Ladan update

Today Ladan appears to be in a worse way, possibly due to an infection somewhere.

Back on May 17th I reported that family members were seeing small but encouraging signs in Ladan, and in the weeks that followed these continued but tailed off in their frequency, there are still some signs of improvement, including better physical responses from time to time, but overall progress has been slow, though real. Doctors have been encouraged by what has occurred recently, particularly as Ladan has also been much more stable in terms of blood pressure and temperature and had remained almost free of infection since my last update. Ladan was also taken off the slightly oxygenated air supply and has been breathing normal air again without problems.

The hydrocephalus (increased ventricle size in the brain usually due to excess fluid) persisted and doctors are unsure of the cause, On Wednesday 20th July Ladan had another shunt revision hoped to help resolve remaining questions over this problem even though the existing shunt was thought to be in working order.

That operation did not work quite as expected, 36 hours later she was showing some breathing irregularities and not being easily woken from sleep, a scan confirmed that things were not right. Ladan’s neurosurgical consultant came in and carried out late night emergency surgery to remove any immediate danger, he requested that Ladan be moved back onto the High Dependency Unit for closer monitoring for a while. This allowed for a few brief tests to be done over how Ladan responded to pressure. Then, on Wednesday 27th July Ladan had surgery for a further shunt revision. Following that surgery Ladan seemed very agitated for several days, though the shunt seems to be working okay, the surgery can leave patients feeling very sore but there is also an increasing suspicion, due mainly to spiking temperature, blood pressure and high heart rate, that Ladan has an infection, though it is proving difficult to detect from test results.

We have moved back to Ward 30 now but are in a different cubicle. Ladan has just had a slightly worrying 30 hour sleep accompanied by a fair amount of twitching, having woken her eyes are somewhat divergent and less lively looking than they were, but it is still thought that all of this is due to an underlying infection which has not been identified as yet.

The prayers and supportive messages from around the world have been most encouring, thank you very much for them.


Having spent so much time in a hospital over the last nine months I feel I must write a blog entry about Patientline. It’s probably more of a moan than a contribution to the wealth of useful news and information on the Internet.

Patientline is probably installed by most NHS Trusts as a solution to providing bedside entertainment and communication facilities such as TV, telephone and games, yet with inbound calls costing 39p or more to concerned friends and relatives, outbound calls costing at least 10p per minute and TV costing up to £108.50 per month it could be argued that while the facility exists it is not really available to those on low incomes, or even no income due to the very fact that they are in hospital. Once you have spent at least £147 on six weeks of television you become eligble to receive the service at half price, about £51 pounds a month, this is a fact that is not advertised but if you ask the operator for cheaper TV and you meet this criteria then they will arrange this for you.

Still, even £51 a month, or £1.70 per day as it is charged, is £10 more than Sky currently charge for their most expensive channel package, a package which offers all the latest movies and sports events. Patientline’s offering consists of 11 channels which are free through other providers (BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, ITV2, CH4, CH5, BBC News24, CBeebies, CNN and Extreme Sports) and 7 additional channels (Bravo, Cartoon Network, TCM, Trouble, UK Drama, UK Gold and UK Living). Some of the most popular channels, even free ones, available on other multichannel platforms are missing, such as BBC3, E4 and Sky1.

Having a daily rate for TV viewing makes sense when a large percentage of your patients are only going to be in hospital for a short stay, but the fact that each payment only lasts for 24 hours regardless of how much TV you watch makes the service an unviable solution for longer term patients or their visiting relatives, even if the only thing you want to do is keep up with a daily BBC or ITV soap for half an hour each weekday it will cost you £75/month. Where such high premiums are charged for the most basic of viewing I think it is unfair not to offer a better selection of content, either by including a wider range of popular channels or by including premium content such as movies and sport for what is, after all, a premium price. Better still, make the money last for a certain number of viewing hours, rather than a period of time from the moment of activation. Or, even better yet, offer a good selection of free UK channels for no fee whatsoever and then a good selection of premium channels for a premium fee.

