8th December 2018

Showcase Saturdays

Greg Johnston

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Showcase Saturday – Episode #11

After a lengthy break, we are now back with our Showcase Saturday feature! We will continue the series after the festive period, but felt we had to share Betsy’s story with you now, before Christmas… so without further ado, it is over to Betsy’s mum Kim to tell you her story:

Betsy has mitochondrial disease, so we had been in hospital with her before. In 2016 we had two admissions over the winter months, but she had never had to be intubated (put on a ventilator). But on 22nd December 2017, Betsy was rushed to James Cook University Hospital with low oxygen saturation levels. Things got worse from there and after a terrible night, it was decided that Betsy needed to be placed on a ventilator and sent up to the RVI in Newcastle.  

We weren’t expecting anything of this scale to happen to us. I’d only packed for one night in hospital, expecting a prescription for antibiotics and a speedy discharge. Because Betsy had gone into respiratory failure overnight, our lives, our world was turned upside down.

Betsy and I arrived at PICU late at night. The Nectar ambulance team were amazing. When I think back, I must have been in shock. I remember being sat in the parents room of PICU, planning our Christmas Day, fully in denial about the fact there was no way Betsy would be off the ventilator by Christmas, and certainly not facing the reality that Betsy may not have ever made it off the ventilator. I was given a Team Evie bag, with a toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant… all things I was going to need to feel human again. And a little stuffed giraffe, which I clung to.

Christmas can be an amazing time, but it can also be the most empty of times if things aren’t right. We plodded on, my husband and I getting into a routine, taking turns by Betsy’s bedside and resting. Then Christmas Day came and our then 8 year old son came to see us. When we entered PICU we were blown away by the generosity of Team Evie. Not only were there gifts for Betsy, but also for us and our son, Oscar. It really brightened our day and meant that Oscar had some normality to his Christmas, even if we did have to have our lunch in the hospital cafe.

Betsy came around and was taken off the ventilator on New Years Day. We were so elated. Her speedy recovery was helped by Peppa Pig DVDs all contributed to PICU by Team Evie. Whilst our experience had been awful, the little glimmers of normality and comfort were provided by Team Evie and they helped hold us together as a family. We were discharged on the 4th, and spent a few weeks recovering.

We can’t wait for this Christmas. To be a happy family at home!

When we had been discharged we sent a thank you email to Team Evie as we will never forget the generosity and care that they showed to us. I’m not sure we would have got through that experience with their support.

Kim, Paddy, Oscar and Betsy

Thank you so much to Kim for sharing her story. To hear the words ‘helped hold us together as a family’ makes us incredibly proud, and we are so glad that we were able to make a difference!

If you would like to help us to continue helping families like the Betsy’s, you can by donating here.