Updated: Apr 25, 2020
I don't know about you, but I have lost all concept of what day it is. It's not quite as special as the feeling between Christmas and New Year but its not exactly like a Sunday either. What strange times we find ourselves in.
Of course, on top of the lockdown, being in hospital for 18 days didn't help. Hospitals are like airports, or casinos minus the alcohol. It could literally be any time, day or night and there are people going about their usual business. Despite the parade of surgeons, doctors, nurses, physios and dietitian who we saw 139 times a day, the last week in there was incredibly lonely.
Lexi was in the HDU for over a week so we were away from the main bays which was nice to have some quiet time to read my book, but for the majority of the time I would sit on my own, on my little camp bed and look out the window. The windows in the Buxton Ward had film on with beautiful seaside scenes on them. When the sun came in, they would light up and look so cheerful. In the HDU, the windowpane near my bed had the film missing which meant I could see what was going on in the outside world.
We overlooked the goods in yard and I'd watch the NHS logistics vehicles coming and going, day and night. Some scaffolders had turned up and were building something and I would chat to Lexi about what they were doing, or what I thought they were building.
One night, I stayed up all night to stop Lexi from pulling out her NG tube for the 5th time. We needed that forking tube to stay in and I was fully prepared to sacrifice my sleep to ensure it stayed put. She did, infact, pull it out three times, but I shoved that sucker back down and put more tape on her. If you saw photos of Lexi from after this night, you will see how much tape I used. (Clue: I USED ALL THE TAPE.)
During this long night, I sat up just staring out the window and would see cars going in and out of a doorway. It took me a little while to figure out, but I soon realised that private ambulances probably didn't need to be refrigerated for alive patients. We were opposite the mortuary. The scaffolding seemed like a less cheery subject to chat to a toddler about when it dawned on me it was a mortuary extension.
I know what you're thinking; this post is supposed to be about a half marathon. I'm just getting to it.
It was another terrible nights sleep with all the iv pumps alarming, finishing at different times, Lexi screaming whenever a nurse would come near her, when I saw an ambulance deliver a body bag, I realised that I didn't know how much more of this environment I could deal with.
Andy was amazing and he insisted that he swap places with me for the weekend so I could go home. At this point it had been over 2 weeks since going home and that's all I wanted. He arrived at 11am and we did the handover, and I started the 90 mile drive home. That drive was glorious. I saw only a few other cars the whole way and absolutely loved zooming along singing Lizzo at the top of my voice whilst eating mini eggs.
At home, I had a ridiculously long bath, tinted my eyebrows and I did my nails. I ordered an Indian Takeaway and binge watched Modern Family. It was like heaven.
I woke up in the morning and thought about going for a run. It should have been the day of my first ever half marathon. I went back and forth in my mind about whether to run the distance, and in the end I decided I may as well go for it. I literally had nothing else to do until I needed to drive back to the hospital. I wanted to achieve it, for Lexi and for me.
I usually can't run without my headphones; I need the distraction of an audiobook or a podcast, but to conserve battery I decided to run without. It must have been the novelty of being outside after being stuck inside the HDU for so long but it was wonderful. I could hear the wind blowing in the trees, the birds tweeting and the sound of my feet on the ground. I found myself at the 10 mile point quite quickly and I had managed to knock 7 minutes off my previous time. But my god, my hips hurt and I could hardly walk.
Every inch of me wanted to stop.
But I kept thinking of my sweet girl. All she had been through without understanding why it needed to be done to her. All her "please, no, mummy" when they took blood or when yet another cannula had failed, haunted me.
If she could go through that, I would get through the last 3.1 miles. I had to. That's what kept me going to the finish line.
I felt so proud of myself driving back to the hospital to be able to tell Lexi what I had achieved.
It was during my run that I realised how lucky I was to have a ballot place for the LLHM, and this means that I can choose whether to fundraise and for whom. Without a doubt, I would love to raise funds for our wonderful NHS, and specifically for the Buxton Ward at the Jenny Lind Children's Hospital, Norwich.
I am awaiting news of a reschedule date for the LLHM 2020 with all my fingers and toes crossed. If they are unable to find another date, I will run another local half marathon, this time, knowing my sweet girl is ok.
If you would like to sponsor me, here is my Justgiving Page.