Chart of Life: Part 22.

Author: | Posted on: July 19, 2012

Occasionally when we walk out of the gloom of our darkest hours; it is to a new dawn filled with inspirational possibilities. 

The compression of the spine had instigated motivated Consultants and teams; the aim was clear and even as the sirens and blue lights of the paramedics arrived to take, and transport, the little girl to Great Ormond Street there was the cloud of ambiguity which hung ominously overhead.

It was spelled out in no uncertain terms that the tests and examination as provided and seen over by the Consulting staff; had charted a bleak diagram of paralysis and injury.  The tightly pinned spinal cord was one that had undergone such stress that it was felt there had already been considerable impairment.  The sustained contorted and wounded cord, the contusions internally along with any symptoms would and could more than likely be permanent.  The scans, the only real evidence that the Consultants could go by, told of a vulnerable and fragile state which should already have inflicted more pain than was shown.

As recent events had proven contradictory to the expectations of the Consultants; and as the living and fully mobile girl was there despite what they thought possible… the predictions could only be just medical guesses; and the Doctors decided to hurry as much as possible and with the help of whoever had got the girl so far, operate and take a chance.

It was a moment in a lifetime; a mother’s worst nightmare.  The transport arrived and with a whole team in line the child was put on board.  The hospitals stood vast in their number, all having been visited as the girl prepared, all buildings left in their wakeful living nightmare as they rode on towards the one where the operation would be held.

The hand which had intervened and felt like a life line when they needed it most; it had been assured and secure.  It was almost like a safety belt put on in a turbulent sea.  The list of miracles they had mounted.  The National Convention of neuro-serguons; a collective list of highly talented Consultants had all been able to look at this one girl’s scans and each take on a part of the process in their own hospital.  Having been to Stanmore, to have the Halo brace fitted under General Anesthetic, then back to Surrey Hospital where her own Consultant was based to undergo more tests, it was now on to Great Ormond Street; where another eminent Consultant was waiting and ready to take charge of his part of the line up.  It was like a serious relay only on a more medical and life saving scale.  Each person ready to take on the batton, which for the little girl was herself, and for a while run with her in their point of responsibility – to perform one medical procedure and then pass her on to the next person in the race for life.

The list of hospitals, it read like a rather unsavoury medical directory.  So many staff and medical team had been in contact and with such a list of incidents under their belt, it was hard for the mother and child to feel anything other than lucky for being able to have the quality of attention, and balanced at the same moment on a precipice which neither knew would end well or not.

The halo, it was uncomfortable to wear for sure.  Four sharp metal cadge like bars ran over the whole head and upper chest.  Pins like screws were also drilled into the skull to keep every thing where it should be.  The little girl felt like she had been framed, made to wear the most surreal fashion accessory; with plaster jacket accomplishment and whilst she could feel her own apprehension, it was to the outside extent and purpose that she knew it was a necessary requirement and that in its job it was saving her life. 

Heart beats: when one thinks about the steady beat of a heart or the capacity of love that it can is a contrast to the out of rhythm, heart stopping ride which carried forward one mother and child.  For each the travel to the operating room held a different perspective, the child was she felt part in an unknown and daunting mission to save her life; and the mother, she was holding on to her heart as her one and only child was destined to be taken out of her hands and for a few hours be left to the responsibility of someone other than herself.  And there was nothing she could do about it.

There were two hearts which beat in almost unison as the transport delivered the bed with patient, mother and the hospital staff at the entrance.  Two hearts which soon would be parted with no definite outcome of there being a pairing again.

Life was unreserved with the problems that it could throw out, no one knew this more definitively than that one family.  The people who had embraced the child’s physical ailment, only to be met with a statement about her medical state that confounded even the doctors and surgical staff.  Their love and support had never weakened.  The corridor which would lead the child to her most serious procedure to date sat lit and prepared.

The family were met with surgical team members.  The room was ready.  The tools for operative procedure was ready.  The team were ready.  The family was ready but the mother was not.

