Emergency arrangements for the children are made, and I follow the ambulance, carrying my lovely, ‘baby blue’, to the hospital. In reality a few short miles that was seeming to take forever. I can’t help but think, with all his busyness getting everything in order, maybe he had a premonition something was not right.
At the hospital, he is put in a tiny room in a block outside of the main hospital to see if he will rouse from his unconscious state. As it is the long Easter weekend, most staff are away and the only Doctor is a lady, Doctor D. She is called in to do a spinal tap, which is her specialty, if she finds blood in the fluid, it will confirm a stroke diagnosis. The results are not want I want to hear.
The hospital refuses to transfer my beloved husband to the bigger better equipped Wellington Hospital until he awakens. For three days and nights, I sit and sleep in a chair beside my huge bear of a man, praying desperately for a miracle. Mostly he is sleeping, curled up on his side, his shallow breathing, very ragged, frighteningly appears to keep pausing for long spells. However, after giving him a bang on the back, I can hear it restart again.
A big plus in his favour is the fact he has done hard physical work all his life, and his well developed body muscles, have given him immense strength. I also knew inside he was a great fighter, and that from whatever depths he was at, he would be struggling with all his might to return to his family he adored, and the life he was so happy with.
During the long vigil, his room is constantly full with his many, many, family and friends, just as devastated as myself, also waiting and hoping for a rally. Everyone talks, jokes, reminiscences, about old times with him, as if he is able to hear and will wake up and join in. Eventually he does awaken, looks around at those in his room and speaks a few words.
With this improvement, my heart has a small glimmer of hope we might get him back. I beg Doctor D, to please give us a chance and refer us to Wellington hospital. She shares with me how she has been struggling to cope with her own grief since the death of her mother and gives the okay for the transfer.
An ambulance is booked, and I make a quick dash home for essentials and arrangements for the children. My mother has arrived from Woodville for support, and tries to keep me positive but I can’t shake a black feeling of doom. She intends to follow behind the ambulance in her car with our belongings to camp at my Nana’s Kilbirnie flat.
I make it back to the hospital just as they are loading him up. I ask to sit beside him, but am not allowed, I must sit up front beside our driver. On the long drive, knowing every bump could be the end, I alternate between scanning the road ahead for road works and peering anxiously back through the little glass window into the back to keep up eye contact with my love.
As we drive through each of Wairarapa’s little towns where my husband was born and spent his whole life, I wonder if he will see them again. Always needing a window open to sleep at night, he reaches up and opens the ambulance’s sliding window beside his head allowing him to smell the scents of fresh Wairarapa air.
Our driver slows down as we drive through the main street of Featherston, his hometown. By some coincidence of fate his mother is standing on the curb waiting to cross the road, and stares at the ambulance.
I felt a huge relief as we came into Wellington, familiar landmarks of my hometown were comforting and hoped that now we had arrived at a city hospital we would find help. His children all come to visit and his eldest son who has been caring for the younger ones brings them to see him. They are very happy to see their daddy and climb over him for hugs and kisses.