A year later


This week last year, Brendan Bjorn had his spinal fusion after waiting nearly 17 months on the so-called urgent waiting list. What I didn’t know that first week is that it would evolve into 10 weeks in hospital. What I didn’t know that first week is, despite the spinal fusion being a wonderful success in straightening his curved spine which was crushing down upon him, that a year later he’d be left with permanent damage from the inhumanely long wait.

Let me say this: I am extremely grateful and impressed with the amazing work the entire Orthopaedic team did for my son. So, let no one ever say I’m not. Ireland needs more consultants and the system is in shambles. That is the issue.

This day a year ago, he was 3 days post-op. So much was left to unfold over the next 10 weeks. Having my two sons in two different places for so long while I tried my best to divide time in different cities, different counties, put a tremendous strain on our little family. But…we got through it, as we always do. Another thing I’m thankful for: that the bond between the 3 of us could never be broken.

During that 10 weeks of Brendan Bjorn in hospital, he required his first ever blood transfusion. His gut shut down and he was on TPN via a central line in his neck for 6 weeks. He developed a new sore near his old pressure sore, which then developed an infection of pseudomonas, and though healed, that skin remains forever thinner and more fragile than before. He had a lung infection and a small infection on his spinal wound, both thankfully easily healed with antibiotics. He also developed oral thrush.

Also during that 10 weeks of Brendan Bjorn in hospital, we had an offer on a bungalow accepted and began the process to purchase our forever home. And it’s in this home where I sit now writing this blog piece, thankful.

Right now, Brendan Bjorn is down the hall, still asleep as he’s been quite ill and home from school for the past 10 days. Again, thankfully, he’s well on the mend. Yet, he still has those issues to contend with daily as a result of that inhumanely long wait for the required, urgent, spinal fusion. The skin along his waist which broke down due to his rib cage crushing down onto the pelvic bone, continues to break down. It did so again two days ago because of him not being able to tolerate side-lying while sick.

His pelvis, despite the spinal fusion, is continuing to twist, causing more issues for him to contend with; more issues for us to face in the future.

He also has some loose screws in the spinal fusion in his lower back. None of this is helped by the fact he needs an overhead hoist system which HSE won’t cover, so I’m having to manually lift him in and out of bed as the floor hoist isn’t able to be used in his room or with his long body and me just being one person.

Yet another fight for what he needs for his best care continues.

Tomorrow, I will take him out of bed, finally, for a trip to get our flu jabs for the season and run a few needed errands. He’s restricted to 3 hours a day in his wheelchair due to those pressure sore areas, but it will be good to finally leave the house again after 10 days housebound.

What a year it’s been.

1 year after spinal fusion collage

The night before his spinal fusion and the x-ray of the spinal fusion.


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