Looking To The Future

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[AD] I suppose when it comes to this time of year, when the year is coming to an end we start reminiscing over the year we have had.  What happened for me this year was never never my plan. I started the year in a relationship where I was being told that this was a happy ever after story, they wanted to spend the rest of let life with me.  But little did I know that other things going on behind my back, things that if you are in a committed relationship shouldn’t be going on.   When you are caught telling your ex you love them, you miss them and you’ve got butterflies and can’t wait to see them, you don’t make out that it was just a joke.  Especially when during the whole of your relationship, your ex has had issues with your new partner and wants you back.  Things like this aren’t acceptable .  Ever.

Things like this naturally cause stress.  Stress isn’t good when you have chronic illnesses as they can make you more ill.  I was stressed and I became ill, very ill.  So ill that in the space of two weeks I nearly died twice.  I will be forever grateful to those nurses and doctors who saved my life. I’d been sent to the hospital by my GP for the third time in the space of 10 days with a medical issue but the first twice I just stayed in for one night, sent home and nobody actually got to the bottom of the problem which meant that I was still ill.  My GP sent me back in to hospital for a third time but this time he set me in under a surgical team instead of my medical team.


I never actually realised how ill I was.  To be honest I was in excruciating pain but I would never have said I felt ill.  Within 12 hours of arriving at the hospital for a third time I was in a coma.  A couple of weeks later a nurse came to see me on the ward where I had been transferred to.  She, unknown to me, had cared for me whilst I was in the coma and after a few days had gone away on annual leave, when she returned to work she went out of your way to find me.  She honestly thought she’d come back and hear the news that I passed away.  This was the first time the reality of how ill I was hit me.  I was scared.  I had an infection, it turned quickly in to sepsis but even now 6 months later nobody can tell me why I had no symptoms.  I was in pain but that was a completely different place to where the infection was.
I was in a coma for a few days because of a non-symptomatic infection. I had no signs whatsoever that anything was wrong.  But I had a kidney infection which literally turned in to sepsis within hours and my body shutdown. I know I am so lucky to be sitting here today considering I had a Glasgow Coma Score of seven; I’ll let you into little secret that really isn’t very good.  The Doctors and Nurses pumped me full of antibiotics within an inch of my life and they worked.  The antibiotics actually fought the infection.  But this was not the end.  Because I had been given such a high dose of penicillin among other antibiotics my body decided it suddenly didn’t like penicillin and I developed an allergic reaction to it.  I’ve never had a problem before with antibiotics and they believe it’s just the fact the huge amounts they were using in order to save my life was the issue. At this point I came out in dark black patches all over my skin, ulcers came up in my mouth and other parts of my body and I felt like I had been repeatedly hit against a brick wall.  My body was in so much pain but also so weak of having this fight with sepsis.
I had blood test after blood test and so many biopsies were taken from all over my body then finally I had a diagnosis of rare skin complaint called Johnson’s and Stevens syndrome. Some six months later I’m still recovering from this; horrible black patches all over my skin, ulcers in my mouth and other places on my body and this incredible itch over my entire body, my whole body just so affected that I’m constantly on high-dose antihistamines and creams as my body is not making any natural skin oils and to be honest it doesn’t make much difference. Some of the black patches, which in effect were caused by several layers of my skin dying have turned a paler colour but I still have discoloured patches all over my body.  I am thankful that the really discoloured areas can be hidden under clothes.  My arms in that picture above were mild compared to across my stomach and back.

As if a kidney infection that nearly killed me and then allergic reaction to the drugs that were given to stop the infection isn’t bad enough for some very strange reason which even now the doctors can’t tell me why, my immune system crashed. Due to a chronic health condition I take immunesuppressants which lowers my immune system so it doesn’t fight itself but this really crashed. I mean my immune system crashed of the extent I was rushed to an operating theatre to have a Central line fitted. This is a wire that is inserted in to your neck that is passed straight through to your heart, then stitched to your neck to administer drugs more effectively than through a a vein in your hand.   For the second time in 2 weeks I was dying, my body was failing me and my organs were shutting down.  A central line should take 1 anesthetist about 30 minutes, I had 2 anesthetists taking nearly 3 hours.  The procedure is carried out whilst you are awake with local anesthetic.  I was just drifting in and out of consciousness as my body started to shut down once more.  Again I was so close to dying.

From the operating table they took me to the recovery room for what seems like forever and then I was taken to the cancer ward as my immune system was so low I was at risk of dying from the slightest bug.  I spent 10 days here in complete isolation with very limited face-to-face contact with anyone else. Any sort of bug would have killed me as I has no immune system to fight anything.  I was finally transferred to another ward to continue building up my immune system and basically putting me back together for another a month.

The days were long and very easily all merged in to one.  The amount and frequency of medication I was being given quite possible amounted to a 1/3 of the hospital’s drug budget.  But I was so thankful for the support of the lovely nurses who do a job far more committed than they are paid for.

Six months after being discharged, it’s hard to believe how all of this is still affecting my life.  It’s hard to understand how ill I actually was because let’s face it we never want to think about our own mortality.  But one thing I have realised over these difficult six months recovering from all of this is that deep down we really don’t know what our future holds.  We don’t know what set of cards we will be drawn in the furure.  No much how much planning we do we can’t control everything.  At the beginning of this year I was happy, relatively healthy, my chronic illnesses were sort of being controlled but I could work with the issues they had on my life by making adjustments.  And then, bam, straight from nowhere I was single and fighting for my life.  There was no way these could have been foreseen.  I was lucky, I’m still here.  I have a long long way to go yet and there are still complications that could take months, years even to be in control of but I was still lucky.

I don’t think I have stopped thinking about what could have happened.  It could so easily have gone the other way and I wouldn’t be here writing this today.  what has scared me the most is that I haven’t updated my will since I split with my husband 8 years ago.  as soon as it was a permanent split I went to my solicitor and changed my will.  But so much has happened over the past 8 eight years and the provisions I have now aren’t really the best for our current circumstances.  I own my own house, but I know I’m lucky to be in this position but even if you think you haven’t got any large assets like a house there are other assets you have that need to be left to someone.  If you don’t have a will, your estate will go to your next of kin.  This could be your husband/wife if you are married but if you aren’t married it may be your parents, siblings or children.  Strictly speaking if you live with you partner, they will have no claim on many of your assets.  The thought of that is quite shocking.  The best way to ensure that your belongings go to who you want them to go to is to make a will.

In my case, my health prompted me to rethink my will but it’s often good to consult a firm of solicitors like Slater and Gordon when life changes happen.  This could be when you meet a new partner, split from a partner, marry, divorce, have a child, a grandchild.  Even think about looking at the provisions in your will periodically and make amendments if your current will doesn’t match your wishes.  What not to do is not write a will at all and just leave everything to fate; chances are all your wishes may not happen were anything were to happen to you.  Having an up to date will will also ease the burden of those left behind.



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