My Story Such As It Is




Hi, as you may know I have recently survived a bit of a nasty battle with Legionaires Pnumonia.    I spent

most of the Christmas holidays in hospital, two and a half weeks of those in a coma.  My fault for not wearing a mask when using potting mix.  


Most people think they are bullet proof, that nothing is going to happen to them, well that's not the case. Things do happen and they can happen to you, or a friend, or a family member.


I had been getting very rundown and stressed due to doing too many home shows and the issue I was having with the supplier for the Stop Pain. So you could say I was a prime candidate for those nasty spores to grab hold and I tell you, they didn't want to let go either.


I have no recollection of anything happening around me during the coma or of people that came to visit. But I do remember the nightmares I was having and couldn't escape.  They were not pleasant and the worst being the one where I dreamt my daughter had been killed in a plane crash.   When I was brought out of the induced coma,  I was to scared to ask, I was afraid - oh so afraid, to be told it was true.


The Doctor had brought me out of the coma to ask if I would agree to a tracheotomy. I didn't care if I lived or died and told  him to just do what he had to do, I was in so much pain.  When I awoke again after that procedure I was greatly relieved to see waiting for me my little girl.  Her words "mummy your awake" made me cry.  Think I hugged her for at least half an hour.


She had been very brave through the whole thing. Asking the Doctors questions and what treatments e.t.c. , they were doing.  My friends had rallied around and made sure she had some fun and a Christmas.  My elderly parents  did their best too but its not easy when they are 82 and not in best of health. My mum suffered a Bell palsey stroke while I was under.  


It had been a hell of a time for my family, as just two weeks before I got ill, we had lost my sister-inlaw to cancer and then  they thought they were losing me. The doctors even rang to say I was on my way out, better get family together.  I hung in there. (Cant kill weeds, only bruise;) ) Another time they approached my visiting brother to ask if he would  ask the family to agree to turn off the life support as I wasn't getting better. He was the one who lost his wife, he couldn't handle losing his sister too so he said  that he needed to have a coffee and think.    When he came back they finally had the confirmed diagnoses for Legionaires and the correct antibiotics were used.


Before the diagnoses they were treating for ordinary pneumonia and the wrong meds were used. My kidneys were harmed, I blew up like a balloon and the liver was also harmed.  Back to 80% now they tell me but I still have to be careful.


For a few days after the coma I was having trouble working out what was real and what was not.  some friends that were visiting got very confused when I asked them had they seen the big clock.  I had dreamt that Waikato ICU was on The Mount and built in the shape of a meridian clock.   It was a rather confusing time.


Because Legionaires is a notifiable disease the Haz Mat team were called in and wearing their full protective gear.   Which to me was funny as the Nurses looking after me were not even wearing masks. Think overkill lol.


I am blessed to have good friends and family. all fought hard for me to pull thru.  One in particular kept a daily record of all I was going thru, and posted it on my Facebook wall so friends and family were kept in the loop.  She was amazing. she nagged me,  rubbed my feet, made jokes, had the nurse wax my eyebrows, painted my toenails and just stayed. She wasn't going to let me go,  though even in a coma I was begging to be let go.  The diary she kept was very hard for me to read as I had no idea of what had happened to me, or that I had so many worried and I think I went into shock for a bit reading it.


When she saw me awake for the first time, she burst into tears.  "You win Susan you win" was all she could say.  She has survived having a leg amputated, and later having terminal cancer - being told she only had 6 months to live, and beating it to still be here 7 years later.  But I win  because I was almost dead lol.   She is a bit of a hard case and I love her to bits - even when we have a falling out. :p


Another friend had made a promise while I was in the coma, that she would keep her Christmas tree up, no matter how long it took so that we could have a Christmas when I was well enough.



My daughter is in the red and resting on me.  We celebrated on February the 11 2017.


The following weekend I had a I'm still here party with more of my friends who had been following my journey.  I was made to wear the mask, a tiara and a bloody feather bower that made me itch lol.  What I will do for friends aye.


The nurses at Waikato are great and I am sure the doctors are too but I didn't like the doctor I had. He had an arrogance that got up my nose.  While Debi was keeping vigil on me while in coma, the Doctor asked did he know her.  She answered "yes you killed my mum, don't kill my friend, I don't have many left". Apparently his jaw dropped and he left rather quickly.  (Debi's mum had passed in the same bed I was in from cancer surgery that hadn't gone well.)            


When I awoke he decided I needed anti depressants because I was AGITATED AND TEARY!!!

FFS wouldn't you be??? I was in a friggen coma, dreamt daughter was dead, learnt mother had a bit of a stroke!!   Later I was given a mix of stuff to treat oral thrush as I had acid build up from the coma, It made me throw up. Stupid Doc asks me what made you throw up?, I wrote YOU!.  (couldn't speak due to tracky),  So you can imagine I wasn't a popular patient with him lol.


I was very lucky in that the tracky only had to be in a week. I was recovering faster than they thought I would and as I progressed I got transferred to HDU. Tracky  was removed and I could talk, though my friend Debi begged them to tape my mouth back up - nice ain't she.


After 3 days in HDU I was finnally allowed to eat, not much but a little and I tell you that first glass of water I was allowed was pure nectar. 


Next room to be transferred to was Respiratory. I still had the intravenous feed tube down me nose and it was taking the skin off my throat. It got so bad it felt like my throat was closing in on the tube and the only pain meds I was allowed were paracetomol.    I was also battling nausea. The nutritionist left instructions that if I managed to get two meals down without throwing up I could have the tube removed. I managed the required two meals. Nurses came and hooked the food tube back up. I went apeshit. Told them to get the bloody thing out!!  "We cant do that till Monday (it was Saturday when this happened)" I told them bullshit. The instructions were to remove if I managed the 2 meals. We had a real fight, the nurses were adamant they couldn't remove till Monday when the nutritionist was back on. I was adamant that its my body my right and get the bloody thing out!. I won but I think I had the word BITCH written in my med records several times. 


I came out on Friday the 17 January.  Health improved even faster once I was back in my own surroundings. Had  help from friends and family and home carer. District nurses came every 2 days and  the hole in my throat healed fast.


It has been an interesting journey. The local paper wrote my story and when it was published I got approached by the Daily Mail, That's Life and Lucky Break magazines, all wanting my story.  The plus is more people are being made aware that potting mix is dangerous and that gloves and masks do need to be worn. The store I bought from has been proactive and put masks by the check outs with a warning about Legionaires.     Another friend had a graphic created, using my photo that has been seen by 24000 people on facebook and been shared by many. 


I have been incredibly lucky, I am still here and getting better all the time.  They tell me if I had been older I would not of survived.  I have great friends and family.  I have a daughter who loves me to bits and I adore.  I am taking the year off home shows, but I can still work my business via mail order.  Life is good :)

Posted: Wednesday 1 March 2017