Dying is a lonely journey. Not only for the sick person but also for the family. As hard as we may try to avoid death, the truth is that we do a lousy job of it. Science and medicine will certainly postpone it, even staying healthy might seem to delay it, but the harsh reality is that death does not wait for you, it does not ask you, and it does not listen to you. Death ignores your feelings and wants; you do not matter to death…Death is the only certainty in life! We need to remember that our existence here is fragile, and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because waits for no-one… Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child.
Eleven years and ten days ago Vic had her first blotched back surgery that lead to 81 abdominal surgeries. She lived another 4027 days with excruciating pain, indignity and misery because of the ego and arrogance of a neurosurgeon. Her little body systematically being destroyed by the sepsis left behind by an idiot doctor.
Dr FS, you arrogant fool, you stole my daughter’s life, you stole a mother from two young boys, you stole her smile, her joy, her laughter, her marriage, her hope! You gave her despair, pain, a mangled broken body, faeces running out of her intestines into a bag, an open wound.
You coward, you would not face me in the passages of the Milpark ICU. You denied me the truth. You stole my child’s life!
You called my child a morphine addict. You withheld opiates from her after surgery. You SAID that the sepsis in the Pro-disc could be stopped with antibiotics…It was not necessary to remove and replace it…. 4027 days later it took her life…. Her little body riddled with infection, her body burning up with fever! For 4027 days she suffered!
You condemned my child to 11 years of horrific suffering and misery. Not a single day of her last 4027 days was she without pain.
I wish you saw her tears of pain whilst she was packing her little boys lunch boxes. I wish you heard her 4-year old son say “Don’t worry Mommy. I made my and my brothers beds because your back is sore”. I wish you saw the despair in her sons eyes. She was never able to give them a “normal” life. You ensured that they spent their childhoods in their sick mother’s bedroom and not in the garden playing ball with her…
I still hear her saying “Mommy I am so sore even my ears ache…”
What do you hear? The crisp sound of money? Certainly not my little girl’s screams’ of pain!
If only you said those magic words…”I am sorry….” You arrogant fool the only words you uttered were “I refuse to accept that I am the cause of Vicky’s condition…”
Coward! I hate you. You have my daughter’s death on your conscience. I hope you rot in hell!
The albatross is a large seabird with a wingspan of up to eleven feet. The albatross are regarded as the planet’s ultimate frequent flyers. The albatross don’t flap their wings, they use wind energy. An average black-browed albatross may cover 100 miles a day during its lifespan of more than 40 years. Over a lifetime, an albatross may cover 1.5 million miles.
A master at gliding, the albatross can stay aloft on virtually motionless wings for many hours at a time. For that reason, seamen used to believe that the albatross had magical powers. There was also a belief that albatrosses, hovering endlessly above the ships at sea, contained the souls of lost sailors, former comrades of the sailors below. Many sailors believed that disaster or death would haunt anyone who harmed or killed the bird.
In 1798 the great English poetSamuel Taylor Coleridge made albatross mythology the basis for his famous poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Ancient Mariner (that is, the “old seaman”) tells the story of how he, while on a ship at sea, killed an albatross for no apparent reason. Later the wind stopped blowing, and the ship could not reach port to get fresh water.
The crew assumed that the disastrous turn of events occurred because of the death of the albatross. Angry at the Ancient Mariner, the crew picked up the dead bird and hung it around the man’s neck as a symbol of guilt and punishment. The profound intent of the symbolism was reflected in the Ancient Mariner’s own words:
“Instead of the cross, the albatross
About my neck was hung.”
Today that imagery has generalized, so that anything that causes deep, persistent anxiety can be called an albatross. And an encumbrance that hinders accomplishment is an albatross around one’s neck.
(Principal sources: Oxford English Dictionary; Darryl Lyman, Dictionary of Animal Words and Phrases, Jonathan David Publishers, http://www.jdbooks.com)
Vicky suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone disease. In people with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, one of the genes that tell the body how to make a specific protein does not function. This protein (type I collagen) is a major component of the connective tissues in bones. Type I collagen is also important in forming ligaments, teeth, and the white outer tissue of the eyeballs (sclera).
