I still haven’t unpacked all the bags of Leah’s personal possessions that came back from Belfast City Hospital after she died – it’s just too painful. I glanced in one of them this morning and saw this and burst into tears.
Each of Leah’s emergency hospital admissions here in Ireland resulted in the nurses having to find a bottle of acetone so that she could remove her nail varnish. Leah loved having her nails looking well.
On our first night in the Cancer Centre on Friday 27th December 2013 the nurses were reluctant to make her remove her beautiful nail varnish. However Leah’s oxygen saturation levels were worryingly low and the staff speculated whether they were really that low or whether the finger probe just wasn’t reading right because of her nail varnish.
Obviously this was all very stressful so I asked the staff for acetone to remove the nail varnish from one finger nail to end the ambiguity.
On Saturday 28th December Leah was transferred to Intensive Care and had to wear a finger probe all the time, so with Leah’s agreement, I also removed the nail varnish from one finger nail on her other hand.
After a few days, she really needed a choice of fingers so I removed the nail varnish from a second finger nail on each hand. Eventually, after several days, and with Leah’s permission, I removed all of her nail varnish.
I think it was really good that the staff didn’t insist on all of Leah’s nail varnish being removed before we were emotionally ready to do so!
As soon as Leah was admitted to ICU the doctor told me that Leah may not survive and I then discussed this with Leah.
We were hoping and praying for a miracle of healing until we eventually knew in our hearts that this wasn’t going to happen.
In a funny kind of way, keeping Leah’s nail varnish on for as long as possible was part of a desperate attempt to cling to normality in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.