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Cutting my hair off… (Part 2)

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/.

My hair, 4th April 2016

My hair, 4th April 2016

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Summer Ball 2015

At the time this post is published it will be exactly three months since Summer Ball. Yes, three months. I did mean to write this earlier, but bam, three months just swept by. So yes, Royal Holloway Summer Ball 2015, what shall I say? Well, the best way to describe the whole experience is to describe the day and the different things that happened. I woke up pretty late and then rang the NHS Help With Health Costs helpline to try and sort out my HC1 form (a long story!), which led to me almost crying at them down the phone. But after that minor setback I got properly dressed and fed and did a number of other odd jobs, chatted to flatmates and just generally pottered. After lunch we headed over to the Student Union to collect our wristbands in advance, complete with tickets and college cards as directed. What we had not been told is that we would also need our ID, despite the letter stipulating ID for guests not actual students. The three of us who didn’t have ID went back to our relevant flats to pick it up, as well as grabbing the granny shopping trolley for our trip to Egham (at this point we didn’t want to go home AGAIN so we just grabbed everything). We queued up again, which wasn’t too bad in the end, collected our wristbands and I got a new HC1 form from the Advice and Support Centre. The four of us then headed down to town to buy things like hairspray, a bag and dress tape (the latter was not available). It was very humid so we took a break in Costa before walking up the hill.

The many drinks and snacks in Costa

The many drinks and snacks in Costa

Back in the flat I then got some food – early enough to go down before we left but enough to keep me going for a fair few hours. Chicken dippers, chips and peas consumed, it was then time to start preparing for Summer Ball. I did my nails, had a shower and then Corrie got started on my hair as I decided it would be futile even attempting to curl it myself. Hair curled and sprayed it was approaching 6:30 and it was time to skype Bean! I felt quite bad for her because we were all trying to get ready while also catching up with her, but I hope she appreciated seeing us. Also during this portion of the day was the surprised gasps at how much George surpassed our expectations with his suit and the wows I was very pleased to get when I appeared in my dress. A word on my dress. It was purple, full length and figure hugging. Thanks to my operation I have a lovely figure but I do also have a scar. My dress was not low at the back but it didn’t quite cover the top of my scar. It was however a multiway dress and wearing it as a halterneck meant that there were long stretches of fabric running down the centre of my back anyway. But even so it was a bit of a test. More on this to follow… Once we were all made up and dressed in our dresses (and suit), we headed over to another flat for the predrinks we had been invited to. We actually really only knew one person there but everyone was nice and we got to sit down for a bit and take photos.

Summer Ball ready!

Summer Ball ready!

Just before 8pm we were ready to head up to Founders for the main event. We were almost the first there and I was definitely within the first ten to get in. The atmosphere therefore was a bit quiet but it was really lovely to be together as friends and actually be able to hear and see each other! Plus we got our free Bucks fizz, no queues and chatted to Sam working in the Pimms tent. The others went on the fairground rides, something that I both hate and avoid because of my back, so I was drinks holder but that was OK with me, especially once a few of them decided not to go on ALL the rides.

By this point the music had started, and local band Cardboard City were really good. Part way through their set we tried to get our free Dominos and then ended up queuing for an hour – only for two slices of pizza! But the queue was good natured, although we were absolutely freezing. It was in this queue that Corrie said something to me that I really wanted to share, about how I was brave to wear the dress because of the tip of my scar being on show. I was also comfortable enough for her to sort the slightly falling down back of my dress (I’ve previously blogged about my scar – find the link on the clothes page above!)

By this point we were really really cold and George’s jacket was being passed around between all of us. We headed inside to sit down in the warm and then popped out again to see Katy B. It was at this point that we discovered the hidden gem of Crosslands, serving tea and coffee and water and, most importantly, warmth! We chilled in there for about an hour and by 1am we were ready to head home – with a view to return when re-entry opened at 3am.

Once home we got jumpers and food and turned on Into The Woods in George’s room (aka the only one that was tidy). We reached Giants in the Sky and were chucked out of his room, as the others we were with had also decided to come back and not return. Me and Corrie went for a nap and were going to reconvene at around half 3. However, by that point I was exhausted and Corrie was unresponsive, so I got ready for bed and slept. Corrie actually went back in the end, and she said it was great, and I did feel a bit like I was missing out, but then I had plans the next day and staying up until 6am would probably have ruined those.

So, all in all, it was a good night, but I think it was the people, the dressing up and the venue that made it good, rather than the actual Summer Ball activities. Whether I will return next year I am undecided, but it will certainly be an opportunity I will try to take in third year!

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Bed Space 16 – Thursday 27th September 2012

Bed space 16 does not hold happy memories for me, which is sad because I love the number 16!

Soon after moving into my new area, the two girls having operations the next day were arriving – Ella (from Westminster) and Charlotte (from Dartford). They were lovely and I wish that I met them in better circumstances, or even been able to stay in touch – although we had different operations, it would’ve been nice to see how they were getting on, and maybe if you’re reading this girls, get in touch!!

Spending all day in bed makes it really difficult to remember what happened and what the sequence of events was, so I am going to try my best to describe things in the order I think they happened.

Sonia visits: My mum’s ex-colleague Sonia popped up to the ward, mainly to see my mum because I wouldn’t let her leave my side. Apart from that I can’t remember a thing about what she said to me, although she most likely said get well soon.

