I clearly remember the morning I woke up in my hospital and realised nine of my fingertips were going to be amputated. It was a few days after I’d been told my leg would be amputated and I was still emotionally ‘raw’ from that news.
I opened my eyes and saw a woman gently holding my right hand. She was speaking in soft tones to my Dad who stood beside her, listening intently.
My fingertips had been gangrenous for months and the flesh was slowly disintegrating. Open wounds were forming around my nailbed and my risk of infection was increasing dramatically.
Realising I had awoken, both the woman and Dad greeted me with smiles. The woman, introduced herself as a surgeon and calmly explained how my fingertips would be amputated.
Dad, always the optimist, jumped into the conversation and enthusiastically added, “But the good news is you’ll get to keep one thumb!”
I mumbled something in reply but I doubt it made sense. I was still learning to speak again after my brain haemorrhage and was incredibly groggy from all of the medication.
Even though I didn’t share Dad’s enthusiasm at the time, I’m incredibly grateful for my remaining thumb today.
I was in hospital for over a year that first time. It was 2005, I was 24 years old and a nasty virus had caused my brain to haemorrhage.
I was in a coma for three weeks and on life support for two months. All of my organs shut down and my family were told they would have to turn off my life support if things did no improve.