Sarah Collins was just nine months old when she was first admitted to Temple Street suffering with unexplained seizures. Mum Selina says, “Our first experience in Temple Street was when we were brought up by ambulance for an emergency EEG of her brain. It was very scary and we were devastated to find out that same day that she had a rare and difficult form of epilepsy called infantile spasms and was later diagnosed with the genetic condition tuberous sclerosis complex.”
Selina says that they were in a state of shock but were reassured and put at ease by the lovely staff in the neurology department. “When we were first introduced to the neurologist Dr. Lynch was so kind and gave us so much of his time to explain what was going on.”
One of their scariest moments in Sarah’s journey was when she needed to spend two nights intubated and ventilated in ICU following a major operation. But Selina says that the ICU staff were amazing and took good care of them.
“From the nurse who made sure we had somewhere to stay that night to the social worker who made sure we were coping, to the lovely chaplain who brought Sarah a gigantic teddy bear after hearing her story; the kindness shown by these people brought us to tears.”
Selina says that Sarah still sleeps with that giant teddy bear every night and seeing it was the first time that she smiled after her operation.
“When she was brought back down to St. Gabriel’s Ward after ICU she got nothing short of a hero’s welcome by staff and patients alike – it really touched our hearts.”
Since then, Sarah – who is now nearly five years old – has been a regular patient in Temple Street, attending a number of departments including neurology, neurosurgery, cardiology and nephrology.
Selina says that the most challenging part of Sarah’s Temple Street journey has been the uncertainty about her condition, as well as the day-to-day challenges like missing school and travelling to and from hospital.
But despite those challenges, Selina says that their experience of Temple Street has been so positive! “The staff are absolutely amazing and Sarah is so well looked after in all her clinics. The Neurology team in particular have helped us every step of the way on this difficult road.”
She adds, “Sarah’s neurology nurse has helped us so much and any worries we have – be it a question about medication or if we’re worried about a strange seizure – all we have to do is ring and she’s on the end of the phone with advice and support.”