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"It started as an earache!"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) / Neurology

(as a relative),

A year ago I was rushed in to King's College Hospital when I became unconscious having been suffering from an incredibly painful ear infection which had not responded to treatment despite visits to my GP, the out of hours service and calls to NHS Direct for advice on pain control.

I had a CT scan and was diagnosed with a brain abscess. The abscess was drained but it was decided that the infection was coming from the mastoid. A consultant from Guy's came to King's to perform a mastoidectomy. The abscess was drained again. I was put on two types of iv antibiotics.

I was in high dependency and then the neurological ward for about six weeks and was then transferred to neuro rehab where I was for another twelve days or so.

I lost my mobility and had to get mobile again, I learned to tackle stairs as one of my targets in rehab.

My life was saved by the neurosurgeons, the ENT surgeons and by the antibiotics. I am grateful for this.

However, once I was not so ill I experienced a very difficult time. It was impossible to speak to a doctor much of the time and I didn't know what was happening. My family was also unable to find out any information about what was happening and how long I was likely to stay in hospital.

Once I was moved into rehab things were much better and I achieved my targets with the help of excellent therapists who were always willing to talk and discuss my condition.

When I was discharged I had an outpatient appointment with the rehab consultant after about a month. I had to wait another six weeks before I was seen at outpatients in neurosurgery even though I was told I should be seen within six weeks of my discharge. I found it impossible to contact them to get an appointment and so did staff at my GPs.

About three months after the original mastoidectomy packing started to come out of my ear. I did not know what was happening and was very concerned and upset. I was unable to get any advice on the phone from King's.

Fortunately, my GP managed to get more sense than I had and was able to contact ENT at Guy's.

I was promptly sent an outpatient appointment to see the ENT consultant who had performed the original operation. She removed the packing for me and I have had outpatient appointments since.

The mastoidectomy was revised in November at Guy's.

I have now been discharged by the neurosurgeons. I am going to enter some "thanks" and some "moans".

I think this is a brilliant idea, I only wish that it had been available to me earlier!

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