When I went in to visit Lauren before breakfast on the Tuesday morning I was in a positive mood. The last few days had brought slow improvements in her condition.
I had no reason to believe that she would not be the same, or slightly better than when I wished her good night the previous evening.
Looking back the first signs that all was not well were the concerned looking nurses outside her room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. But at the time it didn't really make me break stride, this was PICU, people were always concerned.
When I walked into her room the reality of her condition hit me like a sledgehammer. It's a vision that has often come back in recent weeks, and one I try not to dwell on.
The most obvious change was the ventilation. Lauren had been put on a new machine, not previously used. I knew from discussions with the Intensive Care nurses from when Lauren was first admitted that this machine offered a higher level of ventilation. This higher level of care hadn't been needed before.
The worst thing was the noise. The machine was very noisy, almost clangy. It made her chest move up and down quite violently. The machine itself, to my untrained eyes, looked archaic, like a bulky old radio from the 70s!
Lauren no longer looked like she was peacefully asleep. It was excruciatingly and painfully obvious that her condition had deteriorated from the previous night.