Saturday, 16 January 2016


"Well, I was playing the clarinet, the phone rang, I jumped, and..."
My daughter's interesting interior.
I have a new favourite person.

It doesn’t take much for someone to get into my good books. Cake and alcohol usually works, although a new abstemious regime for 2016 means other ways are now needed to win my heart.

My new love is one of the back specialists at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, in Stanmore, and he wooed me with his words. Or more specifically, the words he used when he talked to my daughter, after she walked into her consultant appointment yesterday to discover he was a different doctor to the one she was expecting, and began to gently lose the plot.

This chap immediately ignored me, and talked directly to my girl, explaining how he was on the same team as her usual doctor, who he’d be working very closely with. Over the course of several minutes, in a calm, simple, and non-patronising manner - and without any prompting from me - he talked her down.

One of the offenders (left hand bolt)
He then explained to us both and showed us on the computer screen exactly what was going on with her back, answered my questions, answered her slightly more random questions, soothed her anxiety a few more times, and most importantly gave us both his full attention, respect and time.

For the first time I could properly see and understand how some bolts anchoring the titanium rods that helped her spine fuse in a straightened position eight years ago are pressing against the ‘membrane’ which protects the spinal cord. That’s what’s causing pain, and that’s why they need to be removed.

As I suspected (gggrrrrr!), the results of the SPECT scan (carried out a a different hospital a few days before) weren’t yet in, but my new best friend told us that he’d be surprised if they showed anything that could be behind my daughter’s discomfort.

“So, I'm going to tell you what will happen now,” he said, again addressing my girl, who returned his gaze solemnly. 

He broke his explanation down into short sentences, pausing between each to check if she'd taken things in:

“I think before very long we will be sorting out this operation for you."
"I know you were supposed to have it before and our plans changed, so I'm sorry about that."
"I cannot say yet that you will DEFINITELY have the op, which I know you would like me to."
"But don’t worry - your mum will be able to call us when the scans come in."
"And after we’ve had a special meeting all about you, we can tell you what will happen."
"We’ll do that as soon as we can."
“And you need to know that your spine has fused so well that you will stay lovely and straight if we take the metal out.”

And then the killer finish.

“You don’t need to worry. I know it’s hard, but will you try?”

She gave her biggest, most forceful nod.

It wasn't the black and white decision she needed. But it was a damn fine interim explanation.

We both shook his hand as we left. I was this close to kissing him. 

Song is Frankie Beverly & The Butlers - She Tried To Kiss Me

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