5 years ago, The best Hello world message

While on the mend, I finally wrote my first blog to the world via dictation to my family. I remember saying the words with tears in my eyes. Of course it had to be Hello World, as there was nothing more fitting. The joke about hospital food was my injection of humour, although I have to say the hospital kitchen/restaurant really looked after me while I was there. I was given quite plain food but they kept checking about my allergies all the time. Actually far more than the doctors (as you will see in the next week)

It was great being able to talk again although I still have the trach scar, which will never go away now. I couldn’t explain how much the cards and comments meant to me and my family. I was kind of overwhelmed to know I had touched so many peoples lives and they in turned felt it was worth reaching back.

I was looking forward to moving out of ICU because this about the time when I started really getting better really fast. It was like my body was just repairing its self at a rate the hospital had never seen before. Amazing when you consider the life expectancy of people who have bleed on the brain

If subarachnoid hemorrhage from aneurysm, about 50% die within the first few days in hospital. If intracranial bleed, with/without stroke, the death rate within year one approaches 60%. Figures have remained constant for years.

I am one of the very few lucky ones and believe me don’t I know it, and there is no way I will forget it


 

[Message below was dictated by Ian this evening, no internet connection in hospital]

Ian says:

‘Hello world!  Thank you very much for taking the time to find out how I am doing.  I am doing okay.  I am still in hospital, but making a positive recovery.  Thank you to everybody who has written to me and my family and thanks for writing such amazing things.

The trach tube is out and I can speak again.  The feeding tube is also out.  I had solid food for the first time yesterday–it was horrible!  Of course it was hospital food.

Thank you for all the messages to my family.  I’m on the way to recovery.’

[Ian is due to be moved out of ICU and on to the ward as soon as a bed becomes available.]


Ian is continuing to do well and they are hoping to move him out of ICU and on to the ward soon (possibly this weekend).  He was a bit tired today and slept more, but he did spend most of yesterday out of bed and sitting up.

Ian’s flatmate Tim brought his laptop in for him, but there is not a wireless connection to use so Ian will not be online yet.

Unfortunately Ian missed some visitors today because he was sleeping.  For anyone else who is visiting, please be aware you might not get to see him if he is tired, but we do appreciate you coming to visit!

They hope to put some sort of valve into the trach tube that will make it possible for Ian to speak, but I am not sure when they’ll do this.


At the moment Ian is still in the ICU.  They had thought they were going to move him to the H.D. unit, but there wasn’t a bed available, so for now the plan is for him to stay in ICU until he is ready to move to the ward.

Ian is ready to have visitors now, but in ICU this is limited to two people at a time.  If you want to come visit, please leave a message in the guestbook letting us know what day and time you plan to come (and please leave a contact number in case we need to reach you).  Visiting hours are from 1pm-9pm daily.  They are quite strict about what can be brought into the ICU due to infection control.

Ian still cannot talk due to the trach tube so it can be difficult to communicate with him.  He is finding it frustrating, but appreciates visitors coming as he is getting bored.

5 years ago, while I learned to speak again

Ward at Alpha Hospital

Its the June 2nd and its about the time I could barely talk (due to a trach) but my memory was less hazy and I can remember much more. My sister tried to create a communication board, so I could communicate without saying the word. It was pretty frustrating and too be fair i did tell her. I did feel bad about it, as she really trying to help. I remember writing, this is stupid and there has to be a better way… Luckily I didn’t need to wait long before I could talk again.

Ross and Carly came and saw me a few times and certainly helped with the healing process, by making me laugh and cough a lot. I think I remember Adrian seeing me at one point too, he gave me the printed information on Google IO 2010 and the much talked about Google TV.

This about the time when I started going a little stir crazy, as it was ICU, you were not allowed to plug anything into the wall.  My saving grace was my old kindle full with ebooks which I meant to read at some point. I also had enough of the woman next to me with her kicking action to get attention. I must have read about 10 or so books while I was in ICU, unfortunately lights out was 8pm and I didn’t have the paperwhite kindle at the time.

My parents did offer to bring my laptop but I originally said no (believe it or not!). They did bring my pacemaker which I had a hard time re-learning in the first hour but gave rise to a number of mixes later.

Not being able to get out of bed was a real pain, even when I could actually stand. The nurses wouldn’t let me go to the toilet alone and it wasn’t till I pretty much pleaded with a male night nurse to please let me use the normal toilet so I could have some privacy. I finally was happy again. Privacy is something while going to the loo is something I certainly like and the doctors did wonder if my body was operating correctly.

