Tag Archives: hospital

A Ladan Update

I have wanted to write an update about Ladan, but it has been hard to decide what to write with a varied audience. Currently Ladan is in a stable condition not disimilar to that which she has previously been in when she has been stable before. In December Ladan was subjected to a hospital stay following an asthma attack with the possible complication of a chest infection, hospital stays are always fairly traumatic, this time Ladan was admitted following a day of notable improvement but her improvement was slowed by the stopping of all food and medicine while the hospital doctors assessed the situation, on each of the three admissions to hospital that Ladan has had for potential infections over the years there has been a deteroraton in this early stage, which is very worrying when Ladan is admitted while she has been improving, retrospectively it is generally agreed that the last two hospital stays might have been avoided by simply continuing with the prescribed course of action in the nursing home. It did not help that I had popped out when a doctor visited last time and so family observations and formal information relating to improvement in her chest were not communicated to the GP effectively. When Ladan is not well we try to be with her all the time, and when Ladan is in hospital where they do not know her at all this becoes even more important. Even after nearly 3 years in the nursing home most of the staff would be unable to distinguish between the different reactions that Ladan has to various forms of distress, and so for hospital staff who have never even seen Ladan in a relaxed and stable state the task of recognizing her needs is virtually impossible, at least in the nursing home most of the nurses will recognize if Ladan is particularly distressed and can then try to take an educated guess as to why. I never feel particularly comfortable being sat on a female ward all night long, even with the curtains pulled around. We spent the last part of our stay on a very friendly and efficient ward at the Freeman Hospital where, after a few days they managed to find Ladan a cubicle which made life more comfortable.

Although Ladan has remained healthy and stable it took a couple of months for her to return to her best. Meanwhile I am still looking for a flat or bungalow to take Ladan back to (which, although there are plenty of suitable places for sale in todays market, will have to be one already belonging to the council or a housing association for now), when we do that Ladan will be able to have a much better, personalised, environment and level of care, and things will hopefully also be much easier for the rest of the family for the most part too.

During the aforementioned hospital stay I was not able to get Internet access to update the blog (Facebook worked in a simple form), I am now set up to write articles from my phone (this is the first one I am doing this way) so that I will be able to update the blog under such circumstances.

Another hospital stay

From 17th – 24th December Ladan was in hospital again. To clarify, Ladan is usually in a nursing home with 24 hour cover by nurses qualified to a critical care level, general practitioners are on-call and usually visit within a few hours if a call is important. On this occasion, as on October 17th, Ladan was too unwell to be cared for in the nursing home and was admitted to hospital. The primary problem was again thought to be an asthma attack, possibly aggravated by a chest infection, another potential causal factor was also identified on x-rays.

For this stay we remained on Ward 43 of the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, this ward is an extension of the admission ward and we only remained there due to a shortage of available beds on the main chest ward. The staff were friendly and Ladan was well looked after, she did not develop any of the skin problems that resulted from her last stay in the hospital. As usual, Ladan’s mother and myself made sure that one of us was with Ladan all day and all night.

Ladan’s condition was not quite as serious this time as it was on October 17th, though at times she seemed to be really struggling to breathe, which is of course very difficult to witness. On this occasion it also took a bit longer for her to show significant improvement, probably because Ladan was treated with regular oral medications rather than intravenous medications (which go directly into the blood stream). Nonetheless, she did improve and by the end of the stay we were just waiting a couple of days for a doctor to say it was okay to go. Officially Ladan has to be transported by paramedic ambulance and all ambulances were refusing to do non-emergency transport for patients on Christmas Eve, so it was only through the kind efforts of the staff on the ward that we were able to get back to the nursing home, it would probably heave been a few more days otherwise.

Ladan wasn’t particularly settled when we left hospital, she was still wheezing quite a bit, but as soon as she was back in her own room and had enjoyed a proper shower she was looking and sounding much better, and right now she is seeming back to normal again.

The last two weeks and Ladan

People in minimally conscious states are said to be prone to certain things, top of the list come chest infections and pressure sores, both because of a general lack of movement. Ladan has had a few suspected chest infections over the last few years but nothing major, just requiring a basic course of a regular anti-biotic and her skin has always remained in reasonably good condition, which is a credit to the nurses and carers who have been involved in her care.

On the evening of 17th October Ladan started breathing quite rapidly. In the early hours of the morning the breathing seemed to have calmed down but when I came back some hours later Ladan was being attended to by two nurses trying to help her with chest problems. The doctor was called out and she recommended that Ladan get to hospital fairly quickly. Before noon that Thursday we were in hospital.

