Wednesday, 15 June 2011
At the beginning of January 2011, our baby daughter Sophie was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) from our home in Doncaster via an Embrace baby ambulance.
At that time all the doctors could tell us was that her body had started shutting down and we were going to LGI cardiac intensive care as her heart was beating too fast and Sophie was at risk of dying. Over the next week Sophie got stronger but still the doctors could not pinpoint the cause of her sickness. After numerous scans it was found that Sophie had a blocked bowel and would require surgery.
During this time we stayed at The Sick Children’s Trust’s Eckersley House right across the road from the hospital. Before this we had never heard of the charity, but for the next month they played an integral part in our lives and the recovery of my daughter.
With the help of Eckersley House we were able to be at her bedside at all times to care for Sophie and bond with her as she was still only weeks old. The house also helped us to have a bit of stability and order during such a hectic period and cut down dramatically on the need for the 80 mile round trip every day.
Also it gave us a space to relax a bit, in the knowledge we were only a phone call and minutes away from the ward. The house manager, Jane, and her staff were understanding and always helpful and there to give advice and above all there to listen and talk about our situation. I cannot praise them enough for their kindness and the way we were looked after.
Meeting other parents in the house in similar situations and being able to talk to them about their child and their treatments was a source of encouragement and something we drew strength from in those early dark days when we didn’t know what the future held. Thankfully though, Sophie’s surgery went well and the medical team was happy with how it had gone.
Sophie is making excellent progress and is now out of any danger and has told us to treat her the same as a normal baby from now onwards. I can’t express enough my gratitude for this wonderful charity and everything they did for me and my family. It was not the best way to start the new year but thanks to the support of The Sick Children’s Trust things are starting to look up already.
By Ian Jepson, Sophie’s dad