An Update On Tracey

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I pressed the buzzer and waited for someone in the ward to have a moment to answer and let me in to see my wife. Sometimes it rings out and I don’t mind one bit. I just figure they’re all doing what they need to do. But this time a woman answered fairly quickly.

“Hello,” came the voice through the speaker. “I see you.”

The next words came out of my mouth before I had a chance to stop them. “Really?” I said, looking around for the camera. “How?”

There was a pause, followed uncertainly by, “….ummmm…”

“Oh my god,” I stammered as my brain caught up. “You said ICU, didn’t you? Of course you did. I’m sorry.” I really was genuinely embarrassed. “I’m just so tired.”

The medical staff at the hospital are wonderful. Wonderful and considerate and efficient and understanding and I wish I had better words to describe them. They deserve better words.

Tracey is doing good. She’s still on a ventilator and there’s still some pretty dynamic drugs being fed into her, but she’s stable and at this point that’s really all I care about. In fact, there are so many tubes going in and out of her it’s hard to find a spot you feel safe in touching. I tend to just hold her right hand and stroke her hair – although if I’m doing it wrong and it’s tickling her I suspect I’m in for a roasting when she comes to.

The word the nursing staff keep brandishing about regarding Tracey’s recovery is ‘remarkable’, and also ‘unlucky’, and I don’t think they’re exaggerating. But I’m told given the state she was in when she arrived in Brisbane, her recovery is going well.

Which is bazarre because I thought things were worse when she arrived in Nambour and I was actually more hopeful by the time the chopper transferred her to Brisbane. I mean I knew there’d been complications and I knew they don’t take patients for joyrides for the hell of it, but I thought the move was simply because the surgeons they needed were in Brisbane so they were taking her to them to save time and doctors’ travel claims. Seriously though, I knew a blood clot and lack of blood to most of the bowel was still really, really bad, I just didn’t realise it was worse than being bloodless.

Maybe that’s just as well I didn’t know the full extent of it because it was a hard enough keeping it together on the drive to get here.

So far it looks like the bowel joins are good, although obviously it’s too early to really tell. Just the fact they’re giving her a wake up call shows they’re a little confident though because I was told they’d likely keep her under until they’re sure they don’t need to go back in – but that’s all hopeful conjecture on my behalf. I was told there’s a chance of pneumonia but that they’re already giving her antibiotics for that.

More worryingly, I’ve also been told she’ll need to take things easy when she eventually comes home. Staying still and letting others do for her will perhaps be the biggest challenge she faces.

But that’s a little way off yet.

Occasionally she’ll open her eyes but she’s really more ‘lights are on but no one’s home’ at the moment. Usually, if her eyelids do flutter up, it’s because they’re moving her and she’s in pain.

Usually.

But there was this one moment when I was holding her hand and talking to her when I think she might have floated to the surface.

“Everyone is sending you their love,” I told her when her eyelids separated briefly yesterday. Beneath them, her eyes looked like the fisheyes you’d normally find staring out at you through the glass cabinet in the seafood section at the supermarket – filmy, unseeing and distant. “I’ve got like 400 messages I’d read to you but I’m not allowed to have my phone on in here.”

Which, I simply have to put in here, were just the most amazingly supportive things anyone could have done. I’ve read them over and over, and so have other members of the family, and it’s just such a comfort to have that sort of support and empathy and well wishes in a time like this.

But as much as I know she’ll love reading them when she’s able, this wasn’t the moment I thought I saw Tracey surface.

In fact she looked ready to close her eyes again, so I blurted out the first thing I could think of. “It’s all good but I don’t know the internet banking passwords so I haven’t paid the mortgage.”

And I swear she rolled her eyes and turned away from me.

She might have been ‘sleeping’ for the last few days while I haven’t but this has sure reassured me she’s definitely in there somewhere.

A big thank you to all the medical staff involved, from all the surgeons to the nurses, at each of the Gympie, Nambour and Royal Brisbane hospitals, and to the paramedics and the chopper pilot and everyone else in that chain – this family is in your debt. You saved her life and I still can’t quite fathom how. Again, and again, thank you.

45 Comments

  • I have been praying for your family, l know from a few post of yours that you don’t believe in god, good to hear she is slowly getting better, if l can do anything for you l will, just let me know, even though l am in geelong, may god bless your family.

  • Thrilled that she’s come this far and it’s all looking positive. All the best for a full recovery and restful recuperation at home amongst family.

  • This is promising news and so welcome. Best wishes to all of you and I hope Tracey’s recuperation is as easy as possible.

  • I usually love reading your adventures but this is one ‘adventure’ I wish you didn’t have to go on. She will be very tired in the recovery from a blood clot. I had a massive dvt 9 years ago and it just makes you very tired for a while. I think it diverts all your bodies attention to repair for a time afterwards. All the best. Sending prayers your way.

  • I woke up this this morning thinking about Tracey. So glad to hear it’s all positive. Will be thinking of you and your family

  • Bruce I hope things continue to improve. I bet you never thought when you quit your job it would be to look after your wife as well. Timing is everything. Thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Sending you and yours all my love. I have faith that Tracey will be giving you curry again before you know it. Keep your chin up.

  • glad she appears to be out of the woods, what a terrifying journey. Tracey has a lot of people who love her at home and I’m sure that helps spur on her recovery. stay strong

  • Tracey is in safe hands . You take care of yourself and our thoughts and prayers are with you both and your family.

