I suppose I cannot have a blog without actually going into the events of the event, so to speak!! It has taken over 10 months before I could do this, and not sure, even as I start to write this, how far I will get. But here goes………
Christmas Day – A great get together with the children and grand children. Not even an argument anywhere this year. Ian was a little tired and quieter, but we all put it down to the fact that he had not been drinking any alcohol for a couple of months. Not one sip. Not even his Christmas brandy. All in all, this was a lovely, enjoyable, all together, Christmas Day.
Boxing Day – We got up early to travel to Liverpool for the anticipated match between Leicester and the Reds. Ian, myself, my son aged 32 and my niece aged 9/10. Ian drove the 2 hour journey and we stopped half way at a service station for breakfast. Ian ordered himself four pieces of toast with an egg on each one, and I remember chiding him, as I thought he had ordered for us all, whereas the rest of us had opted for bacon sandwiches. But he wanted them for himself. This was very unusual and not something he would normally have done. He ate every little bit of his breakfast and we carried on our journey. Another detail I remember is that it was raining and windy. Not a very nice day weather wise. I had asked Ian if he wanted me to take over driving. Something I would always ask and he would always say no to. I don’t think he liked my driving much! But on this occasion, he did actually say “you can if you want” , but i just replied “nah, you can carry on”. Was he feeling ill then? I don’t know, nor will I ever find out now.
We arrive at Anfield and parked the car about 600 yards from the ground. As was our usual thing at Anfield, we were going to head up to the Hillsborough memorial and tie a Leicester scarf in respect of the fans that had died at Sheffield. We were a good 2 hours early so that we had plenty of time to do this and meet up with mates in the pub before kick off.
We were walking up the car park towards the ground. The wind was raw. Myself and my niece were slightly ahead of my son and Ian. I can also remember me feeling breathless because of the cold and blustery conditions. I looked behind and Ian was walking slow. Another unusual thing for him. I often teased him for walking very fast that I could not keep up. I thought maybe his back was hurting as he had had problems in the summer with his spine. I carried on walking up the car park and again turned to see Ian just standing there and looking around him, with a confused look on his face. I went back down to him and asked him what was up. He replied that he felt a bit giddy but would be fine and we carried on walking towards the ground. Then he said he needed to sit down. We sat on some railings just at the side of Anfield, still in the top part of the car park. Ian said he just needed to rest, but then started to rub his arm and chest. I knew then we needed help. He was still talking and being jolly but he was also getting very sweaty and clammy. I ran to a steward and told him to get an ambulance. The stewards were fantastic, and went and chatted to Ian who by this time was feeling and looking a little better. The ambulance came within maybe 5 minutes and took Ian inside the vehicle to do tests. It was then decided that they would run him up to the local heart hospital for further investigations, but they were not too worried at this stage. We actually thought we would get back out for the match.
I went with Ian in the ambulance. My son and niece collected the car and made their own way there. In the ambulance the paramedic showed me the ECG which showed abnormalities, but again nothing too worrying. Now for some reason I cannot remember talking to ian at all. Not once. But I must have done. He was sitting opposite me in a chair and he was joking with the medics that I had poisoned him with the Christmas Turkey. This is the last thing I remember Ian ever saying. Typical Ian. I can’t even remember if I held his hand or anything like that. I hate this blocked out bit.
We pulled up outside the emergency doors and the driver came round and opened the back doors of the ambulance. Just as I was climbing out, the other medic inside pushed me hard and shouted to go get the emergency team. As I had stood, turned and walked down two little steps, Ian had gone into cardiac arrest. I did not look back and just hurtled towards the doors and pressed a big buzzer, which opened up into a small area with another door which I just banged on screaming. Loads of people came running out and I stood by watching them bring Ian out of the ambulance, now lying down on the chair that turned into a stretcher. I followed them in and as they began working on him I became some sort of deranged animal and was bouncing of the walls screaming to let me out. I could not stop in there and hurtled myself back outside. By this time is was pouring with rain, but I didn’t care. I was trying very hard to phone the family, but the amount of time this took me was surreal. My fingers would not work. I couldn’t work the phone. My motor skills were all in shock. The staff kept coming out and asking me to go into a family room, but I was adamant I was not going to do this. I was not going into any room where they were going to tell me things I did not want to hear.
