Let me pick up where we left off, back in October 2012…
To recap, my beloved Pearl had been taken ill on the roads
of central London sparking a rescue mission by a lovely bunch of strangers. Due
to the kindness of my new friends, Pearl and I made it home safely and the next
day, Pearl’s supplier was phoned to see if a Scooter Engineer could come and
diagnose her mystery illness. He arrived on Saturday morning (£87.50 callout
charge – OUCH!!) and, following some tests, declared that he had “no idea”,
referring Pearl to a specialist Scooter workshop to see if she could be fixed.
With Pearl out of action, I was relying heavily on my trusty
car and my even trustier friends who were willing to heave, push, shove and
lift not just me, but my shopping and various other bits and bobs. They quickly
became adept at assembling my wheelchair with one friend exclaiming “it’s like
a formula one pit stop!” (only she wasn’t as fast……).
All seemed to tick along nicely for a couple of weeks and we
appeared to be on an even keel. Pearl
was still out of action, with the Scooter Engineer trying to suss out what was
wrong with her, and my foot (which you might remember was in plaster) appeared
to be healing nicely. Whilst it was incredibly awkward not having Pearl, my friends
and I were making it work (Cheese alert: I just can’t thank them enough).
Unfortunately things were about to become a bit more
interesting. I started to feel rough but battled on for a day or so, thinking
that it was the tail end of an infection that I had previously had - but how
wrong was I? That Saturday evening I decided that the best thing to do was to
visit my local A&E to get a course of oral antibiotics. Now this felt over-dramatic
to me, but the parents were away for the weekend so TLC at home was out of the
question and it would be the out-of-hours service anyway, so off I pootled down
to A&E. Here I discovered that I was apparently NOT being a drama queen… After only a twenty minute wait I was called
in by the triaging GP who agreed that my symptoms were due to a previous
infection but did NOT agree with my proposed treatment plan of oral antibiotics.
Claiming that I looked “rather poorly”, he took my observations and looking
rather surprised, turned to me and said “you’re the most smiley, seriously
unwell person I have ever met” - an accolade I received with pride! It was off
to Resusc immediately as apparently a temperature of 41°C, a heart rate of 177 and a blood pressure of 90/60 are
not good statistics to have. In short, I
had developed a massive kidney infection and had developed sepsis. Oops!!
I then spent a joyous two-night sleepover in the NHS’
equivalent of a hotel (central London, nice view from the 14th
floor) whilst I received IV antibiotics and IV fluids (for your information -
the ‘room service’ food wasn’t quite up to the standard of the Ritz) and was
helped along the road to recovery by some incredibly caring and funny staff. Unfortunately for Dad, this particular hotel
didn’t have a car park and he was less than impressed to get a £60 penalty
while coming to visit.
Lesson #5 of life with
Emily: There is no such thing as an even keel.
After two weeks of Doctor enforced recovery at “home” home
with my parents, I was ready to return to London WITH A WORKING PEARL! The Scooter Engineer was still clueless but
Daddy Steward had a chat with the owner of the Mobility Centre in Cromer (where
mobility scooters outnumber seagulls) who instantly diagnosed a severe case of
dodgy batteries, recommended immediate transplantation and provided the
necessary organs. After some rigorous testing by Daddy Steward - involving a 58
year old man whizzing around the block for hours on a scooter barely big enough
for his rugby playing frame (“his fat arse” according to Mummy Steward) – and generating
much comment from intrigued neighbours, Pearl and I were good to go.
We were delighted to be reunited and resumed our adventures back
in London where we whizzed around to our hearts content having many an
adventure to and from lectures, perusing the aisles of Waitrose during lunch
hours and the joys of the Kings Cross shopping mall every so often. Back to normal at last.
So whilst all that had been going on, I’d been making weekly
trips to see my surgeon for a plaster change and wound check (NHS frequent
flier miles were piling up!) as you may remember that I had a pressure sore on
my right foot? Everyone seemed happy with my progress until we hit the very end
of October and things got interesting once more.
My foot and ankle had swollen dramatically and a deeper
probe revealed it hadn’t been healing properly under the scab. It had become
infected and was generally rather “gungy” to use my Consultant’s favourite technical
adjective. So it was yet another course of antibiotics, an MRI, and a “come
back in a week”. A week later he gave the
news that he needed to operate to debride the wound and remove a bit of
prominent bone under the big toe joint. He said the incision would be small and
it would allow the wound to heal better. That was Tuesday – “come back on
Friday” he says cheerfully. Now I don’t know what you think a small incision
looks like but punching a hole as big as a 50p piece right down to the big toe joint
doesn’t fit my idea of small. He took part of the tendon as well, telling me
that I didn’t really need it!
Fortunately all the faff and hassle has been worth it and
has speeded up the healing process dramatically. Six weeks after surgery and
thirteen weeks after first being put into a cast, I was free from plaster just
in time for Christmas. Best present ever!! It’s still healing well as I write,
but there is a way to go yet.
All in all, it’s been an eventful few months. I have nothing
but positive things to say about my care. It really has been exemplary.
Lesson #6 of life with
Emily: We moan a lot about the NHS, but it really is a privilege we take for
granted despite all of its faults.
I have been blown away by the kindness, generosity and
concern which has been shown to me by friends, family and complete strangers
and am pleased to say that what had the potential to be one of the most
difficult periods of life turned out to be one I can look back on and say:
Lesson #7 of life with
Emily: The world is not a bad place to be.