himself for the first time.
Progress!!


Day 52
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.

Day 56
Physios had Dave on his feet for the first time.
Ruth initiated legal action (for AW).


Day 57
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 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'd expected to see a person with broken limbs. 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.