Eventually, I was reunited with my son and niece and was informed that they had taken Ian to theatre to insert stents into his heart. He would then be returned to intensive care. They said he was a strong man and a fighter. He was critical but they had got him.
After theatre we were allowed to see him. Ian had been put into an induced coma. I was told that they were very pleased with how he was doing but they were slightly concerned that he may have suffered some brain damage due to having been ‘worked on’ for so long getting his heart going again. They were going to monitor him overnight, and come morning probably start reducing his obs slowly to see what damage may have occurred. At this stage they said he was critical but stable. I asked if I needed to bring the family in and they said no, they felt everything was under control at this present time. When I sat with Ian that night and the next day, even though he was in an coma, at no stage did I ever feel he was brain damaged. Not once.
My son and niece went back to Leicester and my sister came to support me. Overnight we spent the time with Ian and also trying to sort out accommodation. I was also looking at long term rent – one, two months etc – as I knew we would be here for a long while yet, and needed to be up in Liverpool for a while. I even had friends from Dubai who were scouting around for me too, as they came from the area.
Sometime during the night Ians kidneys started to fail. Again, the hospital staff were not too unduly concerned. They put him on a dialysis machine and it looked like he was picking up. His vital signs were improving and it was as if the machine was getting rid of all the bad toxins out of his body and things were looking better.
The following morning Ian’s brother and sister in law came down from yorkshire, and also friends over for xmas from Dubai came down from Scotland and up from Stoke. These people were all amazing over this horrendous time as a great support to me, as well as my sister who had stayed overnight. The children were planning to come up after lunch. At this stage, again, we were looking at long term treatment and getting Ian well again.
Sometime throughout the day, probably not long after lunch, I was sitting with Ian and a female doctor just came and said you should be prepared for the worst. This was the first time anyone had hinted that it was this serious. She did say that she could not predict, but just be aware that we could lose him. Maybe about an hour later, a doctor and nurse asked to see us all (family and friends.) I knew then. They came in and basically said that they had done further tests and I can remember them actually saying that Ian had a ‘hard’ heart and I was thinking………dont be daft. Ian has a lovely soft heart!
We were told that nothing could be done as he was not responding to treatment, but again, they were not gods and we would be sure over the next four or five hours. The children were then on route to the hospital. I told the doctor this and he said that it was fine as they were about an hour away and that there was plenty of time before we would see how things did develop, but he was pretty sure it was only going one way.
Maybe only 30 to 40 minutes after this conversation, the kids arrived. I met them downstairs and had to break the news to them. It was horrendous. We then went back to the ward and I went off to check to see if I could take them in to see Ian. As I went towards the ward, the doctor and nurse came towards me and again I just knew. Ian had gone. He had took that decision that the kids were not going to see him all wired up etc and had had another massive heart attack whilst we were downstairs.
The aftermath of those next few minutes of breaking the news is something I cannot even write about. No words could describe the torture, pain, heart break etc that we all went through in that bewildering mental period in that family room.
Later on that evening we decided to all head back home to Leicester. There was nothing more to do and we all split up into different cars and came back home. Everyone utterly shell shocked. I walked into the house where the Christmas Tree and opened presents and lovely food lay all around us. Nothing had changed at home, but everything had changed. Nothing would be the same ever again.
We cried. We talked. We drank copious amounts of alcohol. We rang people. We did not sleep. We were like zombies. Living but not living. A house full of shocked zombies.
And that was the event. Did Ian know he was ill? Did not drinking alcohol for a few months affect him. Did that massive breakfast have any impact. Who knows. It is irrelevant now. But you know something. I bloody well wish with all of my heart that Ian had enjoyed at least one glass of his favourite brandy on Christmas day.The