THE DARKEST HOUR IS BEFORE THE DAWN

If there is a gateway to hell, intensive care unit (ICU) is definitely it.

Every day, a few people make it back to life, but many don't.

The ones that 'make it' are on life support, unable to eat, sleep, breathe, move or talk.

To an onlooker, we are as good as dead. You have to endure constant fever and chills, a mind boggling combination of drug induced sleepiness and perpetual sleep deprivation from round the clock routine procedures.

Nourishment comes through a feeding tube in the nose, bags and bags of milky mixtures are dripped into the stomach. You couldn’t imagine how constantly hungry and thirsty this make you feel. Three weeks in the ICU feels like three weeks of fasting and a lifetime of suffering.

Your lungs are constantly filled up with liquid so bad that you crave for your hourly 'suctions', where a plastic tube is reached all the way to the bottom of your lungs then wiggled around to suck fluid out, it irritates your body so much that you violently convulse, even after the procedure is finished.

But then, you get the precious temporary relief of breathing through the machine, just for that little while before your lungs are filled up again.

Here, the nights are dark and never ending.

It's cold, so cold, I could never sleep. So I stared at the ceiling and listened to the loud noise of the air vent. The in and out of my breathing machine, the ticking of my pulse and heart beats on the equipment.

Time passed slowly. Apart from my hourly blood sample and the blood pressure machine that squeezes my arm, nothing else happened. I soon realised the scary fact that my only lifeline is the nurse. When something bad happens, there's nothing I could do and no one I could alert.

That was a horrific night with nurse 'Tracy'. She spent the whole night in the cubicle next to mine gossiping, while I was desperately trying to get someone, anyone's attention.

I was in excruciating pain and dead thirsty. When you can't move to push the buzzer and can't make any noise, there's nothing, nothing you can do except living the horror of desperation and helplessness, with your eyes wide open.

The following morning she told the nurse that I'd 'had a great night sleep and didn't wake up once'.

It's not until life takes everything away from you that you realise you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

That night with 'Tracy' had taught me that no matter how dark and long the night seems, morning will come.

And when it does, so comes another day of opportunities for something great: to have a good nurse putting water soaked cotton buds on your lips, getting wheeled out of ICU for the first time, to see the sun, see the clouds, to feel the warmth on my face and breeze in my hair.

In the sun, I morphed into someone else, someone more like myself.

I closed my eyes and saw my face with my bright red hair rising above the ashes of my past, into the dark sky, it is dark, and will be for a while, but someday the morning will dawn, and I will still be here.

#MyStory