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1st day into reality…April 2006

Leaving Intensive Care was traumatic in itself, but when you had been prepared to go to a brain injury ward and even had a tour around in that ward, being told an hour before you go there that you are now going to a toddler ward made us feel very uneasy. CT Ward (Commercial Travellers Ward) was a ward that covers all aspects of the brain, ranging from tumours of the brain, spinal cord, aquired brain injury, traumatic brain injury, spina bifida, brain injury from birth, seizures (epilepsy) for example. We were told how wonderful the ward was and that they are used to seeing survivors of drownings, so our apprehension of going to the CT Ward was lessened.

Instead we went to Hunter Baillie Ward (HB) which back then was mainly for toddlers of really any type of illness. I was so worried Samuel would be forgotten about being down there, but there was nothing I could do about it. We were wheeled into HB and was at the reception desk awaiting a nurse to tell the Bed Porter which room Samuel was going to be in. I noticed how young and vibrant, full of energy these nurses were, I hoped they were friendly and caring towards Samuel.

Within seconds we were ushered down the ward corridor into a large 4 bedded room. There were no doors on the room, for some reason I needed doors on the room. Maybe it was noise overload, maybe it was protection or maybe I felt Samuel was too exposed, people could see him and stare, I hated people staring at him. Its any wonder people stared with how bad his spasms were and the horrible noises he made with the spasms.

I met a couple of the Nurses when Samuel was due for different things. At that early stage we were not up to date with medications or even feeds. I just felt helpless, out of my comfort zone, still in shock, still waiting for Samuel to just wake up and talk and try to get out of bed. He needed to eat he hadnt eaten in Intensive Care, he was only fed through his Nasal Gastric Tube and being fed Pediasure, a type of milk. Why cant I feed him, Im his Mummy its my job to look after him and feed him, he was such a huge eater just 10 days ago.

There were 3 other people in our room. Accross from us was a mother talking but nearly shouting down her phone telling her friend what an awful night she had had as there were so many alarms beeping and kids crying keeping her awake and that she had to wait another 2 more hours before she was going to be discharged, she was saying “Its been the longest 18 hours of my life”. I kept thinking of how lucky she was. Next to us at the window was a man and his little girl, she was a tiny little thing, with masses of blonde hair, so thick and long her father would brush it tenderly and put it into 2 ponytails. I knew there was something wrong with her, some sort of disability, but I didnt know what. She seemed very familiar to the Nurses, I thought she must have been one of the Nurses Kids and that was why the father was there alone. I cant recall who was in the bed diagonally from us. The little girl and her father had all my attention, he was so attentative towards his little girl. It was really nice to see.

I had noticed going down the corridor to our room, a gorgeous little boy who was very young, about 10 months old. He was all alone in what I thought was an isolation room. He had big round eyes and a big bulging tummy with very skinny arms and legs. I thought he looked like a starving African Baby that the world vision has ads for. He was adorable, he was hooked up to a few machines, he was lying on his back drinking from his bottle with 1 leg put up onto the sides of his cot. I wish I could talk to him, I miss talking to my little boy. He was all alone, I felt all alone. He watched me walk passed him, he smiled at me still with his bottle in his mouth. I instantly felt a connection with him.

The next day the little boys mum came to visit him, she had balloons, cake, presents, and lots of children with her. She dressed the little boys room with party streamers and the balloons. It was his bithday he was turning 1 today all the kids that were with her were very familiar with the Hospital and the Staff. The Nurses even joined in on the party, he must be another Nurses son I thought. His mum came in our room with cake for us and the dad and his little girl, who was she, she was very friendly and told me her sons name was Lleyton. Then the next minute she was gone, it was like a whirl wind. The little boy was gone also but his presents were still there.

The little girl in my room was given a bath by her Dad, he seemed to cope very well with his Daughter, I didnt mean to stare but I was compelled to. He didnt even notice my staring thankfully, I was doing exactly what I didnt want people to do to my son. In walks a woman with a hippyish laid back air about her with 2 children, she was the little girls mum. They were 2 loving parents and the little girls big brother and sister started climbing on her bed with her, it was so sweet. The little girls name was Harmony.

We were then whisked away to another room not sure why but at least it had a door and we were right next to a window. There were only 1 other bed in this room which was being occupied by a tiny little week old baby named Mohammed. His parents were Muslim, a very nice friendly couple. We shared the room together for about 10 days and thankfully they only came for a few hours a day which meant that Michael and I could talk and have a bit of privacy to grieve or argue and come to terms with our situation.

I had no idea that that room would become our home for the next 3 and a half months. The therapies and treatments and the amount of Doctors that would swoop upon us in that time. Harmony and Lleyton evolved into a big part of my life that has changed me forever, and I am thankful to their families and their friendships.

The next few posts will be a catch up of this year so far then I will be back to discuss the reat of our 1st month of Samuels and our Journey into our new lives.

Thank you for reading my blogg.

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Jo-ann XXX