At least 39p/minute off-peak and a minimum of 49p/minute peak rate for incoming calls is obviously designed to earn Patientline a lot of money, and when a relative is particularly concerned about somebody they may not listen properly to the warning about the call charges which last for about 50 seconds before you are connected to the patients room. What adds some extra frustrastion is that the service does not always work and the caller is cut off or put through to voicemail after 50 seconds. My Mum and Ladan’s Dad have both spent a fortune trying to call Ladan’s room when I have been here and the phone has been free and not set to go to answerphone but the Patientline service has kept failing to put them through after the recorded messages. Because there is nothing to indicate that the error is with Patientline callers will keep calling and giving more and more money to PatienLine without being able to speak to their loved ones. When such problems occur it is often possible to make a call via the operator by pressing 0 for operator assistance rather than entering the extension number for the room, on these occasions the operators are rarely apologetic for the inconvenience and expense that their system’s faults are causing. 50p/minute is overpriced even if the service will reliably do everything it is supposed to do, but its frequent failings make the high charge rediculous.

There is a payphone on most wards, ironically operated by Patientline, that allows patients to make outbound calls for as little as 30p for 15 minutes to UK land-line nunbers, so 10p/miniute for outgoing calls (with a minimum of 20p per call) is again very expensive, but not prohibitively so.

In reality, watching any amount of television with Patientline quickly becomes prohibitively expensive for those who are in hospital for a while, and incoming calls are so expensive that loved ones simply don’t call the bedside phone anywhere near as often as they would like nor do their calls last as long as they would wish. If Patientline could cut the cost of calling the bedside phone a reduced profit margin would probably mean increased profits as more people would feel comfortable using the service for inbound calls.

Patientline is a service with some merits, its headphones mean that people can watch tv in private without interrupting other patients and the phone facility means that you can get through to a patient (when its working) without having to call the main ward. The biggest problem is the pricing structure that makes it too expensive to use for a prolonged period of time.

Voice over IP Revisited

It’s been a while since I wrote about VoIP and while things haven’t changed very much there are a few things worth noting. Quality is always improving and for the most part you will not detect much difference between VoIP and land-line calls, though the delay is just slightly greater and you may need to repeat things once or twice in a call.


In my last article I stated that the cost of PC to Land-line calls using VoIP was still not as competitive as some cheap telecoms services which use only landlines, such as Call 18866 who allow unlimited duration landline calls within the UK for just a 2p connection charge, or international calls for as little as 2p per minute. Now VoIP is catching up a little, a service which is currently still in beta testing (not fully launched yet) offers free voice to land-line calls to many countries. VoIP Buster will allow anybody to make a 1 minute call through their network using their PC to any of several countries free of charge, or if you buy credit (from as little as 1 Euro) which can be used to call anywhere in the world for very low rates, then your calls to the free countries are of unlimited duration. Of course, PC to PC calls are still free between any two users in the world, but I had problems answering an incoming call using their software. Take note though, their rate card does not always match the special offers listed on their home page, and the rate card lists the tarrifs that they actually charge.

Number Portability

Call 18866 are also available via VoIP software now. Any compatiable phone software can be configured to dial through their network. Again you have to register to benefit from it but their call charges start from as little as a 2p connection fee for an unlimited duration UK call. Call18866 is more generally used, however, from a land-line phone rather than a PC, users therefore register to the service with their main UK Land-line phone number. When outgoing calls are made using the VoIP service that main land-line number is used as the Caller ID, so anybody receiving a call from you with Caller Display enabled, such as mobile phone users, or anybody using 1471 (on BT phones) to check where you called from, will get the impression you are calling from home. This is regardless of where you use the service from, so you could be connecting to the Internet at a friends house or from a hotel abroad and still appear to be calling from home.

