22 June 2008

St Thomas’s Hospital in London

On the 3rd May 1961, at 1.05am, I was delivered in a breech position (Feet first). Almost immediately the medical team realised I was not breathing, and placed me in an incubator for 3 days. At just 3 days old the hospital instructed that I should be christened. I eventually started breathing by myself, but had to stay in hospital until I was six weeks old, before being allowed home. Significant brain damage was apparent. My development was slow. Because I was unable to hold my head up, I was like a rag doll, having no control over my body. Not being able to suck, I had to be spoon fed, which gave me a lot of wind. The hospital told Mum, I should have been born by Cesarean.

Around the age of 3, I was fitted with a surgical neck support collar. I gradually learnt to hold my head up properly, and became much stronger, and more controlled. I was also having extensive Physiotherapy. I remember crawling a lot to get around. I crawled everywhere indoors, and in the garden. It’s a wonder I have any skin on hands and knees!

I was also born with a severe squint, in my right eye, which was very noticeable in photographs. At age 4, I was admitted to St Thomas’s Hospital, for an operation to have squint corrected. The results of the operation were very good.

The hospital recommended that I attend a local school for Physically Disabled Children. I started school in the nursery when I was age 4. The school had It’s own physiotherapy room, where I attended regular sessions two or three times a week. And had further physiotherapy sessions at a hospital, two nights a week after school. Physiotherapy consisted of balancing and walking exercises. From an early age I walked with a walking frame. I even tried to run at times, but was forever falling over. Throughout my childhood I suffered constant bruised knees and bumps on my head. Once at some ones house, I fell against a wall unit, and cut my head open which required 3 stitches. I also have memories walking around outside our flat using my Silver Cross Twin Dolls Pram. As the pram was heavy, and was quite sturdy.

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