Adieu, Adieu, to I and C and U

I think someone has a future in the greeting card industry.

“Thank you for saving my life,” Tracey told the surgeon who’s managing her case when he came to see her yesterday.

You saved your life,” he told her, although I’m pretty sure she couldn’t have done it without him.

No one wants to take credit for the medical miracle which is lying beside me in her hospital bed while I type this. A bed, I should point out, which is no longer in ICU.

Being that it means Tracey is no longer considered on the critical list, you’d think I’d be a lot happier about her moving to a ward, but despite some rocky moments in our brief time together I like ICU. I like unique ICU things such as there’s a nurse beside my wife’s bed around the clock and a doctor just over her shoulder. I like all the attention the ICU people give her. I just plain like these people.

Actually, that’s not right – I don’t like the people who work in ICU, I LOVE them. And because I want each and every one of them to know how much they mean to this family, not because they were so *intrical in saving Tracey’s life but rather because of the professional way they do their jobs while respectfully interacting with worried loved ones, I took them some more fancy donuts today as a final ‘thank you’ treat.

It really doesn’t seem like enough.

Still, despite a little separation anxiety on my behalf things are apparently progressing nicely.

Tracey’s tummy has leaked multiple times since the skin graft, with the dressing needing to be changed six times in one evening, but the ward staff were right there to do it. Doctors are still popping in regularly and she’s in what I would describe as a ‘high dependency’ room, right across from the nurses’ central reception desk area. There’s probably a proper hospital word for that area but I don’t know it.

Even better, the move to a ward on Sunday has been quickly followed by more and more good news. For example, the central venous line (I had to ask a nurse to write that one down) has been removed from her neck and a PICC line put into her arm. Plus they sat Tracey up today and are talking about getting her walking and removing the catheter by the end of the week. Every time they remove another tube from her body I get excited, because they wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t confident she didn’t need them. All really excellent positive moves forward.

Of everything, though, it’s the removal of her nose hose, the tube which has been sucking out anything accumulating in her stomach, which I’m most excited about. It’s been getting in the way of our snogging.

With friends like these, who needs enemas? (Note the difficult to snog around ‘nose hose’).

This doesn’t mean I haven’t had moments when I could almost feel two invisible hands shifting for a better grip on the rug of hope I’m standing on. Already I’m struggling because there isn’t a screen above Tracey’s head which tells me her blood temperature (yes I’ve used this exact phrase, proving A. how tired I’ve been, and B. how little I know about what goes on in here). For over five weeks Tracey’s body temperature has been the gage by which I know whether I can stomach bacon that day.

And now the screen and it’s wonderfully encouraging information is gone and I guess I’ve been looking around for other indicators of Tracey’s condition.

“Excuse me,” I said, presenting myself to the administrative hub of the ward. Several heads looked up. “I’m sorry, but can some one please come with me to my wife’s bed and tell me not to worry? She’s a bit pale and last time I noticed this happening she ended up losing a lot of her insides.”

As I explained to my wife as the wonderful nurse checked out Tracey’s vitals, if panicking over her appearing a bit pasty is the only lasting side effect I take away from this whole ordeal we’ll consider ourselves lucky.

So rather wonderfully, the only news I have to pass on at the moment is things are improving and the hospital specialists are setting Tracey on a course which should see her home early next year. We won’t know if she can eat or not for a long while yet, but we also don’t care about that so much as if she can hug and laugh and chat.

Thank you to you dear wonderful people in ICU at Royal Brisbane Woman’s Hospital. In the words Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers put to music for the von Trapp family to sing:

“So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.”

I’ve no doubt going forward the good people working in the ward will give me just as much to sing their praises about. I have the donuts at the ready.

Notice absence of ‘nose hose’ on Tracey’s snog ready face and deliriously happy in-laws. Yes, that’s deliriously happy for Ken.

