Friday, 12 November 2010

Stephen Parry - 1964- child heart patient

I have just received this email from Stephen Parry who was in Sully as a child:

"I've had a look at the blogs and it brought back memories.

I remember the long trek to the hospital with my mother from my home in Cwmbran, which involved about three buses as we didn't have a car. And the long walk past a plastics or chemical factory which we had to take when we missed the bus that dropped off outside the hospital. I can still smell that factory now.

As I already mentioned I was ten years old and didn't understand how seriously ill I was or indeed how ill the other children on the ward were that became my friends. It wasn't until many years later that I was told that most of them had died either in hospital or soon after discharge.

Of course heart surgery was very much in it's infancy at the time and I was something of a pioneer I suppose. My sister went on to become a nurse and discovered some time later that I was one of the first patients to use the heart lung machine.

My parents stayed in the hospital accommodation when I had the operation. It was in June 1964 ( I can't remember the exact date ), and I remember coming round after the operation in the post op room overlooking the sea. It was a moment I will never forget. It was a beautiful summer morning and the sun was dancing on the water. There were yachts as well I recall. My parents were at my side and my mother burst into tears on seeing the aftermath of the surgery.

I suppose it couldn't have been a pretty sight with stitches and draining tubes exiting my body. The surgeon Mr Harley told me later I had 63 stitches just one short of the year.

I can't remember exactly how long I stayed at Sully, but I think it was about 3 months. Then shortly after discharge it was noticed that my right leg was continually swollen and I was rushed back in with a suspected DVT. This was confirmed and unfortunately I still have it today but thankfully it has caused me few problems.

I have only returned to see the hospital once since my time there and that was just to stop and view it from outside about thirty years ago.
I would love to visit it again and walk around it but I suppose that would not be possible now.

In 2004, the 40th anniversary of my stay there I did write to a local newspaper to ask if anyone had stayed or knew anyone who had been there during my time there but I didn't get any replies. I would love to meet someone who was a heart patient there in that summer of 1964, or indeed any of the nursing staff."

Where are all the ex-Sully patients? like Stephen I feel they must be out there somewhere if only we could contact them to hear their stories. - Ann

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