In hospital things moved slowly. It was may hours before a doctor came to see Ladan, they decided to prescribe some anti-biotics. Ladan’s condition worsened throughout the day and she really seemed to be struggling for breath as time went on. As I have mentioned before, my presence and support for Ladan have often helped her be more settled and so I was diving in and placing myself right before her eyes, giving her lots of love and encouragement… this was incredibly traumatic for me. Only once before, in the very early days of this stage of Ladan’s life, have I seen ladan looking so terribly uncomfortable and struggling, it is a very difficult thing to witness, there was a sparkle in her eyes when I was in front of her, I knew that she knew that she could handle this, but that didn’t make it much easier to behold and inside I was yearning for the doctors to get some treatment started and to start relieving the problem for her.

Eventually we were transferred to a ward where they had no idea what Ladan’s situation was or what she required in terms of facilities or care. This initially caused an upset between the staff which is not the best welcome you can have to a ward. The nurse on duty was telling me that he was not sure he could provide Ladan with the care she needed as he also had a lot of other patients to look after. Ladan was getting worse at this point and the doctors were called to have a look at her again. Ladan got onto a more direct treatment. Because Ladan was very ill there was a lot of consultation about possibly going to intensive care. The consultation was not just about why we might need to go to intensive care, but also about whether or not we should go to intensive care. Many medical staff were apparently unhappy that a minimally conscious person should be entitled to intensive care, and the debate over whether we as a family wanted Ladan to receive any treatment, if required, was had several times in the first 24 hours of our stay. The following morning Ladan’s assigned consultant in the hospital, who has an excellent reputation for dealing with respiratory disorders and is also the head o f the Intensive Care Unit, modified the treatment regime and confirmed that, on this occasion at least, intensive care would be available for Ladan if she required it.

With the help of Ladan’s Mum, Shahla, we were able to be with Ladan 24 hours a day for the duration of Ladan’s stay in hospital, ensuring that Ladan was as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Unfortunately the staff on the ward were very busy and the setting meant that it was not possible to always provide Ladan with some of the care she would normally receive. I got hooked up to some basic Internet access through the hospital’s Patientline service, which worked less well than a basic mobile phone would with the Internet, but it gave me some facilities (not including blogging).

Ladan became increasingly stable. She was very chesty all the time we were in hospital and there were good times and bad times. The most traumatic period was not repeated but it never felt like it was that unlikely to happen again. Toward the end of last week Ladan’s consultant started predicting that we would be able to leave on Friday as the blood test results were encouraging. On Thursday Shahla and I repositioned Ladan in her bed in the evening and I felt that Ladan’s skin was not as good as usual. This plagued me for a while, as I was starting to wonder if Ladan might be chesty because of discomfort rather than infection. On Friday morning the consultant came in and suggested that Ladan could stay in hospital over the weekend so that they could see how she did without anti-biotics. Given that Ladan is currently in a nursing home with more intensive nursing care than the hospital were able to provide I asked if it would make any difference if we went back to the nursing home and the consultant put the wheels in motion for this to happen, we returned on Friday afternoon.

The first thing we wanted to do was get a proper shower for Ladan and wash her hair, on seeing the state of Ladan’s skin I was almost shocked to tears, I have never seen skin looking so sore, thankfully that is now very much on the mend.

Over the weekend Ladan remained very chesty, Sunday was a slightly better day and Monday was a very god day where she was looking much brighter and healthier. By comparison Ladan has been a bit out of it again today but her chest does not seem too bad. It is looking very promising that this bad spell is over now, but Ladan is still coughing up slightly creamy secretions from her chest, so there is an element of caution to our optimism. Even if there is a residual infection it should hopefully just require another course of basic anti-biotics to finish the job, rather than a hospital visit, so long as it is recognised soon enough.

In the midst of this I had yet more drama of my own, though luckily not serious, in the form of a car crash, which can be read about here.

Ladan has gone into Hospital

These are two quick updates because I have access to the Internet for a moment, I am in hospital most of the day where Internet access is minimal, I will write fuller updates when things are more normal with Ladan, meanwhile some updates can be found on Facebook if you are a friend of mine on there.

On Wednesday 17th October, in the evening, Ladan started breathing quite rapidly. Though she seemed a little more settled in the early hours of the morning she became worse on Thursday morning and was sent to hospital. In hospital Ladan continued to worsen for the next 20 – 24 hours before starting to settle. Heavy anti-bitoics and steroids seem to have her nearly back on track. It is not clear what the cause of the problem was. Ladan is still rather more chesty than usual but other than that seems fairly stable and may be discharged from hospital, back to the nursing home tomorrow.