If you enjoyed this post please share, like or comment

“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”

*a word which, despite my using it a lot, apparently doesn’t exist.


  • What a unbelievable road this has been for your family. Still here watching in from the wings and holding my breath with every milestone. Its like my favourite sitcom family almost was torn apart by tragedy. Thank goodness she has survived because it would be like Fred Flinstone without Wilma xx

  • Also, congratulations on the move from ICU, I remember my brother’s turn for that move, and it was fantastic.

  • I have been following this journey with you for so long I feel connected to you all. My friend Gaylene lives in Gympie and posted something long ago and from there I have joined the blog, read about the happier times and now am so stoked that the happier times seem to be reaching out again. I love your honest writing and been hoping and praying that this will reach a happy conclusion unlike so many stories. So keep on living and loving and please let this story get happier and happier day by day xoxo

  • yay this is fantastic. I too remember when Greg woke up after ten days , first his line was out then the pic in , then we watched the monitors gradually the tubes removed until only his trache was left. Then I had to go home , I was out in the garden with my family and missed his call …..I might have not let anyone delete that message for six months ” Hi Sis , it’s me Greg , I’ve been a bit of a s%#*} sorry” and that was it

  • Wow, it’s so wonderful to read about Tracey’s progress, I’m so pleased for you all. Keep doing what you are all doing because it’s clearly working wonders.

  • I’m so excited to have the opportunity to read all about Tracey and how fare she has come after all her ordeal that she had gone through So I like to wish you Tracey and Bruce all the very best and please keep up with the good progress Tracey and Bruce you keep up on your writing take care and god bless you all

  • Its 2.37 am and I’m in bed grinning from ear to ear reading this…such wonderful news. Trace when I saw last night that you liked one of my Instagram photos I almost cried, so relieved you are doing so well. You had your Soul Sisters very very worried Xxxxxxx

  • Being the same age, sharing the same name and also having young kids, Traceys whole ordeal has really struck a nerve with me. It brings tears of happiness my eyes to read how well she is doing! You are both amazing people and I am sending all my good wishes and prayers your way!

  • Yey for a ward.
    A while back Bruce I said that when the tears come you need to make sure you have worked through them all?
    Well the transition from ICU to ward is one of those moments, the happiness is expected and welcomed, but you need to process the grief as well, so give some of it a moment to percolate through. Its crazily important for your future mental health.
    And apart from that, still praying for you guys, sending healthy gut vibes Traceys way and totally stoked that she is out of ICU.
    love yas

  • Woo hoo! No more nose tube! That’s really great!! I can totally imagine that you’re going to be prone to panicking over things like her being pale for a while to come but, YAY for being able to panic about that sort of thing! You and Trace have been prayed for by so many people and the Big Man answered us in the best way! I never thought I would write this in a comment on your blog but, God bless you guys today and everyday!!

  • Bruce, I am so sorry this has happened to you and Tracey but the big positive in all this is that so many more people have got to know you and your special wife and truly enjoy your brilliant writing and blogging talent. That has been a great gift to us all. Love your work, Bruce, and Tracey you have fought a mammoth battle with such style and dignity, you go girl. 🙂

  • So happy for you both and your family. This has been a hairy ride so far but I think things can only get better. Well done Tracey you are a fighter and have a lot of wonderful reasons to keep on fighting.

  • Thank you for sharing this latest chapter on Tracey & the families journey, it is so good to see Tracey & you both smiling

  • What wonderful news to wake up to. I should be up getting the kids to school but hey, your news is worth every single rush I have ahead of me!
    I am so thrilled to hear Tracey is winning her battle and that ‘song ready’ face is now rearing to go 🙂
    Well done guys! Onwards and upwards!

  • Hooray!!!! What fantastic news and woot to the snog interferring nose tube for being removed. Thinking of you all. And three cheers for all the wonderful staff in the icu and just all the wonderful staff at the hospital

  • So exciting! Such a big step forward! I can imagine feeling a little nervous though too. Comforting probably to have Drs and Nurses right there in the ICU. Praying for even better health and good news!

