When Lauren fell ill I was a bastion of cool and calm action. I didn't cry or stress I simply got on with it. I listened to the doctors, even the chats they had among themselves, learnt what the machine's did, what the numbers meant. It felt that the more I knew and understood the better her chances of survival.
That said, when she was taken to Alder Hey, and I was on my own is a small side room while they made her comfortable (Doctor speak that actually meant connect her to all the machines that were keeping her alive) it was beyond traumatic. It was 4am and I was currently at the third hospital of the night, I hadn't slept and now, although the nurses were telling me it would be hours before I could see Lauren and I should sleep, the only settee was a small 2 seater so even if I could of managed to snatch an moment or two, it was just so uncomfortable. Instead I spent my time trying not to google sepsis, and failing. Google is not your friend in these instances. Chris was back at home with the other kids so I was completely alone. With no one there to be stoic for I fell apart, my mind racing to scenarios each worse than the other, until eventually I burst onto the ward, unannounced, and collapsed into large gulping sobs until someone came to my aid.
This was how I dealt with being alone and out of the loop. Once I was stationed by her bed my sense of purpose and my sense of calm returned. I was no longer overwhelmed as although I wasn't in control I was involved, and this was very important to me.
The five days at Alder Hey felt like a lifetime, not just in terms of the actions but also the people. When you go through such emotional highs and lows the bond that you form over the short time feels unbreakable. I felt that I had known the doctors and nurses my whole life.
Maybe subconsciously I knew that being there and being involved was helping me,I'm pretty sure I didn't think it so clearly at the time , but I did know that Lauren's siblings needed to be there. I hope it was the right decision for them, I felt they needed to be in control, but I'm sure that seeing their big sister hooked up to all those machines was difficult for them, although it may have prepared them for what was to come.
Once we got home, as a newly broken family of four, all that action left me. It was as if all the energy I had used on the last five days had disapated, I nothing left. I didn't feel tired, I felt nothing. I remember crying & shouting in the shower that first morning but then I don't really remember doing anything, Chris took the kids out and I just led on the settee, just numb.
I refused all help preferring to lie substrate, not speaking, not thinking, barely just there. It was like all the action of the previous week had used me up, there was nothing left.
It took the actions of my friends to physically get into the house to bring back any sense of self to me. They allowed me the space to talk, or sat in stunned silence, or burnt pizzas, all whilst passing me numerous drinks.
It was only then, around friends and family that any sense of purpose, or forward motion, could return, on my own I would have desended further into the abyss. We all need someone to turn to, in the following months I had Luna, the lovely labrador, to rely on too. Without the support and care of those around us we wouldn't have got through those truly dark days.
Now, when we get to birthday's, tomorrow is mine, I still rely on those friends and family to get me through. Landmark dates, the passage of time, that can be so traumatic, are always easier surrounded by those we love.