Dear Doctor Akmal,
I feel I just had to write this letter of thanks to both you and St Johns and Elizabeths Hospital and staff.
It was with great trepidation that I came to your hospital in excruciating agony and pain which I thought was just muscle spasm due to lifting a heavy wheelchair. A diagnosis I was given by a local hospital and sent away with painkillers and no follow-up appointment only to be told I would get better in time. It was a great surprise to me after being referred to Doctor Akmal and having an MRI scan to be told that I had a fractured vertebrae and needed specialist surgery, I believed I was coming up to receive a painkilling injection.
My first thought was a mixture of anger and fear, and as I suffer from Parkinsons disease, I was more shook up than usual. My feelings were soon put at ease by Doctor Akmal’s friendly, professional and self-assured manner. He exuded nothing but confidence and explained the complexities of what he was going to do with the latest high-tech keyhole spinal surgery which involved putting a balloon into my collapsed vertebra, inflating it and fillilng it with cement for strength and stability, and I immediately relaxed knowing that I was in good hands, and even felt he could do this with his eyes shut (which I hope he didn’t).
On the day of having the operation I was impressed by the warm welcome of all the hospital staff – the smiling nurses, the efficient and calming anaethetist, and after coming around from the operation, the reassuring and constant monitoring by the nursing team.
Added to this was the rather impressive food menu and I must admit, although in a rather sleepy state, I had one of the best meals I’d had in ages.
Upon waking the next day I was most relieved to find I was in very little pain due to the correct pain management, and left later that afternoon feeling that something that appreared to be so nerve-wracking turned out to be far less traumatic experience than I had expected. When I returned for a follow-up consultation I was told it was a total success, and to my surprise could not even see where the surgical procudure had taken place. To add to the pleasant experience of St Johns and Elizabeths Hospital, I sampled their cafeteria and had another delightful meal at a very reasonable price, and if in the area I would go there again.
Thanks again to all concerned and especially Dr Akmal’s secretary who has been most helpful.
I’ve written this for anyone about to have this procedure to reassure them that experience is not something they should fear at all. They are in good hands.