  • who is the dude photobombing? classic! I am so glad that Tracey is on the road to recovery! I was worried when I hadn’t seen an update for a few days xx

  • Wonders of wonders, miracle of miracles!
    Nurses are angels in disguise!
    I know this first hand. I watched -for 9 weeks- as they nursed and encouraged my daughter to live.
    And well done Tracy. Your will power and your courage and your strength are a source of inspiration.

  • I think you meant “integral” Bruce. But thrilled and excited to hear the latest progress with Tracey. Keep up the amazing work beautiful lady. We can’t wait until you’re back amongst us. xoxoxox

  • Yay!! Super happy for you guys!! I remember the change to the ward with my babies as being extremely scary!! However it is an awesome step!! Loves, rainbows and butterflies from Adelaide!!

  • Jeez, I don’t even know you guys but I love you both!!! What an amazing thing, a ward!!! There’s a lot to process as one commenter said. Bruce, I know one doctor gave up and said, right, now to palliative care. A doctor said to me that my baby son was going to die, and the next day another doctor said, no, I’m hoping he will be on the milder end of this horrible illness. That “he’s not going to make it” chat was one of the most traumatic things in my life. My mother was there for it and she fainted. That doctor was wrong. I dealt with that by writing back to the NICU several times until my son started school to say not only did he survive, but he was cute, could play sport, and actually had no brain damage, as he had been assessed as gifted! So, I hope you find a way to communicate to that doctor who gave up, either by talking too him or sending him a letter or 3 when Tracey’s home. Quite simply, that one ICU doctor was wrong, just as that one NICU doctor had been wrong for us. It’s good to try and offload the trauma of “that” chat. x

  • Great news! Keep up the great work Tracey (with the *integral help of the RBWH staff). Still praying for a miracle healing. xo

  • So pleased to hear all is heading in the right direction. Tracey has had a huge fight and it sounds like she’s had the right guys in her corner the whole way. Wishing Tracey the speediest possible recovery and best possible medical outcomes. There’s obviously a lot of love and expertise at that hospital but there’s a world of support out here on the “inter webs” for you too.

  • I am so glad that things are heading in the right direction! Sending you all so much love to get through this next little period where things might feel frustrating as Tracey is well enough not for intensive nursing and not well enough to get home to you all.

    Cathy xoxo

  • Yes, I believe you mean integral. Not that it matters… we all know what you meant. GO you lot. Watching and sending healing wishes from the bush… inspiring stuff!

  • I’m so happy Tracey is out of the ICU.

    My dad was in there the same time she was. He passed away on 27 October. I was so hopeful he’d get better and be transferred to a ward.

    The staff in the ICU at RBWH are just amazing.

    On dad’s last day, his nurse said she had held high hopes for him and lamented they “hadn’t had a win for a while”.

    I’m so pleased they got a “win” in getting Tracey well enough to move to the ward.

  • Just wanted to add – I just looked at your picture and recognise you from the waiting room. (My sister pointed me to this blog).

    Congrats again 🙂

  • Congratulations on moving out of the ICU and on to the high dependency ward! Yay! Small steps, but definitely forward ones.

  • I think the word you are looking for is intrinsic, which means “belonging naturally, or essential to”. So happy to hear Tracey has taken the next step towards coming home.

  • It has been good to read your ongoing story and the happy ending it is having. And it is nice to hear the perspective of relatives and immediate family of a loved one who is drastically ill. I’m a nurse and we – not all of us though – tend to get very very blasé with patients who come from icu. We do not take into consideration their feelings and what ups and downs they have gone through to get to today. Thank you very much to hear your thoughts – both happy thoughts and very sad thoughts. And from now on I will be more mindful to everyone involved in my patients journey. Hope all continues to improve day by day.

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