The devious of mind may envisage heading off to Paris for a few days and calling in sick from the hotel using their own home phone number as the Caller ID, but this number portability carries a lot of potential for businesses with mobile workers. The portability actually works both ways, for a small fee, or with some services for no fee, you can get a telephone number assigned to your VoIP account which enables anybody to call your computer from a normal land-line, these numbers can be 0870 or 0845 numbers or even numbers that indicate you are in a major city, perhaps even in the centre of a city on the other side of the world if that is the image you wish to portray. That number can be presented on your outgoing calls, made using VoIP, from any location and whenever you hook up to to the Internet you can receive calls on that number and check the voicemail on it.

In the past if a worker was to revieve business calls when working from home a company had set up call forwarding between geographical locations at an extra cost to themselves, now that numbers can be assigned to Internet users who can simply log-in to use them, and the Internet takes care of Geography, it is easy to set people up to use the same phone number from home as they do in the office, and even when they are travelling and away from both.

Spread of WiFi

WiFi is the service that allows you to connect to the Internet without plugging in any cables. This is becoming increasingly popular in homes, businesses, pubs and cafes, meaning that in order to use the Internet, and therefore VoIP, you do not need to be near an appropiate socket and run a cable between that socket and your computer, instead you can just switch on from where you are seated and make and receive your calls. As WiFi coverage increases a computer can also be used as a very large mobile phone which can make and receive calls from every location that it is able to connect to the Internet. Of course, most (though not all) public WiFi hotspots require some kind of payment for access, so this does increase the cost of using VoIP in this manner.

More Hardware Options

Keeping your computer on and wearing a headset may be the perfect way of working for many companies, but for the average individual these are not ideal ways of using a phone. If you’re looking for something to hold to your head there are a now wider selection of USB phones that plug into your computer and either imitate a standard desk phone or mobile phone in their design and sometimes in their features. There are also an increasing number of phones which connect directly to a router, and some which connect to wireless routers using WiFi, which can be used to make and receive VoIP calls without leaving a PC switched on. These WiFi phones will also work in free to access “open” public WiFi hotspots but will not function in ones where a device has to register via a web interface before it can be used. Furthermore there is software that will turn a PDA, such as a pocket PC, into a SIP or Skype phone and, as many of these are WiFi compatiable these days and will also be able to register with commercial WiFi operators, these gadgets can already be used as portable phones both in and away from the home and office. WiFi VoIP phones start from about £100 at the time of writing, if you already have a wireless standard phone then a slightly cheaper alternative is to get a VoIP analogue telephone adaptor which will allow you to use any existing telephone to directly dial through your Internet router using VoIP, there are also cheaper versions that connect your home phone via USB to a PC for the same purpose.

Below are a couple of links to the kind of equipment I am referring to here, if you’re interested in buying then ebay is also a great place to look, but be warned, prices are often higher than from the distributors below (once you add postage) and there are a lot of phones around which look like they have LCD displays but just have a piece of plastic on the front that does nothing… this is not a problem, but the picture may lead you think your phone will have more features than it really does.

Near Future

Communication technologies have been merging for a long time, I often check email from my mobile phone (using and occasionally make phone calls from my computer. I expect that very soon there will be a wide selection of portable devices which are both mobile phones and wireless computers, for which software will be available that can detect wireless networks and calculate the most economic routing for a call, checking whether your recipient is currently available via their own VoIP device or will need to be called via land-line and choosing between VoIP and the mobile service provider to make the call. Increasingly people will be able to talk to others around the world for next to nothing not only from home or the office but also from the train station, the cinema lobby or the cafe.

When I last wrote about VoIP I was impressed to discover how good it had become, with this update I am impressed to discover how well it is developing. If you do not currently have a Skype account I suggest you get one, just to reserve a name of your liking on the system. I would not predict that Skype will be the main VoIP system in the future, but at this stage it is probably the easiest to use and configure and is well integrated into a lot of VoIP hardware, so reserving a name and seeing which of your friends you can find with Skype accounts may be prudent. I would also recommend looking at VoIP Buster if you want to cut your call costs and some of the providers I mentioned in my last article of you a interested in number protability with VoIP.

Links: Skype, Gossiptel, FreeWorldDialup, SIPPhone

There are some areas I have touched on here where a hands-on guide may be of more use to you, if you think you need more leave a comment.

