2

Confirmation of Surgery

So, last time I posted about my appointment, I’d just been told no surgery. Therefore I’d had a nice summer and enjoyed myself. By mid-August I had started worrying about my appointment in September, but this had happened for the previous appointment too, so nothing new there.

On Tuesday 13th September, I had the day off school and we headed off to St Thomas’ Hospital, or rather the Evelina Children’s Hospital on the same site. Having the day off meant that I was nervous about it, as the appointment wasn’t until 2pm, and I remember watching Glee I think the night before, as a treat. Anyway, we got the train, probably ate some food, and got to the hospital in plenty of time, as usual. Due to limited waiting space at X-Ray, they keep you in the large, open waiting area for outpatients (Ocean) before sending you up there, which we were fine with. From what I can remember, we went to X-Ray around 2.15 (I could be wrong, it may have been earlier!) and the situation up there was very busy – there weren’t enough chairs for a start. Whilst waiting, we met a lovely little boy called Jamie and his mum, who had been waiting for around an hour. This is especially poignant because I later saw Jamie in the information booklet about treatment options, and for someone still in primary school, to go through a brace and possibly surgery is extremely commendable.

Anyway, when we heard he had waited an hour, we thought “That won’t happen to us”, bearing in mind my dad was waiting downstairs while me and my mum were at X-ray and he would wonder where we’d got to. Nevertheless, around an hour later we were send round to change and they did the X-rays. We then headed back downstairs, and it was pretty busy. Not a nurse to be seen, I handed my back from X-ray card to one of the receptionists – BIG MISTAKE. We wondered after a little while why we were still waiting, and by 4pm we still hadn’t been called. On inquiring, it turns out I was never registered as back from X-ray, although why they didn’t check up why it had apparently taken two hours too do the X-rays I will never know.

Finally, after a long time waiting, and me getting a bit distressed, a lovely physio (I think she was called Anita) called me in and we saw a different registrar from last time. He looked at my X-rays and did the usual physical checks and said that the curve had got worse and that they’d need to operate. I cried at this point, and he was reasonably unimpressed, wanting me to calm down. He gave us an information pack and left us to talk to the kind physio (well actually he just left us, and the physio wanted to help us out and have a calmer chat).

Anyway, the physio answered a few questions and was pretty sympathetic – I think she understood my situation a lot more, as I had just started year 11 and GCSEs were coming up in May. I was also already planning going to summer camp (Bredon, which I mentioned in the last post), which looked less likely after this news. While talking to the physio, I actually stopped crying and was able to ask a couple of questions – although I cannot remember at all what they were!). Once we let the physio go back to work, we went home via WHSmith, where I bought a copy of Harry Hill’s Bumper Book of Bloopers.

Once on the train and at home, I felt OK, but by bedtime I was distraught again – this would continue for many weeks. I returned to school the next day, starting with maths. I want to make an apology at this point, to my friend Laura, who asked me how the appointment went. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell her, firstly because it was in a lesson, two because there were others listening, and also because I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone myself. This was a big thing for me, as I am scared of needles and practically everything medical – I didn’t fancy missing school either.

So, thanks for reading and please comment if you relate or have any questions.

Image
0

My back, July 2011

My back, July 2011

This is me from the back in late July 2011. It is obviously made worse by the fact that I am walking, but you can clearly see that it is by no means straight. This was taken at Bredon 1 Summer Camp, and I have cropped it because others were in it, so it isn’t great quality. I will also talk about Bredon at some point, in a later post.

1

Declan

I have been wanting to write this post for so long but have been putting it off again and again. One reason for this is that I hoped to create a video to accompany this, but decided not to due to time constraints and also because it contained footage of my primary school class, and I don’t have their permission to publish it publicly. This is also obviously a sensitive issue, but I hope that this is a nice tribute, as well as giving the general reader an idea of what accompanied my journey to surgery.

I met Declan aged 4 in Reception Class. He was always friendly and quite boisterous. My mum said that sometimes he was in his own little world and was completely unresponsive to what anyone told him – this wasn’t because he was being naughty, it was just how he was. One thing I noticed at that age was his large and growing family, and they were lovely. He wasn’t as bright as me but made up for it in friendliness. I would see him a lot as our trays (this is where we kept our stuff in the classroom) were next to each other – they were ordered by first rather than last name. Having said that, we were a close knit class and indeed school, with only 200 or so pupils. Unfortunately, even though I left just 8 years ago, I can’t remember all that much else about life at Primary School. In Year 6 we put on the Sound of Music as a play, but it was a ‘Mr Bennett special’, including a gorilla, random dances, and Robbie Williams – played by Declan. He loved music, and was good at it too, earning him not only that part but also the part of one of the children.

We all thought we’d not see him again once year 6 was over, as he went to a different school to the ones most of us were going to. Luckily this was not the end, as he transferred to my school a year later. Sadly, this would be the last time I ever spoke to him, outside the main entrance of the school. He was with a group of boys from his form and me and my friend were walking past to get to our lesson. We said hi to him and moved on, but I had a feeling that the boys were giving him grief about it. I didn’t really see him around school anyway, but I doubt I would’ve acknowledged him again if I felt the others would be mean. This probably contributed to him homeschooling, but also the larger school environment makes it harder for anyone to thrive and get the same level of support as in earlier years.

It was a Friday morning when the accident happened, 6th May 2011. He was crossing the road on his paper round whilst listening to his iPod with his hood up. A car flashed him to cross but another was coming the other way and he was thrown into the air. It was the school run and reportedly a number of buses passed the spot where it happened and saw the scene. He was obviously taken to hospital and the news of the incident spread, mainly through Facebook. I found out about it on Saturday and vividly remember telling my mum after my piano lesson that Declan had been knocked down. I cannot actually remember being particularly scared about my impending appointment, I guess I focused my energies on praying he would get better, which we all thought would definitely happen. We prayed at church the next day, and at youth group, but by the time I arrived home at 9pm on Sunday night, his parents had made the brave decision to turn off his life support. The news came, as usual, from Facebook, and I remember crying for around 10 minutes before going to tell my parents, who were watching something on TV. They never announced his death at school, telling us about the accident but not confirming what we’d heard on Facebook. I was upset and angry for a while, but almost enjoyed the memorial service, held in a large marquee, with loads of people there – including many of my primary school class. His death also inspired his sister to make music and she has released an album and is doing a concert on Saturday – her website provided a number of facts about the accident

RIP Declan, gone but never forgotten.