One year ago I was just going to bed and I stumbled down the stairs to say goodnight to my youngest son, Billy, who was the only person in the house at the time. It was about 10pm. The poor lad was suffering from a severe headache and trying to put his head in the freezer. I was a little worried but not drastically so. Billy had headaches before, although not as bad as this one. But then, when he started to sweat minutes later, like a waterfall, and then become violently sick, I knew something was wrong. Before I had a chance to call an ambulance, he sat down, rolled his eyes backwards and began to lose consciousness. I panicked.
At A&E the doctors and nurses were a little slow to pick up the problem, but eventually Billy was taken to have a scan on his head. This revealed a bleed in his brain. He was rushed then to Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre and went into intensive care for several days while surgeons tried to stop the bleeding and prevent my son from dying. It was extremely frightening.
It took six months before all remnants of the bleed had gone. However, further scans revealed that there was a 'knot' of veins in Billy's head, something he was born with, that was taking the blood out of his head too quickly and the pressure on this 'knot' was too great which is why he had a bleed. The bad news was it could happen again. The advice of the surgeon, Mr. Bucca was to have it removed.
Six months on (and nearly one year to the day of the first bleed) the operation took place. Not many people can say they have had their head examined and fewer can reveal they've had brain surgery. For our family, its become a pretty normal thought. For Billy, it is a story to tell his children and grandchildren.
Billy went into Hurstwood Park, part of the the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath, on the National Health Service, last week and on Friday 18th July the surgeons cut him open and probed his head to remove the 'knot'. Today (Thursday 24th July 2014) he is coming home - one week later. Incredible. But the size of the scar is what has knocked me sideways. While it will heal and most of it will be hidden by his hair, it is a staggering sight. No wonder Billy had severe heads after the operation and his face swelled up like a dinner plate.
I am so proud of my son for going through with this and being so incredibly brave. He may not have had much a choice, but he had been brilliantly relaxed about the operation and will be getting a massive hug from me when he is home.
The staff and doctors who work in the NHS are wonderful and truly dedicated people and I cannot thank them enough for their help and support, not to mention skill, to save my Billy.