It was with a part, almost as a pawn in a game that the mother had felt she had walked through all the stages, a smile in place as the doctors delivered more news.  News about her child.  Her baby, and the last technical phases of examining, which although had been positive and had whilst not been understood by doctors, had left her daughter defined a medical miracle.  It was through all this, the mother had staged her part, but it was a masquerade and one which had left her to pull on her final resources.  Even though she knew that events had shown themselves in a light of which no one knew how, even as she had watched with her own eyes the look of agahst unveiled confusion on the technician’s faces and the stunned silence of the Consultant as he tried to grapple for some reasonable conclusive medical assessment to explain things; whilst she had been present and part of all this and felt the thank full beat of her own heart in response she still could not logically and when it came down to it virtually let go of her daughter to be wheeled away to a procedure which would be too many steps away.

When a physical body can only take so much, it is then that you can feel your heart weigh down.  It is this intervention, this break in the chart of life when spirit can show that there is more to life than just what our bodies can cope with, it is when our spirit is allowed to soar free for only a few moments that spirit can show what ties and binds us is often only as heavy as we allow it to be.  In spirit; their links to the love and emotional beyond gives them the scope to see things in proportion.

Letting go is often the hardest thing to do.  If a mother has to say farewell, only a mere temporary one, it can break a spirit into a thousand pieces.  When you have to say goodbye to a small child sent away for a medical procedure then your sense of spirit can really be put under strain

The mother felt as if her soul was leaving its reasoning ability behind it, as she battled with herself then and there on the Ward floor.  Logically she knew that the child had to go ahead and have the life saving treatment, mentally she could count the times when things had put before her a picture which had not gone the way she or doctors had expected, uniquely medically defying events which should have assured her and she could not let go of the little girl before her.

There was a fraction, a second when the little girl looked up into her mother’s eyes.  And the world stood still.  All the stress on the expression of the faces gathered around and the false smiles which hid concern on the Consultant’s visage were all wiped away.  The little girl looked up, sure and said “Mummy, I will be sitting up when I come out of the theatre; and I will be feeling well.”  The strong tone and statement had the mother taken aback but more than this it was the fact that she knew after an 8 hour procedure her child would be hooked up to tubes and whilst all this was factual, it did not matter at all, because those few words let her release her to the surgical team.  The staff who stood in wait.

A clock could not count the sense of minutes which ticked slowly on; no walls felt as if they were not like vice clad chains and no doors felt as if they could hold the strenuous and uneasy pain.

Nurses told the mother she should leave and try to distract herself.  It was not something she could do.  The memory of the Consultant’s words as he sat next to her child and tried to put across the knowledge that there would be already impact made on the cord and that anything of this nature could not be corrected.  The way in which the little girl had accepted this; and known too that there would be something in that operating room which would keep her safe.

The echoing sound of footsteps on the tile floor came from behind; the mother turned round anxious in her need for news, the staff member stood there and said that the little girl was out of theatre.  Relief floored the mother, a sense which turned to agony as the same person came back and said the words “I am sorry but…”

No.  The mother could not hear more.  Her fears spun round.  Her body felt as if it was made of stone.  It all went on until the member of the ward explained that she had got the intended message wrong and that it was not her little girl who was out of the medical procedure but someone else.

For a while the mother had felt as if she could not hear anymore.  A whole little life spun before her.


It was late into the evening as the little girl was brought out and back up on to the ward.  The mother was the first at her side.  It was one little girl who was brought out of an all day surgical procedure doing something that no one had thought she could.  She was sitting up.

With a smile in place, swelling where she had been lain flat so as the area could be cut and a new bone graft put in place.  The little girl sat and embraced her mother.

The Consultant who came up moments later, did so with albeit relief and a look of disbelief.  “It looks as if nothing has happened to you.”  He himself who was pale and slightly green from the whole day’s efforts and intense concentration.  “I can assure you a lot had happened.”  His words were tumbling out, partly from the noticeable position of the little girl and also due to his need to tell them the outcome of what had happened.

It was, unbelievable, to the Consulting staff.  The cord which had been under so much splitting force from the bone around it had been cut into and then as it was released, puffed back to its normal shape and alignment before the doctor’s eyes.

It was he said, as if, it had been held in position.  He could not say how no afflictions had remained or how the state had not left lasting symptoms.  All that could be said was that the surgical undertaking had been a success and this was revelled in.  All could be said was this and of course a tiny reminder of an event, one afternoon back in a temple where one holy man had put his palm out on a little girl’s head and left his healing forever.

Miles and miles away one part of their chart of life, had helped to secure, and open many symbols of intrigue through medical phenomenon for so many.

Read more next Thursday.

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