There is a fold down parent bed beside each child’s bed in Ward G3 in Southampton Hospital. Ward G3 Children’s Orthopedics in Southampton is where I spent five days last week.
My daughter Raven had elective surgery on her back. Raven had Idiopathic Scoliosis, which basically means a curved spine. She had a five hour operation that with the help of metal rods straightened her spine.
For me it was nine days without work. Nine days not cooking for anyone. Sitting beside my daughter’s bed I had plenty of time for reflection.It was sixteen years one month and twenty seven days since Raven was a brand new baby. She was born in Poole hospital. I remembered the overwhelming feeling of love I had for this small person I had just met.
Now here we were again in a hospital. Raven so much longer and taller and what adventures we have already had together. Sitting beside her it seemed as if only moments had passed since she was born. Nothing has changed except that I love her more and feel just as vulnerable and powerless when I cant stop things from hurting her.
I learned that Doctors are absolutely amazing, and clever, and brilliant, and almost magical in the things that they can do, but Nurses have something else indeed. Something incredibly special, the kindness, compassion, warmth, and empathy that was shown to my daughter amazed me. Lou, Hattie, Rachel, and Nicki are just a few of the nurses that work for the NHS in ward G3 in Southampton. For five days they were Raven’s nurses. They are people we will remember for a long time.
The doctors fixed Ravens back, but it was these amazing nurses that were there to administer pain- relief and medication.They observed, comforted, re-assured, and ultimately start the journey of healing my daughter.
I learned that we are all stronger than we know.Sleeping on a pull out bed on a floor in the dark listening to machines beep, in a ward full of children that are ill and in pain, makes you count your blessings, over and over and over again. Especially when you know your own child will be well soon.
I was reminded of how important my daughters tribe or peers were to us. One by one they arrived by train and bus to come and sit by her side. When they were there she laughed so much more and seemed more herself. I also appreciated the hugs and the kindness they gave me as I picked them up from reception.
I was reminded of how lovely it is to have my daughter crying about normal things. On Friday morning she started crying about not being able to see her boyfriend until Monday. It was only a few nights before she had been waking at night crying in pain and I had been powerless to do anything but hold her hand.
I learned how important morphine is and what a difference it makes to pain relief. It made my heart break to think of the children in Syria and other countries without access to pain relief and kindness.
It is now ten days after the Operation, we have just been to see the nurse at our local G.P surgery. Raven had her dressing and sterile-strips removed the wound is healing well. My daughter was able to walk the 15 minute walk to the doctors and back. What a miracle modern medicine is and how lucky we are to have assess to it.
Thank you Thank you Southampton General Hospital and Thank you N.H.S.