MRI and Lego

Again I have missed a day of posting and for that I apologise. But for yesterday’s post I want to talk about the below photo.


This is an MRI machine made out of Lego that I found last week. I can’t remember when I made it but it must have been between my MRI in 2011 and my operation in 2012, part of a Lego hospital I created. There was an ambulance with ramp, a small ward, a pharmacy, a bed on wheels and even a wheelchair but I am most proud of the MRI machine room. The bed slides into the machine through the window across the smooth panels, there are two benches for waiting (one inside and one outside) and there is a full control panel for the operator, who is naturally wearing a helmet as PPE.

Lego is so versatile and I’m glad I found this in order to share how I used it while I was going through my operation.


Post-op appointment 2: Tuesday 18th December 2012

Mid-December came and it was already time for my second post-op appointment. The actual appointment went as smoothly as could be expected and, as with the first one, all was doing fine.

Now, seeing as we’d spent all this money on a train up to London, we thought we’d make the most of it, heading over to Regent Street and Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights. We popped into a few shops, including Selfridges which was far too busy for my liking, and saw the Christmas displays outside Hamleys (disappointing). We finished the day with a meal at the Victoria Station branch of Cafe Rouge.

The meal itself was lovely, until we reached dessert. I went for my usual ice cream served with cream and raspberry coulis, which was very nice. Unfortunately almost as soon as I finished it I felt sick, but decided it was just the sudden influx of sugar and that it would pass – this used to be a regular occurrence when I was little. However, when we reached the area of the station leading to the platforms I actually threw up (luckily we had a plastic bag without holes for this purpose). I was embarrassed, my parents were annoyed and we had to pay 30p to use the station toilets. This wasn’t even a one off as I’d finished off a meal out with a rich cheesecake a week earlier and promptly threw up. Basically I no longer eat dessert when I eat out – not sure if the sickness is a legacy from the drugs I had or if it’s just me!

So yeah, sorry about the nauseating nature of this post, it was also horrible to write. My next post chronicles more nausea actually but don’t let that put you off as the real subject is our youth group weekend away!


End of 2012

Once post-op 1 was done I became more and more ‘normal’, catching up on schoolwork and eventually managing to make it through whole days without collapsing into bed afterwards!

The operation left a few legacies: I can no longer remember how I used to get into bed – during and after hospital I was sitting in a strategic place on the edge of my bed and swung my legs onto the bed to lie on my side (I still do it now!). I also have issues with putting on socks because I got so used to not bending down to do anything.

In terms of clothing I was mainly wearing jogging bottoms and loose t-shirts, although I did realise that I hadn’t got many clothes which were nice enough for college so I did have to go to Peacocks to buy some jeggings, and then again to buy another pair because they were damaged and then again because the new pair was too big – I actually bought the original damaged pair and my mum repaired them! Jeans did become more comfortable as time went on though.

Also, my first week back at school brought very happy news – over the summer my school had a competition to creatively respond to some artwork and I entered with a short story. When I returned to school I was summoned to the head teacher’s office where I was told that I had won for my key stage! I also got some very nice comments on my story from Elly Griffiths, who writes very good books (you can buy the first one here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Crossing-Places-case-Galloway/dp/1847249582/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1408481548&sr=8-5&keywords=elly+Griffiths). Anyway, I won £100 in WHSmith vouchers and received these and a certificate, as well as a memory stick for my GCSE results, at our school awards ceremony at the Brighton Dome (which I had the pleasure of sitting through in its entirety rather than playing the violin). Thought I’d share a photo from that below:

Ready for the Dome

Ready for the Dome

The only other notable event that I can remember is Bredon Bitesize, the reunion for the camp I go on in the summer. This involved another journey into London, where me and my friend Beth managed to get priority seats and everyone else had to endure the floor/doorway. Once we got off the train, we were told the sad news that 2 of our youth leaders wouldn’t be coming on camp, but the happy news that this was because they were having a baby! Subsequently they ended up visiting the Evelina for tests, so I was able to give them a run down of the various floor names before they went. Bitesize was also my first experience of the tube since my operation (it was all fine) and my probably only visit to Winter Wonderland – not particularly fun and too crowded, so we left and had a coffee instead! After a safe journey home, I think we must have had a pizza or something.

Well, I think that’s all for the rest of 2012, apart from my post-op on 18th December which I will talk about in my next post.


6 Week Post-Op Appointment: Tuesday 6th November 2012

So, I’d made the first steps to return to school and it was time for me to return to the hospital for my first post-op appointment, 6 weeks after my operation.

I was naturally very nervous about going back to the hospital, especially the journey up on the train. Luckily my appointment wasn’t too early in the day so we didn’t get a particularly busy train. I can’t remember if we got the underground, taxi or walked from the station to the Evelina, but as always we arrived in plenty of time.