My previous article on VoIP can be found here.

From the Universal House of Justice

On Friday I received a copy of this very beautiful letter sent to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the UK from the Department of the Secretariat of the Universal House of Justice, the international legislative authority of the Baha’i Faith based on Mount Carmel in Israel and in the vicinity of the Holy Shrines of Baha’u’llah, The Bab and ‘Abdu’l-Baha.


10 May 2005

The National Spiritual Assembly of
the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom

Dear Bahá’í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice received your email letter dated 5 May 2005. You are assured of its prayers in the Holy Shrines on behalf of Mrs. Ladan Herbert that Bahá’u’lláh may enfold her in His tender mercy and healing grace. Prayers will also be offered for the strength and well-being of her husband and family.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,Department of the Secretariat

Latest on Ladan

It is now two weeks since the last operation that Ladan had. Doctors will tell you that families see things that others don’t see, sometimes they are things that the family pick up because they are there all the time or because the patient responds better to them, and sometimes it is because the family want to see something and so what they are witnessing is coloured by that desire. To avoid building up unjustified optimism I have tried to avoid reporting things that I am not certain, from a scientifically sound basis, have really happened. Where I have crossed this line in the past I have referred to things that Ladan “seemed” to do rather than did do. In order to give a fair picture of where we are now I feel the need to cross this line almost completely because to not do so could lead to unjustified pessimism about a lack of progress.

There is one very clear sign of improvement since May 3rd and that is in Ladan’s left eye, most people move their eyes upward when they sleep, Ladan’s left eye was not doing this, it is now. Other than that the signs are all infrequent and, what makes them harder to report as true events, they are short lived moments. Back in December successful attempts to communicate were infrequent but they would last several minutes, sometimes up to 15 minutes, so there was time to check that Ladan was understanding properly and giving appropriate responses before proceeding. When an encouraging sign lasts for less than a minute you can’t replicate it and you can’t therefore confirm it to be what it may appear to be. However, there have been a few of these short lived encouraging signs that did not appear to be there before, in some cases not for a few months and in some cases never before, and there have not really been any negative signs such as decreased awareness… a good sign of awareness that has always existed is that Ladan will often open her eyes when I say her name to her face, or will not flinch if I touch her face after telling her what I am about to do but will flinch if I touch it without announcing my intentions, or Ladan’s tendency, even if she is asleep, to show more eye movement when I am talking to her than when the room is silent… if these (and a few other) signs were to go, as they did on one occasion when a scan showed that she needed to go back to theatre, that would obviously indicate potential decline.

So, take the following with a small pinch of salt because I can’t promise you they happened, but they seemed to happen more than once in the last two weeks and they are being witnessed by those of us who have been by Ladan’s side for more than six months now so we obviously know what movement’s Ladan tends to make, such as moving her mouth around a bit before trying to swallow) that a less seasoned observer may mistake for any of these: Ladan has opened her mouth and opened it wider on request, her limbs -and most particularly her head – have been moved with increased range and control, Ladan has made mouth movements that appear to be attempts to speak, including making the shape for the word “No” in response to a question, and Ladan seems to be focussing on the people around her – or at least looking in the correct direction for them – increasingly when she seems awake.

The neurosurgical team have put in a request for another CT scan and everyone is hoping that it will show the new shunt has been working and Ladan’s ventricular system is either back down to size or on the way there.

Ladan’s Room

(Apologies for the loss of images in this post, I hope to have them restored soon)