  • Tracey, we love you with all our hearts and are stalking Bruce’s page for updates every couple of minutes! Rest up and take care of yourself Beautiful Girl. Big cuddles from your Soul Sisters XOXOX ps Bruce, I am in Brisbane and so close to you guys – PLEASE let me know if I can help in anyway xoxox

  • I am so pleased that Tracey is on the mend. It is so frightening when our loved one gets so sick. Praying Tracey has a full recovery

  • I’m so pleased to hear that Tracey is doing well. My brother was in a medically induced coma in ICU; I spoke to him incessantly. When he finally woke, he was unsurprised I was there (I live in a different state, so he should have been) and knew where he was although he’d been unconscious when he arrived at the hospital. So don’t be surprised if Tracey rags on you about not paying the mortgage ?

  • Bruce, I see you have been getting quite a lot of support on line and I dare say quite a bit more off line as well. This is a pretty fair indication of your standing in your world. I am proud to be a very small part of that world and I keep on sending prayers and good vibes up for you. Tracey has given me the chance to return some of the good things that you have done for me. Keep your chin up even if it seems hard at times. There’s a lot of sup[ort out here for you two.

  • Thanks for keeping us posted Bruce. I hope things just keep getting better from here on in though I imagine it will be a long road for her. I’m just glad you finished up at the bank so you can be there for her now and when she gets home. All the best.

  • I’m amazed that you are keeping it so well together as to write so eloquently; and that you still manage to make us laugh even with what you and Tracey are going through. Try and get some rest before she wakes up, you’ll get even busier then. Thinking good thoughts, and thank you for the updates. All the best. (and call the bank, I’m sure they’ll understand. If they don’t, time to change)

  • Thinking of you and hoping Tracey is feeling better soon. Don’t forget to look after yourself too, you’ll need all the energy you can get one she’s home

  • We have been thinking of you all during this time Tracey, Bruce & your beautiful family. My dear sister Julie has been keeping us updated amid her worry for her friend. Stay strong, Tracey will be home with you in good time. Love the Atthow Family

  • Fast healing to Tracy. Sympathy to you and the rest of the family Bruce. Having someone you love unwell and being unable to do anything to get them better is hard!

  • Of course she rolled her eyes at you, Bruce!
    Don’t worry, Tracey, he can’t muck things up too badly while your body is healing. I know that we’ve never met, and all I know about you is through Bruce’s eyes (which are beautifully rose-tinted by the way; your husband adores you and it’s so refreshing to see), but I know that any woman who is both tough enough, kind enough, and loving enough to be the kind of Mother you are is also going to be strong enough, not only to recover, but to let your hubby wait on you hand and foot 🙂
    You, Bruce, and your wonderful children are all in my thoughts, prayers, and deepest well-wishes. You’re the kind of Mom the world needs more of, Tracey, so get better soon and know that a whole host of people you’ve never met think you’re awesome and are sending you positive thoughts.
    Your Friend from PA, USA

  • Thinking of you all still. Glad things are slowly on the up & up. From what I know of you guys, Tracey is a wonderful, lovely tough cookie & will be back on her feet in no time. I will let Zachary know as he is now in Brisbane & I don’t catch up with him as much.

    Take good care of yourself too or you’ll burn out. XX

  • THINKING OF YOU ALL YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. YOU ARE SURVIVERS. FROM TONY, SANDRA MEGAN, AND ERIN.THE GHOSTS IN THE HOUSE WILL HELP YOU THROUGH THIS, YOU KNOW WHAT WE MEAN.

  • So glad she is getting better. I’ve found all the hospitals you mentioned very helpful. Sending get well thoughts and wishes to you all.

  • How good it was last night to see all your lights on and the car in the garage. Judy and I have been — and will continue — praying for Tracey’s recovery and for you all, as the most positive, practical and supportive action we can do for you. When our daughter went through 8 weeks of hell recently, (surgeons had nicked her pancreas during an endoscopy), we endured an overwhelming sense of helplessness, which ran riot over our emotions for days on end, so we have just an inkling of how you might feel right now.
    Will try to pop over the road when you’re home today — relax, it’ll only be a brief visit, I know it’s easy to get ‘peopled out’.
    And — like the nurses say — keep talking to Tracey, and stroke her hand or her arm as well — she’ll tell you about it when she wakes up.

    • It was just a brief recharge with the kids. I’m back on duty down here again and for the foreseeable – or at least until I need to stock up on hugs again. It was great to touch base with the family.

  • Reading your story is so very gut wrenching and very down to earth I am sending you all my very best of prayers and good wishes and hoping that Tracey will pull through this When my daughter had bowel cancer I kept this in my mind One say at a time That’s how you have to do it treasure everyday and everything hold your kids tight cuddle them and always tell them everyday I love you.Family is very important in your life now let them do things for you and help …..Keep
    talking to Tracey everyday and tell her all the news and gossip and tell her how the kids are doing at school this is important as she will hear you and will be happy knowing you are doing okay Thanks for sharing your story with us and please keep us up to date Sending you all our love and best wishes to you and your family

    • Love our baby girl so much.What you are going through is so unfair.If only we could Turn Back Time. Lots of love & hugs Don,Gary, Matt, Brock& Teear Laycock. ((The Mcintyre Family ))

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