At much the same time that Ladan became unwell a very good friend had, according to an email I received the following morning from his wife, a very serious car accident. I was told that a vehicle overtook a lorry without realising that he was coming the other way, the driver at fault died, my friend rolled down a bank or hill and needed to be cut out by the fire brigade and was brought to life by the paramedics, they had thought that he would not live. He was taken to intensive care where at some point on Thursday his breathing and pulse improved and he is reported to be making an unexpectedly good recovery.

Prayers, possitive thoughts etc. would be much appreciated both for my friend and for Ladan.

General Hospital

Ladan has been a patient at the Newcastle General Hospital again since Monday, the plan is that she will move to the Minories in Jesmond (Newcastle) on Tuesday 2nd May.

Ladan had an MRI scan which showed no sign of new bleeds or other deterioration. In an examination Ladan’s consultant observed that Ladan knew he was there and was aware he was doing things to her, though he found no evidence of Ladan trying to interact with him.

The hospital were ready to discharge Ladan on Thursday but they agreed to let Ladan stay a little longer as the care home that Ladan is moving to was not quite ready for her.

The staff at the General have been very friendly and welcoming, it has been a pleasure to be back there for a short while. Many of the staff are very impressed with how well Ladan has been looked after in the eight months she was away and how healthy she looks in an overall sense.

What’s happened to Ladan?

[this article was last reviewed for accuracy or updated on 11th September 2006]

Between November 2004 and July 2005 Ladan suffered three brain haemorrages, a severe siezure, some dangerous infections and other complications that required over a dozen invasive brain surgery operations.

Ladan has been in a state of reduced consciousness since a haemorrhage in November 2004 with further set-backs in December of that year and March and July in 2005. Since then, at the time of writing, Ladan has remained increasingly stable. There have been no major improvements in the last year but some very small possitive signs are often observed.

Shortly after our wedding in April 2004, Ladan started to have very vivid and frightening visions that something terrible was going to happen to one of us, probably herself, these visions started to trouble Ladan quite a bit. Ladan also had a couple of bad asthma attacks and then some sharp pains, short-lived and generally in her legs. Ladan tried, as much as possible, to put these things to the back of her mind and take no notice of them, she spoke to her GP and they saw no cause for concern.

While teaching children at the Reading Baha’i summer school in August 2004 Ladan developed some redness, swelling and blisters on her right foot. It seemed that a bee or similar insect had bitten or stung her right ankle, though even then it looked like something of an over-reation. Rather than settle down, the swelling spread to her left foot. It was uncomfortable for driving and walking and the doctors, unsure what the cause could be, prescribed a cream which I spent many weeks massaging her feet with, it seemed to calm the pain and swelling but did not cure the problem very quickly. Eventually a course of steroids fixed the problem.

Ladan (2nd from right) and Persian dancing friends in Reading

No sooner had the swelling died down than Ladan’s wrists swelled up in the same manner and Ladan also got occasional tingling and numbness in her fingers. Again, the doctors could not explain it but steroids cured it. In early October Ladan developed a severe pain in her stomach which kept her in bed most of the time and caused her to vomit almost everything she ate. For the first time in her life Ladan had to take time off work. During the October school half-term holidays we came up to Newcastle thinking a nice break visiting relatives may help, unfortunately it didn’t after a few more days of no improvement and more visits to GPs in the area she was admitted to hospital where she was kept under watch. At that time they still suspected a simple stomach disorder such as gastroenteritis or possibly a stomach ulcer.One week later, on the morning of 4th November, she had sudden severe head pain accompanied by numbness in her face and arms, slurred speech and blurred vision. Doctors assured us that this was a very bad migraine headache until the afternoon when they started becoming concerned it may be something more and set up an MRI scan for her. Ladan spent an hour in the MRI room with more doctors and big books entering the room as we waited, finally she came out and smiled very sweetly as I shared a joke with her and she told me the headphones hadn’t been working in the scan room, then, before the consultants eyes, she fell unconcsious. Having seen the scans they were already aware that this could be a severe bleed in Ladan’s head and they treated it as such, Ladan was to have urgent brain surgery to remove the blood clot, which, I was warned, she may not survive. The family sat together in Ladan’s former cubicle praying and text messages flew out asking others for prayers too.

