Yesterday was my younger brother's 30th birthday. Conor was born when I was only a year and four months old. He was very sick when he was born and both he and my mother almost lost their lives. He spent a long time in the NICU after he was born.
When he was about 4/5 we left our house really early one morning and he learned to ride a bike on his own. We lived in a tiny cul de sac in a little village. No fear back then. I love the memory of cheering him on in the cold morning, just the two of us.
This last year Conor has been very sick. There were a few trips to A&E and at the end of September he spent a few days on a trolley in A&E before being sent home. He was suffering from severe pain in his abdomen. The following day he was taken back up to A&E and eventually admitted to a ward. Two days later he had a right hemiocolectomy, an operation to remove his hugely inflamed appendix which had attached itself to part of his bowel and small intestine. The operation lasted three hours and he was in recovery for two hours. It was uncertain whether he would survive the operation at all, he was so weak and had lost so much weight over the course of his illness.
When he eventually came back to the ward, where Mum, my sister and I were waiting, he was barely conscious. We spoke to him for a minute before being sent out. There was no one to give us any answers. At that point we didn't know it was his appendix. The doctors who had performed the surgery went home without telling us what happened. We didn't get to talk to anybody about him until the next afternoon. The level of care for patients and families in that hospital is a disgrace and I hope never to be stuck in there.
Now, two months on, Conor is improving in health. He still has a long way to go and is undertaking more tests, MRI's, scans etc. They still don't know exactly what is wrong with him.
Thankfully, he survived the operation. His birthday, and even this Christmas, is all the more special this year for us.
Rest in Peace students and adults that lost their lives in Sandy Hook Elementary. May God help those who you left behind. Will be thinking of them all this Christmas xxx