Ebony is 17 years old and has been treated at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children throughout her life. Diagnosed with a range of conditions including hip dysplasia, scoliosis, joint hypermobility syndrome, arteriosclerosis and functional neurological disorder, Ebony has undergone extensive treatment and a series of operations that now, in 2019, will enable her to start walking again.

Ebony stands by the NHS – will you? Donate today to stand by the 989,000 patients, 11,450 staff and 9 hospitals of UH Bristol.

Dear NHS staff,

I am writing this to say thank you.

My name is Ebony and I have been in and out of hospitals my whole life. I have spent nearly 17 years in and out of Bristol Royal Hospital for Children but one day I had to turn right rather than left, and I had to step (well, wheel myself) into the adults hospital [BRI]. It felt rather peculiar and very nerve-wracking as I would normally turn into a very familiar colourful environment. I knew it would be hard to say goodbye to all those familiar faces with whom I had created a unique and rather special relationship with, as well as saying goodbye to the children’s hospital.

When I look back now I have so many fond memories of Wallace and Gromit, colourful corridors, games rooms and making friends with the person in the hospital bed sat next to me. But, while I will miss the comical voices of Wallace and Gromit in the lift, I realise now that change doesn’t have to be so daunting. The rooms in the adult hospital might not be as colourful and as vibrant, but I still receive great care and sometimes, if I’m lucky, every now and then I bump into someone familiar from the children’s hospital.

I write this to you as a patient, who loves the work and care you give to
many people like me. You are the superheroes of this generation. I want to say thank you.

To the cleaners: thank you for making sure the bins are empty, the sinks are clean, and making sure that no matter how rushed you are, you always stop to talk to the patients. Thank you.

To the porters: thank you for taking patients to their clinics, wards and theatres and so much more. Not to mention the very important calming, comforting and distracting from the pain side of the job. Thank you.

To the play staff: thank you for providing play opportunities and activities, normalising therapeutic play, preparation for treatments, procedures and interventions, distraction therapy and emotional support. Most of the play staff I have met were on outpatients, on the day-case ward and during my stays in hospital. There was always plenty of colouring activities, and there was lots of Wallace and Gromit. Every member of the play team were always so kind and genuine. Thank you.

To the team that look(ed) after me: thank you! In 2015 my orthotist noticed I had a problem with my hip and referred me to the trauma and orthopaedic team. In 2016 I had a Ganz periacetabular osteotomy which is a fancy term for breaking my pelvis in three places and screwing it all back together. Since 2016 I have had lots of surgery on my hip, and having lots of surgery on my hip means lots of visits to the trauma and orthopaedics team. I have met lots of down to earth, kind and caring people there. My consultant (who we make cakes for), the anaesthetists, the fellows, the nurses, the registrars and the rest of the team. I am grateful for the care you have provided me and the encouragement along the way. Thank you does not cover my gratitude and immense respect I have for the trauma and orthopaedics team in Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Thank you.

To all of those that work in the NHS, and to any hospital staff I have missed: thank you for all that you do.

It’s at times like these that you really appreciate our NHS and the work that all the staff do, from cleaners through to surgeons. The procedures and the machines are first-class, and I’m thankful for the society we live in where it’s possible to do such amazing things.

Ebony’s thank you to the NHS was originally published by Rife Magazine. You can stand by the NHS by donating today.