As a result of the defective gene, not enough type I collagen is produced, or the collagen that is produced is of poor quality. In either case, the result is fragile bones that break easily. Collagen in the body is what cement is in a building. It keeps the tissue/bricks together! Vicky has poor quality collagen.
Vic has a very bad spine. Her neurosurgeon decided to do experimental surgery in 2002. The Prodisc Total Disc Replacement is an implant designed to mimic the form and function of a healthy intervertebral lumbar disc. It is implanted during spinal arthroplasty after the diseased or damaged intervertebral disc has been removed. The goal of artificial disc replacement is to alleviate the pain caused by the damaged disc while preserving some or all of the natural motion of the lumbar spine. By preserving the natural motion, it is hoped that the adjacent levels of the spine will not be subject to additional stress as they are in traditional fusion surgery. http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/artificial-disc-replacement/fda-approves-prodisc-lumbar-artificial-disc;
Vic had the Prodisc procedure on Wednesday morning, the 13th of February 2002. The operation was scheduled to last “two hours and thirty-seven minutes”. Six hours after Vic was pushed into theater we were told that she is in recovery. Vic would go to ICU for “pain control”.
She was pretty out of it the entire Wednesday and Thursday. Friday Vic was conscious and in dreadful pain. No amount of morphine brought her pain relief. Her face and nose itched in a reaction to the morphine. Vic was losing her mind with pain.
Early Friday morning I cornered the surgeon. He said she is fine. I kept badgering the ICU staff to increase her pain medication. I pointed out that her heart rate was elevated and she was running a temperature. Her breathing was shallow and fast. If it was today I would have recognized the danger signs.
That evening I was too scared to leave. My child was in trouble. Just after 8pm the doctor came and spoke to me. He explained that Vicky’s tissue is extremely poor (surprise surprise!!) and that there was a small chance that her bowel may have been perforated. The X-rays did not show up anything but my concern had “alarmed” him.
“Mommy, you must decide. We can take her back into theater and check her out. The chances are that we are going to subject her to unnecessary anesthetic and surgery. The decision is yours…”
“Take her back to theater tonight” I said
“I will get a specialist surgeon to do the surgery” he said.
At 9.30 pm Vic was pushed into theater again. Eleven hours later she was rushed back to ICU. Sunday the 17th of February Vic went back t theater for a further 9 hour surgery. She came out ventilated.
She spent 22 days on the ventilator hovering between life and death.
Doctor arrogance and negligence has led to almost 11 years of sheer undiluted hell and misery. I wish there was a way I could make the arrogant fool pay for Vicky’s lost life. I wish I could put him in Vic’s shoes for one day. I wish with every fiber in my body that I could make him give the boys back their mother. I wish my child could be pain-free.
The Prodisc was never removed. The Prodisc is systematically spreading sepsis to Vic’s intestines. Thank God for adhesions.
I digress. The specialist surgeon, Brendan Bebington, which Dr Frank S tried to get to do the surgery that Friday night, wife was in labor His locum was called in. Years later (after surgery maybe 30) we ended up back with Dr Bebington again. He has managed to keep Vic alive for many years.
Brendan calls Vic his “albatross”. He is still consumed by guilt that he wasn’t available to do her emergency surgery… I wonder whether the neurosurgeon ever thinks of her?
I want to reiterate at this point that the Prodisc is an excellent alternative to spinal fusions. Surgeon arrogance is the cause of this disaster! Giving the choice again, we would more than likely opt for the same procedure again. Different surgeon.
When the albatross glides across the skies it is stunningly graceful and beautiful. But when the albatrosses webbed feet touch down on earth it walks clumsily, like a staggering drunk, and becomes the object of ridicule and pity.
One day Vic will soar through the sky, graceful and beautiful. Free from pain and suffering!