Thursday, 8 November 2007

08Nov07 - LGI Revisited

We returned to Leeds General Infirmary today for the first time since 11th July 2004 when Lucy was transferred back to Dewsbury Hospital. Lucy had an appointment with an Orthopaedic specialist to check on developments with her hips. Dawn felt it first but walking towards the hospital entrance was uncomfortable for both of us. We had done this day after day after day with Lucy lying unconscious and seriously ill in the childrens intensive care unit. It was like travelling back in time, the same long empty, impersonal corridors, the same hospital smells and sounds. I thought of the children upstairs and their parents just starting their journey into the unknown. As we passed the MRI unit I thought of waiting for Lucy's results and then being told in the "quiet room" that our daughter had cerebral palsy, was quadriplegic, had severe developmental problems and probably would never walk or talk.

By the time we had found our way to the childrens' outpatients clinic we were both feeling a bit low and then we were met by a room packed full of very well looking children and parents waiting for their appointments. We both looked at each other and thought the same thing, "Oh no, this is just what we need!". After scanning the room I discovered we were not the only non-mainstream family and once we found a quiet corner to sit in it was actually fine. We didn't have to wait too long before they sent us off to get Lucy's hips x-rayed. Probably due to her high muscle tone, Lucy's hips have gradually come away from their sockets and are now permanently dislocated. The x-ray was to check how this had developed in the last year as some of Lucy's physiotherapists were concerned that she may be suffering some discomfort. Lucy was very good for the x-ray and the radiologist managed to get the shot first time.The x-ray really just confirmed what we already knew, that both hips are out and the hip sockets have not formed correctly as a result. The Orthopaedic specialist we saw was a man called Peter Templeton. I would not normally put someones name here but he was absolutely brilliant. He treated us with a sensitivity that I have not experienced before from consultants and specialists in his position and he showed real compassion in the way he offered information and advice. We had already come to our own decision that the only reason to put Lucy through major surgery would be if she was sufferring pain in her hips or became difficult to deal with if she stiffened up too much. He agreed with us explaining that to reconstruct both sockets and reconnect the hips would involve two lots of major surgery and the benefit would not really be worth it. Firstly it is very unlikely that Lucy will walk and secondly the hips would probably just work their way out again. So we left it that he will review her in eighteen months and we will only think about surgery if Lucy starts to experience a lot of discomfort and pain.

After it was all over I was very glad to get back in the car and drive away with Lucy in the car. I didn't have to leave her behind today and it felt great.

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