What do you do whenever it all goes wrong

My dear wife Jeannie Pleban

Jeannie's memories.


On the 12th February 2011 I wrote this post for Facebook
It's 4am Dubai time and 12 midnight English time. I'm sitting in our apartment hotel listening to the planes take off from the airport and wishing we could be flying home.

The past week has been like living in a nightmare that you couldn't wake up from but I, and the family, have been overwhelmed by the kindness and love that has been showered on us by people both here and all over the world. There are no words that can say how much this has helped.

It epitomises the emotional rollercoaster that I’d started to ride at 11pm on 5th February 2011 and I continue to ride, though not as violently, to this day.
It’s hard to describe what that has felt like or to put into words the devastation that one event had on our lives.
At approximately 11pm (local time), 2 hours flying time west of Dubai, and 36,000 feet above the earth, Eddie woke and asked me if his face looked funny. I reassured him that everything was fine. About 20 minutes later he went to the loo and, as I stood watching him walk back, he staggered from side to side as if drunk. I knew this could not be as we were travelling on an airline that did not serve alcohol. He sat down, and a few moments later said “ I feel really weird, I’ve got pins and needles all over”. I knew immediately that something awful was happening and went to the Purser and said I believed my husband was having either a heart attack or a stroke.
Eddie has shared on this blog the letter I wrote to the airline which documents what happened next. Suffice it to say that, although the airline denied it, the cabin crew were less than useless, and when we got to Dubai, despite being promised that a wheelchair and Doctor would be waiting, they offloaded all the passengers before making Eddie walk to a wheelchair. By this time Eddie was having seizures down the left side of his body and was beginning to be somewhat incoherent. The Doctor promised was nowhere to be seen.
The CEO of Dubai airport later said that they had never been told there was a medical emergency on board as, if they had, there would have been an ambulance waiting when we landed.
Two medics arrived ten minutes later, and in front of a café and passengers waiting to board, Eddie was examined and I was questioned as to what had happened. They made the decision to take Eddie to the Medical Centre in the airport and as soon as Eddie was placed on the bed in the centre his condition deteriorated rapidly.
I stood in the corridor staring at my mobile phone. I had no idea what to do. I felt helpless, hopeless and very alone.
I remember sending a text to a number of friends, but did not remember what I wrote until I asked a friend in September last year (2013). Apparently my text read “Eddie dying in Dubai please pray”. We now know that, as a result of that text and articles in Network Norwich, the EDP and Eastern Evening News, people worldwide began to pray for Eddie.
I was asked to pay for the ambulance to take Eddie to hospital and, as they did not accept card payments, I was escorted to a cash machine to withdraw the equivalent of £300.
After going through passport control we arrived at the hospital at 4am. As Eddie was taken into A & E I was asked to go to the pay desk and deposit £800 and then in the morning they would sort things out with the Travel Insurance firm. Our nephew, Stephen, who lives and works in Dubai, was waiting for me as we entered the hospital. I had not seen him for a number of years. He greeted me and said “ I have water and chocolate” my reply was “I don’t like chocolate”. What a silly thing to say.
By this time Eddie was semi-conscious, vomiting and making the most horrendous noises. He continued to have the periodic seizures and things just went from bad to worse.
After and MRI scan the Consultant, Dr Khumar came to speak to me. He told me that Eddie had suffered a “Potine infarction”. Having nursed prior to having the children I knew exactly what he was saying. My reply was “that’s not good is it?”. Dr Khumar said “He has 48 hours barring a miracle”. I replied “Well we believe in miracles”.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

My son John flew from Gibraltar to be with Jeannie, when my family was told that I had only about 48 hrs to live he set out to find how to repatriate my body, I can't bare the thought of how he must have felt having to do this. Below are copies from his note pad with details of the work he did.

I BEAT THE ODDS AND SURVIVED

As it turned out I recovered enough to be flown home after 9 days, this too must have been a harrowing experience for the family, John and Lila my oldest daughter found the appropriate firm and arranged for me to be flown home to Norich, as there was a good chance that I wouldn't make it Jeannie wasn't alowed to accompany me, plus there wasn't enough room on the jet.

See repatriation page

Stephen King and myself six years later

 Steve Kings recollections:-  Eddie and Jeanie had just arrived and I met Jeanie outside where she tried to explain what had happened. I remember we must have met a thousand nurses and doctors and she recounted your medical history about a million times. Still don't know what the purpose was...

 

Then they brought you through to the MRI and I saw you for the first time. That was the worst. Until that point I was fairly calm, and confident. Everything would be fine, I just needed to keep calm and be there for Jeanie while the doctors sorted everything.

But it was awful. I remember you were making hard breathing noises and were twitching continuously.

 

The staff steered you up into the MRI room, there was a steep ramp and I thought they would have trouble pushing you up it! I was actually happy at this point - I thought they would test you and find the cure and all would be well. It looked like something out of Starship enterprise,

Then things started to go awry. They asked me to come and enter the machine and help move you onto the bed. We lifted the sheet - damn you were heavy. But we moved you gently enough. Then I went outside and we met the doctor where Jeanie gave briefed him on your medical history again - I could almost join in at this point!

 

Then we waited, and waited and waited. I can't remember if I helped you back on the gurney or not. The only thing I can remember is the doctor sitting us in his office and explaining it was a brain stem stroke...

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17.11 | 19:33

This is the first time reading a blog loved it my stroke was 2 years ago with 4 boys under 13 it's hard but you have given me anew outlook on my new life

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19.10 | 19:09

I was placed in isolation. My first memory was seeing my daughter and nephew .
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