Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Christopher's Story Pt 2

If you haven't read part one then you really should as the rest will mean so much more.
Gary Johannes

Christopher's Story Pt 2

I came round after my operation with a gas mask on my face, pipes and tubes coming off me here there and everywhere. The memories are vague because I was drugged up to my eyeballs on medication. What I can remember and have been told is that I slapped my brother round the face and tried to kiss my sister, which we still laugh about today. I remember I had a drip of morphine all day with a button on it that I was told to press any time I was in pain, well I may as well have had my finger stuck to that button because there wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t in pain. The surgeon came round to speak to me about what they had done and what was to happen next. She told me that she had seen the damage first hand and it’s very unlikely that I will ever walk again, this was the second doctor that had told me that but I still said that they were wrong.

That day was one of the hardest. I was now allowed to sit up and move around and I was never comfortable. I was in so much pain; every little thing wound me up. I must have been a horrible person to be with but my dad never left me, his jokes really weren’t funny, but that was nothing new as we still say today he’s as funny as a broken back.

The next day the nurses came round with morning medication, well I had four tablets and an injection in my leg. The tablets consisted of an antibiotic, two steroids, and a laxative, this was because I hadn’t been to the toilet since I had broke my back and this was four days ago now. The injection was to thin my blood to prevent blood clots, I even got to wash it all down with more laxatives that tasted horrid. The next people to come round were the doctors to see how I was doing, nothing had changed still uncomfortable didn’t sleep and the tube in my back really gets on my nerves. Then the hospital teacher came round, I told her that my GCSE’s were coming up so revising is the best thing I could be doing, but I was given some work that was for primary school children I wasn’t impressed.

One thing I wanted desperately was a shower but I had to stay in bed. Everyone came to see me every day, at one point I had most of my family there, they had come from all over to see me. I was getting more and more unhappy there was no sign of feeling or movement; my stress levels are getting worse everyday. Everyone is trying to help me but I don’t want them to, I will do it myself and if a cant then I’ll keep trying until I can. All these things started getting to me so during one of my sleepless nights I started to doubt that I would walk ever again, my eyes started to well up and I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. I got myself together and said to myself, if I ever want to walk out of here then I have to keep strong and focused.

I woke up with more determination than ever, but still uncomfortable getting really frustrated with having to lift my legs to get them in the right place my arms were getting very tired. I threw myself around so much I pulled the pipe out of my back that was draining any fluid away but the doctors said it wasn’t a problem. The doctors decided it was time to start my physiotherapy. The physiotherapist came round and lifted me out of bed and stood me up. This was the first time my feet touched the ground for a week now, however I still haven’t been to the toilet so as you can imagine I was really getting sick of the laxative every morning. I was in the worst mood that you can think of but my dad was still there even though I was taking it all out on him. To top it all off he had to fill in for the physiotherapists because they all were off for Easter, even though they had said that with out the physiotherapy I would suffer.

The physiotherapist then gave me a wheelchair and showed me how to get in and out using this plastic yellow board, so I had some freedom now but I was only allowed of the ward if I was with someone. The wheelchair was difficult to get around in because it was very heavy and uncomfortable. So people had to push me around most of the time, which made me feel like an invalid. When my friends came to visit me it was nice to see some familiar faces although it felt quite embarrassing for them to see me in that state. I could see that they were trying to act normal around me but you could still sense the awkwardness between us. When my family came from all over the country to see me that really showed me how close we truly are. Even my uncle who can’t stand hospitals came from London to see me even though he didn’t come in but the thought was still there. Having my family there was an uplift for me, as they didn’t treat me like I was in a hospital bed. However I do think they were being a bit nicer to me because I threw a grape at my uncle and it got stuck in his ear, usually he would have done something a lot worse back. Ten days after the accident and guess what…I finally went to the toilet and felt a stone lighter.

The physiotherapist came round for another session she lifted me off of the bed, as my feet touched the floor I instantly felt the coldness of the floor. I said to my mum “the floor is cold isn’t it” and that bought tears to her eyes and a great sense of achievement in myself. A couple of days later I was told that I was to be moved to a different hospital called Stoke Mandeville because they had a specialist spinal unit there. This was a relief, as I could not wait to get out of Addenbrooke’s. I was due to move the next day so all my stuff was ready to go, nobody came to see me because we didn’t know what time I was leaving. The next day I was told I would have to wait a couple more days before moving this overwhelmed me and sent me into floods of tears.

A couple of days later I travelled by an ambulance all the way to Stoke Mandeville which was all the way in Buckinghamshire so it was a long journey, I slept most of the way. As the ambulance doors opened I didn’t know what to expect after the traumatising time spent in Addenbrooke’s. I was very nervous. On first impressions it did not look like a hospital at all, I then went up the lift to some hospital wards with my mum and dad they stayed with me for a while. At this point my catheter had been removed however, I never got much warning before needing to go so every time I did it was a big rush to get me something to go in. There was a big commotion about whether or not I was to be placed on the adult or children’s ward. Because my consultant felt I was too mature to be placed on a children’s ward, and the head of the children’s ward stated that it was against the law for me to do otherwise. While they discussed this matter I was kept on one of the adult wards but my dad had to stay with me over night. My dad then took my mum home and came back to stay with me, which was a four-hour round trip. By the time he got back I was asleep and they put him in a different room anyway, so not a good start for Stoke Mandeville.

The next morning it was decided I was to be admitted to the children’s ward which was called Saint Francis Ward. When I got there a nurse called Sara who was the deputy of the ward greeted me. The attitude that came across from all of the nurses on this ward was unlike any other’s I had encountered before. I was also thrilled to know I had my own room! I also got a new wheelchair, which felt like pushing air compared to the one I had before, I was also shown how to use it properly. But before I was allowed to be set loose on it my consultant Dr. Jamouse decided I would need a body brace to keep me stable until my back had healed. With my back brace on and my new wheels I was ready to face the world. My new environment gave me the motivation I needed. Within a couple of days of being there it was almost like being at this new hospital allowed me to start my journey to being able to walk again. After days and days of trying I was looking down at my toes and they started to move, I realized it was me making them move. It was such a small movement you probably wouldn’t notice, but it was movement none the less and that’s all I needed. It was time for me to meet my new physiotherapist; I was excited, as I had been told all about the specialist equipment. I hoped that this would be much better than it was at Addenbrookes………..


Part 3 soon


  1. Truly an inspiration that someone so young could have so much determination to succeed, well done Chris

  2. Amazing tale of courage and determination. Good luck with the cycle ride.

  3. Renae McCalla-Kay22 March 2010 at 09:05

    You are such an inspiration Chris, I have goosebumps throughout reading parts of your journey. I'm looking forward to part 3.

  4. Really brilliant to read. I admire your courage and conviction so far!
    I know Stoke Mandeville hospital - my mum was there for 4 months. She had an abcess on her spine and was told she would never walk again. However, my mum, like you was determined and managed walk a few steps again with a zimmer frame by the time she left there.
    I believe in you Christopher, and I believe in Stoke Mandeville. Looking forward to part 3.

  5. Thanks for sharing the original link. It is really a lovely story.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Keep posting.

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