Laura’s visit

>I have been to visit Tom at Stoke Mandeville several times, usually with Raj, however yesterday we also took Kam Sohi and Kirstin Maguire (friends from Brunel) who had not seen Tom since his accident. Everytime I see Tom he has made improvements, and I continue to be amazed by his progress, yesterday was no exception.  When we arrived, around lunchtime, Tom was not yet out of bed (provoking many jokes about laziness!) but he soon encouraged the nurses to get him up and in to his wheelchair. Due to a recent complication, Tom is now back wearing his neck brace which he was whinging about as it isn’t very comfortable, it was also very humid on Sunday so he complained it was too hot.
>When Tom was in his wheelchair, he fainted which was slightly terrifying! The nurses were wonderful at bringing him quickly back round and checking it wouldn’t happen again. Raj explains this better than me,
>“Tom’s fainting was like when you or I stand up too quickly and we get a head rush, except where our heart increases blood pressure and we feel light headed (the blood goes to our head and we get extra oxygen in the brain) Tom’s body doesn’t give him that head rush. In fact he doesn’t get any rush, and without the rush (the blood pressure had dropped) he fainted (with his eyes open which was scary). The nurses tipped him back and lifted his legs to get the blood out of his legs and into his head, like what our body does for us during a head rush”
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>After the nurses brought him round, he felt slightly hazy but soon explained that that often happens. I told him that he scared us and he cheekily replied, “Have to do that again then”.  (This is quite normal morning behaviour for Tom and is nothing to be concerned about.)

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>We went outside in a brief sunny period and talked about Raj’s system of rating people (ha!), and Kirstin’s extreme reaction to geeks before trying to track down some lunch. One of the wonderful things about going to Stoke Mandeville hospital is witnessing lots of people in a similar situation to Tom just getting on with their lives and, for the want of a better word, acting ‘normally’. Tom has met and become friendly with many people around the hospital including a young guy we bumped in to who said the underused phrase of “Top banana”.
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>We eventually settled for lunch in Jimmys cafe and watched a large part of the Eastenders omnibus (almost sending us all in to a deep snooze) whilst eating far too many sweets, crisps and ice-cream. An enormous thunder storm kicked off and we watched it from the safety of the dry hospital! Els came back to the hospital and joined us for an unnecessarily lengthy conversation about Twister ice-lollies (don’t ask).  We discussed plans for upcoming Laurafest ( <http://www.myspace.com/laurafest> www.myspace.com/laurafest) and Els and Tom told us all about ‘777’, which sounds like a lot of fun. We all pikeyed grapes, Bombay mix and apple juice off Tom. Raj force fed Tom grapes for a bit which he didn’t seem to enjoy, whilst Kam and Kirstin contemplated befriending a fellow ‘Essex’ on the ward.
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>It was lovely to spend so much of the day with both Tom and Ellen, hopefully our ridiculous conversations helped take Tom’s mind off his discomfort if only temporarily.

Laura Street

3 thoughts on “Laura’s visit”

  1. Dear Tom
    You really do like frightening people !
    Even for a nurse to witness somebody fainting or “un malaise vagal” is always quite scarry! You can even have what looks like an epileptic fit !)
    Having worked with the blood transfusion centre in France for 5 months and over 5 years experience int he medical service (Ch̢teau de Versailles Рuntil June last year) I have seen many and looked after countless number of touristes etc.
    To reassure non-medical friends and for further info. may I suggest Google – Wikipedia:see fainting for the English or Wikipédia”malaise vagal” for your French well wishes !
    To exclude a low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) a simple prick on the tip of the finger and a small apparatus used by diabetics gives you the diagnostic under a minute! Breakfast must never be missed and adequate fluid in-take is very important in the summer.

    Lesson over ! Marie

  2. Dear Tom,

    Well; seeing as very few fans and friends have commented on this only too believable description of the kind of problems (‘issues’) you face as you seize every day right now, please let me post what I hope is a positive comment.

    This is that Susie and I went to HSBC Summertown yesterday morning and created a ‘communities-style’ bank account for the Pavillion Trust Fund. This will collect the results of all the fundraising ideas people
    have to help you (and others) get a place you like in which to live a full and interesting life.

    I expect that the ‘detailed details’ (e.g. the account number and address; and the details of the Alpine mountain climbing adventure your wellwishers might be able to sponsor) will also be posted on this website soon. Anyway things are moving.

    And the house at Standlake is, I believe, well sandbagged…
    It never rains but it pours.
    I took my car to be serviced down by Folly Bridge this morning and – my goodness – water was moving..

    I don’t want to try to imagine the pain your neck will be causing you; but I hope there’s a date for the operation and then light at the end of this particular tunnel.

    Much love to you and all around you,
    Barbara
    and co
    at 36 Victoria Road.

  3. Dear Tom

    I’m sure you can’t wait to get your neck brace off. I’m looking forward to reading the post saying you’ve had your successful operation and are back on track. Poor you, I’m sure it gets hot and uncomfortable. And when the weather’s not too hot, there’s a risk of your family getting flooded by the rain! Nightmare. I hope Michael is still dry at The Limes and Susie is not under water.

    Love
    Your cousin Zoe

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