I’m sure people have often tried to imagine Ladan resting in her hospital bed as they think of her or pray for her, so I thought you may like to see some images from the room, I have deliberately left Ladan out of them as she may not like to see images of this period when she recovers. That said, Ladan always looks very beautiful, it is often difficult to imagine when we look at her that there is anything wrong as she can look so healthy. The photo of the bed was taken while Ladan was sitting in a chair which she does for a few hours most days.The wall in front of the bed is wall-papered and in the top left corner has a picture of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, an exemplary central figure of the Baha’i Faith, and then down and to the right of that a photo of Ladan’s martyred aunt Shirin Dalvand who was killed for her Baha’i beliefs in 1983 in Iran. Ladan only met her aunt Shirin a few times before they received the news of her execution but she holds those memories, and her love for her aunt, very close to her heart. Near the top of the remainder of that wall are all the cards that Ladan has been sent by friends and family, about two thirds of them are in the picture. The teddy bear is called Jamie, he was my replacement while Ladan was on ward 25 with severe stomach pains, something she could hold against her stomach, that was when I had to stick more closely to official visiting hours of 2pm – 8pm. There are a few photos of Ladan’s immediate family and then, behind the flowers, lots of cards that the children of Year 1 in Broadwater Down primary school made for Ladan. The green thing hanging on a clothing hook is a sling that is used to help Ladan get into a chair. There is also a framed piece of artwork by Arthur Easton which is part of the rooms furnishing (just out of the picture).

The photos on the window sill are a decorated ringstone symbol, another photo of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in a silver frame and decorated with rose petals, and a photo of her graduation. On the radiator there is a picture from our wedding, a photo of her Mum (the same one is on the wall) and a photo of the Shrine of Baha’u’llah in Bahji near Akka, Israel. Every room in the hospital has a wooden cabinet with shelves and a Gideon’s Bible, on top of this we currently have a simple CD player and here we keep the tapes and CDs that we play her as well as a collection of her own clothes that she wears… actually very few of them were her own clothes before she was admitted to hospital but many have been bought for her since they are suitable for the environment and they are nicer than the hospital gowns, though on occasion she is dressed in them still.

The main light in the room is a fluorescent strip light on the ceiling but there is also an awkward side light which is theoretically adjustable but has very few positions it can stay in without being held. There is also a TV/telephone system in the room provided by Patientline, this is very expensive. Ladan has often shown positive response to TV in as much as she has often been inclined to focus on it when it is on and follow it when it is moved from one position to the other.

The blue wardrobe contains some spare bedding and a few more of the personal washing things and massage oils that we have brought into the hospital. Ward 30 is on the top floor so the view out of the window is quite nice, especially on a clear day. Of course, some things do move around the room, such as the CD player and most particularly Jamie the teddy bear who is often by Ladan’s side or adopting a human-like pose somewhere on the bed, window sill, or table.

The Long Healing Prayer Revised

In the Baha’i Faith we have the blessing of many prayers having been penned by the Prophet Founder of the Faith, Baha’u’llah and by His forerunner The Bab and His son ‘Abdu’l-Baha. Among these prayers are a few invested with a special power and potency, one of which is the Long Healing Prayer.

If you say the Long Healing Prayer quite often then it may interest you to know that the latest editions of Baha’i Prayers to be printed in the United States include a correction over most Baha’i prayer books in circulation, both printed and online.

In the uncorrected version of the prayer the refrain “Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One!” appears 40 times, including once after “I call on Thee O Thou Who slayest the Lovers, O God of Grace to the wicked!”, near the end of the prayer. In the corrected version the refrain appears 39 times and its final repetition is in the verse “I call on Thee O Manifest yet Hidden, O Unseen yet Renowned, O Onlooker sought by all! Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One!”

The corrected section of the prayer, therefore, looks like this:


I call on Thee O Manifest yet Hidden, O Unseen yet Renowned, O Onlooker sought by all! Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One!

I call on Thee O Thou Who slayest the Lovers, O God of Grace to the wicked!

O Sufficer, I call on Thee, O Sufficer!
O Healer, I call on Thee, O Healer!
O Abider, I call on Thee, O Abider!
Thou the Ever-Abiding, O Thou Abiding One!

Sanctified art Thou, O my God! …”

My thanks go to Terry J. Cassiday of the U.S. Baha’i Publishing Trust for confirming this for me.

Ladan Update

Ladan on the Isle of Wight, August 2004During January and February Ladan was, to my eyes, making some kind of progress every day. It was slow and nothing compared to how things had been going before Christmas, but we were getting blinks in response to questions and her eyes seemed to be tracking text, Ladan seemed particularly focussed on the tv when it was on in front of her, but from around the end of February the signs of progress became less frequent and things started to tail off.

