'Bec, please don't worry, your Mum is going to stay with you tonight and we'll all be back to see you tomorrow.'
Chris was holding my hand, his face creased with worry, his thumb stroking back and forth along the sensation-less skin.
'Well text me when you get in and let me know how Anna is, she looked so ill.'
After exchanging goodbyes with my Dad and Chris, Mum and I waited in Accident and Emergency while I lay hooked up to monitors that beeped every other second. From our little corner of the manic, emergency ward we watched as patients passed us by; some in chairs, others in beds, many Friday night, drunken casualties, and a few appearing to be critical. Mum rested her head on my thigh, her face tilted to face me. She looked drained and appeared as exasperated as I felt.
Why was I back in that hospital again? I was just about getting used to my new life at home, and yet I found my self surrounded by medical staff and scary machines once again.
One of the consultants who had been hovering around the ECG machine while I was connected to it, reappeared and explained to Mum and I, that they were going to move me to a temporary ward, while they found a permanent one for me to reside in.
'Why do I have to stay in hospital?' I asked bluntly, completely perturbed by the situation I was once again finding my self in.
'Well Rebecca, your ECG wasn't completely normal, so we're going to run a couple of blood tests, just to make sure everything is OK.'
Too tired to argue with, or question him, I smiled him away from my bedside, and offered out my arm to the nurse and she took multiple samples of my now thinned blood. As if by magic a porter appeared and as the nurse collected my notes, Mum by my side, pushed by the porter we were led along the silent hospital corridors, a shiver escaping me, partly due to the open windows, and partly because I was scared to be back.
We entered a ward that was a lot less modern in comparison to the high tech' A and E department, with old fashioned, insultingly patterned curtains that hung limply, separating each bed. The porter pushed me to the furthest depth of the ward, and positioned me in to a dark, dank corner, where I was only a couple of feet away from the sleeping patient that lay in front of me, and inches away from a coughing woman in the bed next to me.
It was around 1.00am. Mum was sat in that oh-so-familiar hospital arm chair, with a blanket placed over her knees that a kind old nurse had forced upon her. Both of us drifted in and out of sleep, often being woken up by loud complaints, hacking coughs, low groans, and the unconvincing whispers of the night staff. Just as I had been used to the last time, I was purposefully woken at intervals to have my vitals checked, and after a very broken, half sleep, 8am appeared on the clock.
A young, and moody looking doctor came to the end of my uncomfortable bed and briefly introduced himself while making no eye contact with either me, or my mother. He trawled through my extensive notes, while comparing charts, and after telling me I would be being moved to a permanent ward in the next half an hour, off he went with the briefest of goodbyes and a cursory nod.
'Well someone's not happy to be here on a Saturday morning are they!' said Mum as she rolled her eyes.
'Breakfast time.' A nurse whipped open the curtain surround us and handed Mum and I a plate of toast each with butter and jam, and two extremely welcome, strong looking cups of coffee.
'Got to keep Mum fed and watered as well haven't we.' The nurse smiled as she pushed her trolley onwards, my Mums appreciative comments following her.
By 9 am both Mum and I were nodding off again, our heads lolling and eyes rolling, and just as we were both about to give in to our exhaustion, an overly expressive, young nurse with a sing song voice, who was tailed by a porter collected Mum and me, and we were on the road once more.
A1...My new ward. A men's ward predominantly, with a bay just feet from the entrance dedicated to women. There were only four beds in the bay,and three of them were occupied by ladies who were finishing the remnants of their breakfasts. Two of the women were very definitely pensioners while the woman in the far corner, who was surrounded by cards, magazines and flowers, seemed to be well in to her thirties.
I was helped off the small, slippery bed that I had lay in for the last 12 hours, and flopped on to a bigger, freshly made bed, that was enticing me in to a state of unconsciousness and dreams.
The ward sister sidled over. She had a sleek looking, chocolate brown bob, and her make up was immaculate. With a big smile on her face she welcomed us to the ward and shook my Mums hand, while kindly, yet authoritatively dismissing the girly whirly nurse, who had accompanied me to the new ward, back to her duties. I liked her instantly.
'Hi Rebecca, lovely to meet you. I know you and your Mum must be tired, so I'll let you get your head down asap, and I'm sure your Mum wants to get home and have some shut eye before visiting hours.'
The thought of my Mum having to leave me alone made my heart skip several beats. I was used to having her with me 24/7, I needed her, but I didn't say anything. My poor Mum looked exhausted and beaten. I'm positive she hated the hospital just as much as I did. Neither her or my feet had touched the ground since the 18th October 2011. We were tired. My whole family and I were tired.
As I was rearranging my covers and Mum was adjusting my pillows, the ward sister flicked through my notes until she found the page she wanted,
'Well I have some good news from your blood tests... You've not had a heart attack like we first thought.'