Hospital food is pretty bad but try having complan as your main supply of food, by this point I only had to survive a day or two on it before than it was via the drip in my nose. Food via a drip was weird and interesting especially when you are fully aware of whats actually happening.

The last thing I certainly do remember is the injections of  Anticoagulants better known as Warfarin. It was either have it in the arm or in the stomach. Don’t ask me why remember I hadn’t had hypontherapy yet, but I decided the stomach was best because I couldn’t move it and have it scratch and theres quite a bit of fatty tissue… It was painful but honestly it wasn’t as bad as in the arm. Having every day got me slightly use to it but any chance I could avoid it, I did. Unfortunately it would only work for a short while before they would hunt me down for another fix!

Mum and Dad kept writing blog posts on carringbridge thanks to Sarah and Sharon.


 

Ian had a very good day today!  He was able to stand for the nurses and was out of bed sitting in a chair for most of the day.  He was smiling a lot and laughing at jokes (which is helping to clear his chest).His breathing is continuing to improve and we hope the trach tube will be removed soon so he’ll be able to speak.

Hi everyone,Ian is progressing well.  He is breathing with very little help now.  They are thinking of transferring him out from ICU to a High Dependency Unit tomorrow.

Ian’s dad, sister and I have been back in Manchester with him since yesterday afternoon.The trach tube had to be resited and Ian is still having some ventilation through that just until his breathing improves.  They are reducing use of it and he is mostly breathing on his own.Ian’s sister has been reading him messages from the guestbook which are much appreciated.  However, at the moment we would still like visitors to be limited to family.  Ian is having ups and downs in his recovery, but on the whole is improving.  We want to make sure he rests and does not get frustrated with not being able to speak (this is temporary due to the trach tube).   He is communicating with us by blinking, nodding and occasionally writing, and he does understand everything that is going on.

Ian’s ventilator was removed again this morning.  To avoid having the ventilator back in, he has had a tracheotomy to help him breathe.  This is just a temporary measure until his breathing is stabilised.  The drain has been removed from his head, so now it is just the feeding tube in his nose.He indicated he was in pain due to having the tracheotomy, so he has had some medication to help with that.I have travelled to Bristol this evening, but will drive back to Manchester with Ian’s dad on Saturday morning.  Ian’s sister will also be back up to see him on Saturday.More cards arrived for Ian today and they are all being stuck up to the wall near his bed.  Thanks to everyone for all the get well messages.

5 years ago… Google IO 2010-15

5 years ago I woke up in hospital wondering what had happened, as it was explained to me. I asked a few questions. by the medium of writing on paper as I had a tracheotomy.

Ian wrote on a piece of paper asking for an article about Google, and one had been sent to him so he got to read it (thanks to the sender!).

What did Google announce at Google IO? If you remember I wrote about this and they announced (pretty doomed?) Google TV.

5 years later, I got to spend the time with my parents in Bristol. Yes I subjected them to Google IO 2015 but not live, so we could jump around a bit. I used the Chromecast I bought them 2 years ago. Quite funny to see my parents on google connected devices, very different from 5 years ago.

I have many thought about Google IO 2015 but those will save for those for another day.

5 years ago… my BBC colleagues wrote

@jas's picture of Herbkim

In my last post I wanted to include this picture of Herb Kim talking about me at Thinking Digital 2010. Still not heard what he actually said (could have been slagging me off or something *joke*) but I’m thankful for what he did do, as I was due to close down BBC Backstage on stage.

It of course never happened till much later of course.

Looking at the work/BBC angle was quite interesting. I have always said my work, personal and play lives are intermixed, and I like/prefer it that way. What happened while I was gaining consciousness says it all…

I saw this blog a long while later after I came out of hospital. I hadn’t realised the open and close battle (best word I can think of) which was kind of happening.

My parents once they received the call from Adrian came straight up to be with me. But my dad kept returning to Bristol for a house move was being finalised. So my mum reached out to Sarah (ex-wife) who recently moved near Manchester. She helped setup the carringbridge site after using it with her brother when he had fallen off something in 2009. Sarah was so supportive and contacted all of my old friends she still had emails for to tell them what had happened.

While this was happening Adrian, Tim and others were trying to keep things quiet by only telling people that needed to know. To be fair I would have done the same and they had no idea about Sarah and my mum spreading the word. The hodge also setup a form to collect responses from friends which was lovely and I thank him for doing so…

but this was trumped by the Carringbridge site Sarah and my parents setup.

