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What a way to celebrate New Year

In 2013, I had been living in Weston-Super -Mare for five years and worked as a Carer Support Service Manager for Crossroads Care. At home, I was looking after my husband, who had severe mental health issues as a result of army service. He also had COPD as a result of many cigarettes. He was as tricky as a bag of frogs, regularly hiding medication, spending twenty-two hours a day in bed or working on some cunning plot to acquire his latest fixation.

On New Year's Eve, he was determined not to celebrate, so I took our dog for a long walk and then sat down to enjoy the TV. Within half an hour of sitting down, I felt an enormous pain in my lower back, and I started to vomit. The night passed in the bathroom, and I decided to stay there until 8 am when I hoped A&E would be free of drunks. Just before 8 am, I drove down the hill and parked in the hospital car park. I walked into the building and was immediately taken into Resus. Seconds later, I was shaking violently and beginning to have only short bursts of consciousness. 

At one point, I was in a ward where lunch options were being discussed, and I had visitors from the ICU who just wanted to get to know me! Apart from late-night conversations with my children and seeing the little people who drifted in and out through the air conditioning, I don't remember anything. Sadly, my husband was not to be seen as he had been asked to leave when he arrived intoxicated.

Days passed with chest drains and every other torture known to man. After eighteen days, the sepsis was under control, but the original problem had not been solved. I would have to embark on a search for a surgeon willing to remove the five-centimetre stone blocking the drainage of my right kidney. It was now that I found that my husband had attempted to have my children arrested when they asked for my passport, which was needed for identification purposes.

It was obvious that my work in Weston-Super-Mare, my friendship groups and my marriage were over. Carers were found for my husband, and I moved in with my son and his family. Four hospitals and five months later, I was at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. It was a scary journey, particularly when a consultant noticed that I only had one kidney.

After the full-day procedure, I felt like a different person. I often think that I am living someone else's life. All this time, I have only kept in touch with a few special friends from my 'past life.' If I had not had the support of my children, I would not have had the will or the strength to survive. 

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