Glenda Ford

Article Index


I was finally left alone for a while. Malcolm came in and the nurse informed me that as I had missed putting in my dinner menu I would be given a sandwich for tea. It was at that point that I realised I hadn't eaten at all that day. I suddenly felt starving. Malcolm suggested that he go and get me some take-away, but I assured him I would be fine. He left and had some dinner and went into his work to let them know what was going on, and to rearrange his working hours. Dinner came and beautiful smelling aromas wafted over to me from the other three women’s dinner trays as they were placed in front of them. A little later a sandwich arrived and was placed on my tray. Before I had the chance to open the plastic wrap on the sandwich, another lady arrived and apologised for the mix-up and whisked my sandwich away. I thought "great". I lay back down and began to get used to the idea that I was going to be without food until breakfast time, when another lady rushed in and put a dinner, complete with desert in front of me and left. Had she been a little slower in her retreat from the room, I would have had time to thank her properly. As it was, I was so hungry that I started on the food immediately, fearful of the fact that they would realise their error and whisk it away again and feeling guilty that some-one else would be enjoying my solitary sandwich.

The next number of days were frightening. I was subjected to neurological nerve conduction studies. I remember thinking to myself, of all the ways a prisoner could be executed, no one should ever be subjected to the electric chair. Various other tests were performed, more blood taken. Many more doctors and interns examined me. I remember being asked if I was afraid of confined spaces and if so, to keep my eyes shut while an MRI scan was taken. It would take about 25 minutes, so they said but in fact I remember it was over an hour by the time I was wheeled back out of the "tunnel’. Doctors appeared out of nowhere and kept examining me, doing exactly the same things as the group of doctors did before. Everything they did was extremely painful. The scraping of a pen on the soles of my feet was interpreted by me, as a very sharp knife slicing through flesh. I’d pull away from them in pain.

Eventually I was transferred next door to the ICU section and was placed into a private room. I was monitored every ten minutes. As I could not move my neck or turn my head, it took me a little time to realise that I was in a room by myself. I became very weak and it wasn't long before the only part of my body I could move were my big toes and my fingers. I thought how strange! Only a few days before when I was sick in bed with the Flu, I had amused myself by painting my toe nails bright red. I had not done this for many years, and now the only thing I could see that moved, were my bright red toes, sticking out the slit in the stockings. These compressed stockings had been placed over my legs to help with the blood circulation, along with the two needles I received each day in my stomach.

I felt completely trapped inside a body that I had no control over. My mind on the other-hand worked overtime. I became very emotional and dramatic. I didn't know what was happening to me. I visualised myself being a vegetable for the remainder of my life. I even begged my husband to leave me, saying that I never wanted to see him again. I don’t know what I would have done, had he taken me up on this offer, as I would not let the nurses, female or male wash me. I would wait every morning for Malcolm to arrive to help me have a sponge bath and then later, when I regained some strength, it was he who helped me shower.