As you will probably be aware, earlier this year I cut my hair for charity. The hair went to the Little Princess Trust while the money went to Evelina London, where I had my spinal fusion surgery. You can now read my account of why I fundraised on the Support Evelina blog via the link below!
As you may be aware, I had a charity haircut scheduled almost two weeks ago to donate 7 inches of my hair to charity and raise money at the same time. Currently I have raised just under £275 for Evelina London and hope to reach my target once my friends get their student loans in! If you want to donate, my JustGiving page is here: https://www.justgiving.com/bethcarrhaircut. The hair has been donated to the Little Princess Trust and you can find out more about them here: http://www.littleprincesses.org.uk/.
EDIT: apologies for the lack of text on the previous version, it somehow got wiped!
I wanted something short to write about on a busy day and upon browsing the internet I came across the new website for the Evelina Children’s Hospital, or Evelina London as it is better known now. It’s really easy to use and much more informative than the last one, so check it out – it’s definitely something I would have liked to have read as the information is more concise that the massive booklet I was given.
You can find the website here: http://www.evelinalondon.nhs.uk/Home.aspx.
I logged on to blog about something that I wasn’t fully sure I could finish a coherent post on (faith-related) and so I had a little look at the top searches for the past week. They might be from however many separate people, but they were as follows: scoliosis at the evelina children’s hospital, anxiety and post operative recovery 2015, gassiot house lodge accommodation, savannah lizard st thomas. These are search tags that are very specific to those people who have an operation very similar to mine planned for the near future.
It was the ‘savannah lizard st thomas’ tag that really got me thinking. I had very little information on the ward prior to arrival, partially self-imposed because I didn’t want to read the information pack. But the google search does not help. Because Lizard is barely listed as a part of Savannah on the Evelina website and scoliosis treatment is not mentioned at all. Anyway, if that’s you, please don’t worry! The ward is lovely, really airy and bright, and the nurses were amazing. The food was also really great.
So yeah, that was spontaneous. Not sure what kind of post will come next…
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!
I find it incredibly annoying to not remember what happened to me for most of my stay in hospital and it’s times like these that I wish I’d written this blog before.
By Saturday, I was beginning to get back to normal – I had a better sleep the night before and I was being forced to get out of bed to go to the loo or get food. They also encouraged me to get out of bed and sit on a chair to help me sit up and not be slumped in bed all day. I was still being sick, but I had been joined in this by Ella and Charlotte, who also suffered from taking morphine.
I think today was when the anti-sickness medication came in, technical name anti-emetics, and this is not a pleasant experience. Much like the removal of the canula I talked about in an earlier post, I think they have to flush the canula, but even if they don’t the sensation is the exact same – it’s really weird and horrible!! However I think it stopped the nausea so that’s good.
From talking to others I’m pretty sure that I was visited by a physio (going to guess her name as Gemma) to do my stair climbing, to make sure that I was ready to go home. We went to the stairwell that you can’t actually get out of unless you go to the ground floor, but luckily we didn’t get locked in! I managed to walk up and down a half flight, and was cleared physically to go home.
I think I was also invited to the cinema to see a film. They have a Medicinema at St Thomas’ that means that patients can be literally wheeled down to watch a film and make their stay a bit more enjoyable. I suppose it was a pleasure to be asked because there apparently isn’t much room for loads of beds in the cinema, but whatever the film was I didn’t want to see it (I think it was a cartoon), so that honour went to someone else.
One thing we’d done to make the stay better was bring my mum’s laptop and some DVDs so I could watch something other than daytime TV. We didn’t really do this much because it was quite hard to set up and the TV on the bed sufficed. But, we did manage an episode of Outnumbered, which was very funny and cheered me up.