I gather looking at the Twitter responses, there was a lot of wonder and doubt about what had happened. With information circulating from my mum and Sarah. I guess it became clear that the BBC needed to say something more official than tweets. I gather this isn’t normal but hey nothing about me and what happened is business as usual.

Adrian/Ant wrote…

This is just to let you know that unfortunately Ian Forrester, Senior Development Producer of BBC Backstage was taken ill last week and is now recuperating in Hope Hospital in Salford.

At the moment he is in a serious but stable condition and is being well cared for by the staff at Hope and his family.

For those who want to pass on their messages the Message for Ian Google form is here.

[Edit 04/06/10] Now that Ian’s family have set up the Caring Bridge site we’re recommending that people wanting to drop him a line use that channel instead.

Flowers aren’t allowed in ICU, but cards are, and can be sent to:

Ian Forrester
c/o Intensive Care Unit
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Stott Avenue
Salford
M6 8HD

We will keep you updated when we hear anything more but until then we hope that you can have Ian in your thoughts and let his other close friends know.

Dr Adrian Woolard

[In Ian’s hopefully short absence I’ll be looking after this blog- Ant Miller]

5 years ago, while I was lying in a bed

view from my bed

Its amazing to read back through the caringbridge entries my parents made (with Sarahs help). I had planned to post or tweet them at the time but I thought better of it, plus I have no idea what happened in the first 2 weeks (my last blog post doesn’t even close to whats about to happen). So here’s what happened in week 3, while I was in hospital in the early days.


Good news today!  The doctors do not think there will be further surgery because the angiogram was ‘clear’.  We think this means the bleeding has stopped.  They are planning to try to wake Ian up tomorrow.

Lots of messages and cards are coming in and we appreciate them all.  At the moment, visiting is limited to close friends and family.  We will let everyone know when he is able to receive more visitors.


I spent most of the afternoon and evening with Ian today.  They have taken him off the medication that was keeping him asleep and his condition is fair.  He’s opened his eyes and is able to communicate with me by nodding.  He is still on the ventilator but he is starting to breathe naturally.  They want to keep the ventilator in for the moment in case he isn’t responding properly.

He had tears in his eyes while I was reading all the get well messages to him.  So far he will only open his eyes when I ask him to, but he will not do it for the nurses.

At the moment it is still just family allowed to visit as Ian gets very tired quickly.  His dad and sister will be back with him tomorrow, and we hope to see some more improvement.


Ian’s dad, his sister and I have been to see Ian today.

Ian is off the ventilator and sedation drugs.  He is breathing on his own with oxygen.  He is still drowsy, but recognises everyone and is able to respond to instructions and understand us.  He is opening his eyes a lot wider and for longer today.

His throat is probably very sore from the ventilator, so it is a bit hard to understand him.  He can speak at a whisper, but we have told him to rest his voice for the moment.

Ian wanted to know what happened as he cannot remember falling ill; his sister has explained it to him.  He then wanted to know what the doctors said so I’ve told him about having the bleed on his brain.  He was listening and nodding to say he understood.

He is quite tired, but we are hopeful he is on the mend.


Yesterday Ian had to go back on the ventilator as there were concerns about his breathing.  I did tell the doctors his breathing is a bit laboured normally and they should take that into account.  They have also been sedating him again just to make sure he can relax and rest.  Because it is very difficult to get the ventilator in, they want to leave it in until they are certain Ian is ready to breathe on his own.

I still feel very confident that Ian is going to make a full recovery.  Today he smiled and squeezed my hand, and he laughed when we told him a joke.  He knows where he is and recognises his family.

He is still quite tired and drowsy, but I am reading him your get well messages when he is awake enough to listen.  Alvin and I had no idea how well known Ian is until we saw the messages coming from all over the world.

I am staying at Ian’s flat in Manchester and am pleased that I have figured out how to turn on his television!


Ian is making good progress today.  He was asleep for about an hour after I arrived, but then woke up and stayed awake and responsive for all the time I was there.

I held up some of his cards and messages for him to read.  Ian wrote on a piece of paper asking for an article about Google, and one had been sent to him so he got to read it (thanks to the sender!).

The doctors are hoping to to take him off the ventilator again tomorrow and see how his breathing is doing.

I was told a conference in Boston recorded a get well video for Ian.  At the moment, devices to play it for him are not allowed in ICU, but I will tell him about it and know he will get to see it eventually.