We had a fairly smooth time in x-ray, I don’t think we waited long and they were very happy with my x-ray friendly clothing (plain t-shirt and jogging bottoms). There was little of note recorded in my actual appointment, just good recovery and healing. Once appointment stuff was finished with, we went down to m&s food for some lunch and then headed home. On the way we popped into the grounds of Westminster Abbey to see the remembrance crosses.

There’s nothing else really to say on this, I mean I went home and watched TV then went to bed! My next appointment was scheduled for 6 weeks later, so I’ll be talking about that after filling you in about the rest of 2012! Please follow/comment/ask questions!


Return to school and Sorted

So, I was finally feeling a little better and well enough to return to school (although technically it was sixth form college, but it was the same school so I just call it school!). We were told that the recommended time off was 4-6 weeks, and I managed 4 from the day I went into surgery, at least according to Facebook! My status update on 24th October read “4 weeks ago I was in theatre, now I’m going back to school and looking forward to French tomorrow!”. To be honest I can barely remember going back, but I must have had French! It wasn’t a full day, I think I only went in for one or two lessons, but I was there long enough to get some work done and sort out what needed to be done over half term. It helped that I was at sixth form because I didn’t have 5 lesson days every day!

Anyway, I still had a fair amount of work, including two history essays and naturally work for my other subjects as well. Half term was a mixture of sleep, relaxing and doing catch up work. I think I also managed to meet up with friends. I went back to school properly on Monday 5th November, but alas, only for one day! That’s not because of any disaster but because I had my first post-op appointment, which I will talk about in my next post. Once that was done with I was able to survive school pretty much full time, luckily having a mum who worked part time at the school who could give me lifts. Most days I did come home and lie down though!

Before I finish, I want to talk about Sorted! On 10th November, the weekend after I went back to school, my youth group went up to London to go to a big Christian youth event in Westminster Chapel (called Sorted). This was my first fun day out post-op and involved a pretty crowded train, so I was quite worried about it. Afterwards we always go out for a meal, but I thought I might want to go home at that point, so my parents came up too (they didn’t come to the event though). The theme in 2012 was Alive, and I got a fantastic T-shirt as well as being encouraged by great bible teaching and seeing a few friends from far away. We also got some reserved pews and a special chair for me because of my back, and our only boy in my youth group carried a cushion for me (thanks Ben!). I even managed a walk down the road during the break so that we could take some photos of the letters of the word Alive for the photo challenge (in the end we were too late to enter)

The train journeys were fine as we all got seats and we also saw loads of teachers, including my history teacher who was also my old form tutor (I remember because I said that I’d seen him after class and showed him my T-shirt) and a teacher from another school, who were both going to an away football match (you probably don’t care about this at all!!). ANYWAY, if you’re interested in Sorted, their website is here: http://www.sortedevent.org.uk/

So, I think that brings this to a close! I managed to catch up pretty quickly on work, but if you have a poor work ethic it will take much longer. Just make sure you seek support from your place of study, and they should help you loads.


Further Recovery

Once my dressing was sorted, there were no formal jobs left for me to do in terms of my recovery. Each week merged into the next as I gradually got better so I’m going to talk about the remainder of my recovery at home in this one post.

By week 2 at home I was starting to get bored and felt like I needed to start my catch up work! Maths I could actually do in bed and then my mum wrote it in neat if needed, and I was mainly just working through the textbook. French was much harder as I had little idea of what I was missing and didn’t have the spoken input needed to succeed. English was again working through the textbook, but History was by far the easiest. My teachers were able to give me all the worksheets and the scheme of work so I knew exactly what to do. I have a really strong memory of doing some research on Marxism and having to stop because someone came to visit.

I had a number of visitors, mainly friends and people from church but also a few family members. These were great because I wasn’t able to go out much. However after a week or so I was able to go to church and youth group as normal and also the next sixth form bible study.

Other things I got up to were watching TV, sleeping and gradually reducing my drugs. My next step was to return to school!


Dressing Removal 2: Monday 8th October 2012

So, the next event in my hectic recovery was my second dressing removal. This was by no means as traumatic as the first, and I also had a great nurse. She had a son who was at the same school as me, so we were able to discuss teachers and stuff – coincidentally one of her son’s history essays was given to us as an example a few weeks later. Anyway, she took the dressing off with the aid of cold spray, and then told me that it was healed enough to not have to put another dressing on and I could have a shower in a few days. I was very happy about this and proceeded to go home and have a lie down. My scar felt very weird, much like lying on a shoelace!

Also, I forgot to mention that on the preceding Saturday, I went to the hairdresser because I still couldn’t wash my hair. Another coincidence was that the girl washing my hair was in the year below me at school! So, we were also able to have a chat about history teachers and stuff, although it’s always a bit weird having someone else wash your hair.

Anyway, that’s it for now, so I’ll return tomorrow (hopefully) with more news on my recovery!