One of the highlights of my day, and indeed my entire stay in hospital was watching the finale of Doctor Who, The Angels Take Manhattan, which was the last episode with my beloved Amy and Rory. In a way it was nice that it aired then because I will always remember how I felt when I saw it. I wont go into too much detail about it – it started slowly (although with GREAT music), then things took a turn for the worse, then this scene happened: SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS EPISODE 1) WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? 2) DON’T READ ON!!
I apologise that the video didn’t properly embed, but at least this is the real footage! (Turns out it’s all fine now!)
I think I cried at this point, even just because the music is so amazing. And then you’re hit with this false sense of security because they survive and then BANG Rory gets zapped by an angel, and Amy makes the choice to leave the Doctor and risk being lost in time to be with her husband. By this point I was definitely in tears (remember I was very drugged up!). By the time the episode finished it was 8.05pm and there had been a shift change – my nurse was now Sam. This was a bit awkward because I couldn’t actually say anything about what I’d just watched because he hadn’t been able to see the episode and was planning to watch it on the Monday (if you’re reading this, please let me know what you thought!!)
After I watched Doctor Who, as you might have guessed, I was a little emotional. So it was obviously the perfect time to call someone from home…! This wasn’t actually intentional, we’d been trying to make phone calls all day but we just happened to get through after Doctor Who. Anyway, we rang one of the youth leaders at church, Nicky, and told her that everything went well and to relay this information to relevant people on Sunday. I’m sure we talked about loads of stuff because I hadn’t seen anyone from outside the hospital for days (except Sonia) – all I can really remember about the call was saying ‘I’m a bit emotional because I just watched Doctor Who’. It’s always nice to hear a familiar voice, and I recommend that you call someone at home from hospital if possible because it puts everything back into perspective. It’s a little bittersweet though as it reminds you of what you’re missing.
It was probably about half 8 by this time so, being a Saturday in September, I may have tuned into X Factor (I remember seeing bits of it during my stay) and then I fell into a broken sleep.
Anyway, join me in my next post to hear about my penultimate day in hospital. Please comment/follow/read more – I’ve added a comments box on the about page so you can use this for any comments or questions and I can get back to you.
By Friday, the boys were all going home, and so I was moved once again, this time to bed space 20. Ella and Charlotte would join me once they were back from surgery. This was much better than 16 because there was a built in TV so I could watch away to my heart’s content. The downside was that I had further to walk to the toilet when the physios came. It was quite late in the day though by the time I’d finally moved I think (my memory must have been massively addled by the drugs!).
Anyway, one of the first things I did was, you’ve probably guessed already, watch the TV. And it was great; the previous week’s Doctor Who (The Power of Three) was on repeat! I think there was a shift change during the episode but I was not being moved away from that screen, finally I’d found something good to occupy me. Next on was Miranda on repeat, which I had never seen before, but unfortunately they did want me to get out of bed by that point, so I only managed to see the second half of that episode.
Miranda was definitely a bit of a lifesaver during my stay – not only did we get to watch that episode, but we’d also downloaded her free book ‘No It’s Us Too’ onto my mum’s Kindle. When you think about it, the book isn’t actually by her, but contains a number of anecdotes about people doing silly things – you can probably still get it for free on Amazon and other e-book stores. Anyway, it was nice and cheery and kept my spirits up.
Compared to Thursday night, Friday night was a breeze, although I was having trouble with the medication side of things – after the vomiting started, they decided it would be best not to give me tablets (correct answer!) so I was having some lovely syringes (big ones) of blackcurrant-y flavoured diclofenac, and strawberry flavoured Calpol (which I didn’t realise at the time). This did require me to sit up though, which was a bit of a challenge, and I tried the patience of the nurses in my slow manner of getting upright enough!
The other issue was that I was finding it hard to lie on my right hand side (which is how I usually sleep) so had to resort to lying flat or on my left hand side, which was less comfortable. I can’t remember why I had such a problem sleeping in my normal position but I guess it might have been to do with my arm going a bit weird or maybe just my nerves.
Anyway, I’ll continue my story soon, but for now just like/follow/comment etc.