Thursday Evening: The over-bed television had been cruelly taken from me (because of moving beds) but they acquired a bright and colourful TV, which was larger than the others, but had the downside of being the only one, so we all had to watch the same thing. That didn’t massively bother me though, because I got to choose, being the illest, longest-standing person on the ward, and the one who asked for the TV in the first place. So, we watched You’ve Been Framed at about 7.30, which Ella and I found extremely funny (Charlotte was on the other side of the section and was busy doing her hair, so I don’t know what her reaction was). We then moved on to Waterloo Road at 8 (well, probably 5 to because I was anxious about missing the beginning!), but don’t ask me what the plot was! At some point, we also managed to catch some sort of news – it might have been proper news or maybe just a news update – and it was about the girl who ran off to France with her teacher, which I hadn’t heard about before because of being in my little hospital bubble. In turns out that nurse Kelly, who was on shift at the time, has a brother who was the headmaster (or something) of the school that they ran away from, so he was having a pretty stressful time!

The Night: OK, this was probably my lowest point in the whole hospital stay. I must start be apologising to Ami, firstly for probably spelling her name wrong, and secondly because she had to deal with me being massively ill. I really can’t remember much about this night but basically I was suffering from constipation, from the morphine, mixed with pain, and I had started being sick quite a lot. Luckily there was a vast supply of sick bowls, but my stomach had also extended, being full of air as well as normal stuff, and I looked pregnant. Because of being sick, I didn’t want to eat anything, which meant that the problems were not going away. I should probably also apologise to Ella and Charlotte for being such a disruptive and groany sleeper, because I wasn’t really promoting good health post operation!

Because of all these problems, it was decided that a doctor should come and have a look at me. I ended up with a quite newly qualified woman (we think) who woke me up in the middle of the night (that what it felt like anyway!) to do a finger-prick blood test, or actually two because my blood clotted a bit fast. I didn’t really mind this as it only really felt like someone has stapled my finger, and what I remember is just a whole load of people crowding round my bed. They ordered an X-ray for the following day and left me to my restless sleep.

I will end it there for now, on a cliffhanger I guess! Hopefully I won’t leave you waiting too long for the answers! Please like/comment/follow etc!

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The Day Before: Part 3 – Evening

This is a continuation of the previous 2 posts about being admitted to hospital, please see below before reading or follow these links:

https://afterscoliosis.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/the-day-before-part-1-arrival-and-blood-test-25th-september-2012/ – Part 1

https://afterscoliosis.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/the-day-before-part-2-meeting-and-waiting-25th-september-2012/ – Part 2

By 7pm we had to go back to the ward, because we were told that my surgeon, Mr Lucas, would be round between 7 and 9. We read some of our books – the other benefit of the private room was that the bed for my mum was actually a sofa, so we could sit on that, rather than stealing loads of chairs or having to sit on the bed. I think that soon after 7, I must have had some obs – blood pressure (through the roof!), oxygen sats, heart rate etc. This was where we met Kim, a healthcare apprentice I think, and she was also very lovely and had nice hair. She gave me another hospital band, which she tried to put on my ankle but it was too small, and also a red one which said that I couldn’t have plasters (I’m not allergic, I just hate them!) – unfortunately they became too tight and were cut off the next day.

At 8 o’clock it was time for the Great British Bake Off. There were actually three TVs in the room, but only the over the bed one worked. Because it was after 7, we had to use headphones to listen to the audio, but we were prepared and had bought a 5 way headphone splitter. The one problem was that my dad had forgotten his headphones, so we had to share around, but it still worked! It was sweet dough week, and there were regional buns, doughnuts and something else to create. The week before, John had cut his finger while making a strudel, so it was a double elimination, and this week it was time to say goodbye to Sarah-Jane and Ryan.

However, we didn’t get a chance to properly see the end of the bake off, because Mr Lucas finally made an appearance at around 10 minutes to 9. He went through the risks and benefits of surgery, and explained what would happen etc. To be honest, I can barely remember what he said – seeing him was another confirmation that everything was happening. Once Mr Lucas had been and gone, my dad went off to Gassiot Lodge to bed, and I had a shower.

Now, showering before an operation is a long business, but luckily one benefit of the private room was the private wet room. I wouldn’t be able to wash my hair for a week so I needed to make sure I washed my hair really thoroughly. You also have to use antiseptic wipes on your whole body, but because my operation was on my back, I needed to make sure my back was super clean. That is pretty hard when you can’t see it, but I had some help from my mum, so eventually I was absolutely squeaky clean.

My mum had agreed to plait my hair into two side plaits for me – this would keep it out of the way during the operation, was easy to lie on, and wouldn’t look manky when it hadn’t been washed for a few days. I changed into my new pyjamas, which were quite loose and comfy, and then got into bed. I was very nervous by this point, and the nurses came in to give me a pre-med to help me sleep. This was in tablet form, which I hated because I hate tablets A LOT. However, I washed it down with some Ribena and managed to take it without being sick. I believe this is where I met the nurse called Donna, who did some obs and left me to sleep.

Despite the pre med and the fact that it meant I couldn’t get up for a while because I would just fall over, it was still quite hard to get to sleep. Luckily my mum was on hand to read to me – we’d chosen a small book called ‘Moondial’ by Helen Cresswell, which was written for children but I hadn’t actually read it. I also had three toys – Elizabear (from Build a Bear), French Rabbit (one of my oldest toys, bought at a French Market), and Evelina (brand new, also a rabbit, given to me by the family I babysit for, because I needed a toy which was pink and white, according to their little girl Ivy). Eventually I fell into the land of Nod, and I suppose that my mum did too. When we woke up, it would be operation day.