The enquiries into what happened at Christmas, which are still ongoing, prompted the suggestion that we change consultant from a neurosurgeon to a neurologist who would be more appropriate for Ladan now that it was believed the surgery was all over. The new consultant and the new ward were both pleasing to us. In order to better control Ladan’s underlying vasculitis she was placed on a toxic immuno-suppressant drug and in consultation with an expert in bleeds caused by vasculitis our consultant proposed that we use an even higher dose of the drug, and higher dose steroids, to ensure that any vasculitis was completely out of Ladan’s system. This proposal carried risks as it would completely wipe out Ladan’s immune system for several months, after much discussion among the family we decided this was a risk we had to take.

While this was being discussed Ladan was being tried out on normal air rather than slightly oxygenated air, during this she started to develop an irregular breathing pattern which worsened over time. It was my feeling that the sudden change in air was causing this but the doctors felt it more likely to be either deterioration or caused by sedative drugs. They reduced the sedative drugs and called in a breathing expert. On the breathing experts recommendation a CT scan was carried out, it was a long shot but a build up of cerebral spinal fluid in the head, usually relieved by a shunt, could be causing breathing difficulties to develop.

The CT scan was taken on 24th March but the results came through on the morning of Friday 25th, there was indeed a build up of pressure. I had been thinking that I was right about the oxygen because Ladan had been back on it for a week and her breathing had improved, but certainly this build up of pressure was likely to hinder Ladan and it needed to be sorted out. In the early hours of Saturday morning Ladan’s family sat around in the visitors room while her shunt was checked and, having been found to be blocked at both ends, replaced.

Every weekend thereafter, until the end of April, Ladan was back in theatre. The new shunts would either be found to be blocked or infected and therefore needed replacing with another shunt or sometimes with an external ventricular drain as a temporary measure while they treated infection. On the penultimate weekend of April Ladan had to go to theatre twice as the external drain they had inserted was found to be dislodged and causing a further build up of pressure. Finally on 3rd May, having finally spared us from late night weekend surgery (and it was always late night) her external drain was again replaced with a shunt and we are again waiting to see if this one is working for Ladan.. Ladan has faced brain surgery 8 times in less than 8 weeks, there is a little concern that even if the shunt is working Ladan’s head may not return to how it looked before February, but the coming days and weeks, if the shunt is working, will tell.

Any considerable build up of pressure in Ladan’s head, and any infection that she may have also had in her head, could in themselves reduce her conscious level, let alone provide a major hurdle to recovery. With all of this going on the plans to intensify Ladan’s immuno-suppressive therapy and other plans of moving her to a slow-stream rehabilitation centre have been put on hold.

During this difficult period Ladan has occasionally shown very encouraging signs, she has convincingly tracked with her eyes and on occasion seemed to obey commands, but these have been infrequent events. I am hoping that a successful resolution to all the shunt problems will put us back on the course we seemed to be on a couple of months ago, failing that hopes turn to the more vigorous immuno-suppressive therapy which is still on the horizon.

Project Melody, Baha’i prayers set to music


A Bahá’í Composer, Allen Tyrone Johnson, is sharing his music free of charge to “help individuals worldwide grow closer to God”.

Setting Baha’i prayers to music in their translated english form is a considerable challenge, some shorter prayers are very well known in a musical form such as:

“Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say:
Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding.”


“O God, guide me, protect me, illumine the lamp of my heart and make me a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful.”

Doug Cameron did a particularly good job with the prayer:

“O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.
O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord. ”

On the whole, however, longer prayers are difficult to set to music and Allen Tyrone Johnson has taken on the challenge with some much longer prayers, including the Long Healing Prayer. There is another version of the Long Healing Prayer set to music in which the last paragraph is spoken, in Allen Tyrone Johnson’s version the entire prayer is sung. The style of the singing is quite well removed from other prayers I have heard sung, sounding somewhere closer to a young Michael Jackson singing a ballad.

