Lesley CulbertAge: 51
Hi, my name is Lesley Culbert, in the early hours of February 6th 2013 aged 48, I was rushed to my local hospital with severe breathing difficulties, within minutes of entering I became unconscious …several hours later I was placed into an Induced coma, awaiting a specialist Ecmo team to be brought from another part of the country. My family were told to expect the worse….I had been given an hour to live.
I had contracted Pnuemonia & Swine Flu, and was already in Respiratory failure ( ARDS ). Once a Specialist Ecmo Team arrived, I was placed on Ecmo & amp; transferred to a specialist unit further up the country. I was on Ecmo for 8 days in total & amp; due to breathing issues, I also had to have a temporary Tracheostomy. So when I eventually awoke, finding out I was not only in hospital, but couldn’t talk either, was a little shocking. I spent a little over a month in total, in hospital, and then returned home.
I really don’t remember much about the events leading up to being unwell, only that I’d continued working, with what I deemed to be a “Bad” cold, and came home early, due to feeling unwell. Everything after this, is pretty sketchy.
I suffered dreadfully with Night Terrors & Hallucinations, some of which I doubt I’ll ever forget. ( They were certainly the stuff of Nightmares ) But talking about them since, has helped to dampen the impact they had on me at the time. Recovering was a tough road to travel, learning to walk & talk again, even holding a pen was frustratingly difficult. I lost most of my beautiful hair (this for me, being a woman, was heart breaking ) and learning to master the stairs again was just horrendous. ( Even now, they continue to be my “Nemesis” on bad days) But time and patience and the love of my wonderful partner, family and friends, made my recovery so much easier.
I love life MORE these days…I worry less and enjoy the little things. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger….right 😉