Of the six prayers available on the web site I listened to four of them and quite liked some of them, most particularly the marriage prayer. The Long Healing Prayer, which rarely takes more than ten to fifteen minutes to read, lasts for thirty five minutes which may be a little long to focus on as an individual prayer but would probably make for a meaningful meditation on the names and attributes that are called upon in the prayer, in fact Allen Tyrone Johnson went travelling with his rendition of this prayer calling it the “Long Healing Prayer Musical Devotional Experience.”

Setting prayers to music is a great service to offer the world, I will always remember “O God” Refresh and gladden my spirit…” thanks to Doug Cameron’s lively musical version of it. Making the fruits of these labours available free for everyone to download on the Internet ensures that almost anybody may have the chance to hear this music and benefit from it.

Thanks to the person who posted a comment elsewhere on my site to bring this to my attention.

Ladan’s Progress

Firstly, thank you to all of you who have sent messages of support and said prayers for my dear wife Ladan. This update is just to let you know the latest on her situation.

Until a few weeks ago Ladan was showing some very encouraging signs, she was looking around and focusing on people and text. A few days before Christmas her mother and grandmother were communicating with her, getting yes and no answers from the nodding and shaking of her head, and having smiles in response to promises of the meals that would be cooked for her when she was out of hospital. While this was encouraging Ladan was still experiencing moments of high heart rate and blood pressure, often accampanied by high fever, which were generally kept calm by administering a certain drug.

On Christmas Eve Ladan was getting very agitated and her heart rate and blood pressure again started to rise, the nurse was ordered, for no reason that we are aware of or were consulted on, by the doctors on duty not to administer the drug that calms her down and she developed an increasingly high fever. In the early hours of Christmas Day Ladan started having violent seizures (fits), these remained violent for about two and a half hours and continued at a lower level until midnight (nearly 24 hours). It is unusual to suddenly develop seizure activity 7 weeks after a bleed in the brain and so a CT scan was taken to see if there was any new damage or bleeding to explain the activity. We were told that the scan had shown no bleeds or other damage that could explain the activity.

Immediately following this Ladan has taken a major step backwards in terms of clinical responses. The seizures sent her back into a much deeper coma and a subsequent EEG (scan of electrical activity of the brain) showed very little activity. We have officially complained about the actions taken that night and that complaint is still being dealt with.

A few days ago we had a meeting with a consultant in which we were informed that the CT Scan taken early on Christmas morning shows that Ladan suffered another bleed in her cerebellum, though probably not of sufficient size to warrant an operation. It is believed that the underlying condition ( the vascular disease Churg-Strauss) which caused the first bleeds is well under control and it was conceded that the high blood pressure that was allowed to get out of control that night may have been the cause of this new bleed. On Friday an MRI scan was taken which confirms that the effects of the newer bleed are lessening but also shows some swelling around the all outer ridges of the brain, the radiologist who took the scan said that this pattern can be consistent with having had seizure activity.

As yet we have had no explanation or apology for what happened on Christmas Eve, but what is most important and most encouraging is that Ladan is showing continued signs of recovery from this new low point. Ladan is again responding to pain and more recently opening her eyes, though with less movement than before, and has moments, with increasing frequency, of seeming to understand what is said to her by way of trying to open eyes on request or a change of expression or breathing according to the subject being spoken about.

Below are some links to popular prayers which I recommend for use either fore Ladan or for other loved ones in need:

Link: Baha’i Short Healing Prayer

Link: Baha’i healing prayer for women

Link: Baha’i Long Healing Prayer

I also often find myself saying marriage prayers for Ladan and I as a prayer for a healthy and fruitful marriage in this world encompass the hope that Ladan should make a full recovery in order that we may go on to have children and a united future.

Link: A Baha’i marriage prayer

Ladan is a very sweet soul who has never really done anything wrong in her life, we can only hope that there may be a wisdom to this suffering she is undergoing and that her bright personality will be polished by it to shine even more radiantly than before.

Many thanks, James.

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