Following surgery we were informed that she was still alive but only just and the best case scenario was that she would live with severe brain damage for the rest of her life. Ladan was moved to the Intensive Care Unit. From that time to now Ladan has been unconscious. The bleed, we were informed, had been caused by a rare vascular disease called Churg-Strauss Syndrome. The main test for this is a blood test which takes about a week to complete and the results had arrived while Ladan was in the MRI scan. The blood clot had been focussed around the base of the brain and had caused severe damage to the brain stem and the many nerves in that area, this would affect control of breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and movement. The higher cotrical regions of the brain, believed responsible for thought and understanding, were relatively untouched by comparison.

In the early weeks Ladan seemed to be doing very well, though she was fairly unstable and caught many infections, she was quickly breathing for herself and started understanding and responding to requests, Ladan started looking around and focussing on people and scanning text. Toward Christmas her responsiveness seemed to drop for long periods of time – whereas previously she had squeezed hands on request she would only stick out her tongue or request, or merely shake her head when she was asked if she could do something – she would then be very alert for shorter, less frequent periods. 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.

On Christmas Eve Ladan’s temperature, blood pressure and heart rate started to rise sharply, something that had often happened and was being treated with a particular drug. That night, as much as Ladan’s Mum pleaded while Ladan became more and more unstable, the usual drug was not given. 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). Scans were unable to find a cause for the seizure, the likes of which had not been seen in the weeks prior to, or the months following, that night, beyond the conditions that she was left to endure. Scans do, unfortunately, show that the seizure had caused extensive extra damage to Ladan’s brain, now the outer ridges of the brain were damaged, impacting on the cortical regions, and barely any activity was detectable. The scan that nigiht also revealed a small rebleed in the cerebellum, probably a couple of weeks old, which may possibly account for the change in responsiveness observed from around that time.

It took Ladan a couple of weeks before she started opening her eyes again and responding to light and pain, but she did it, and since then it has remained a slightly bumpy ride for Ladan, she has had one or two very stable periods and during them she has done some encouraging things such as manage to move her head or limbs this way then that in response to requests several times running or give very definate blink responses on request, but even when Ladan is at her best she does these things very infrequently, doctors and nurses have not therefore witnessed these signs and scans continue to suggest there is barely any activity in the cortical areas of her brain.

Ladan has undergone a lot of brain surgery since Christmas, mainly in an attempt to deal with a condition called hydrocephalus, a build up of excess fluid in the brain which can cause dangerous pressure levels and reduce consciousness. This is very common in patients who have had a brain haemorage and has a simple treatment but complications are common and in Ladan’s case complications became a standard occurence, having had more than 11 operations since Christmas, often 2 in less than a week. Hydrocephalus itself, surgery for it and infections have often been keeping Ladan back from basic health in her attempt to recover. The underlying condition of Churg-Struss Syndrome however, which caused the original problems, does seem to be firmly under control.

Newcastle General Hospital

At the end of July Ladan had her last treatment for the apparant hydrocephalus, though it is still very apparant on scans. A few days after that Ladan suffered a deterioration in her wakefulness and in her eye control as well as an increase in facial twitching, particularly in and around her eyes. An MRI scan taken at the end of August showed that Ladan had suffered a further small haemorrhage, this time in her brain stem.

Discussions over funding issues between the Primary Care Trust and the different parties involved caused major delays in getting Ladan into a rehabilitation centre. On 31st August Ladan moved to a rehabilitation centre in Peterlee, Co. Durham, but they didn’t have much to offer by way of a rehabilitation programme. At the beginning of May this year we moved back to Newcastle into a care home called The Minories, where we remain to this moment, again there is little rehab input but the environment is quieter and friendlier.

Although occasionally doctors have expressed cautious optimism when Ladan has been well and showing encouraging signs, and although she does show some signs of basic awareness, the prognosis remains almost as poor as it did on November 4th, that Ladan is unlikely to make much progress from her current state.

There are occasionally very encouraging signs of awareness that give hope that Ladan may among that small number of people who do make amazing recoveries from these kinds of scenarios, virtually all of whom do so with great devotion from a loved one.

The Minories

I also have a great faith in prayers, which I say regularly, and there are a wide array of small but encouraging details that collectively raise hope very well.. for one small example among many: in addition to having clear visions of a disaster in the wings Ladan also had an extremely clear and vivid vision of giving birth to a son.

People all around the world have been praying for Ladan, people from all backgrounds and religions, and I truly appreciate this with all my heart.

A little more stable

Following my Ladan Update two nights ago things have become a little more stable again, her eyes aren’t quite back to normal but they are getting there. Current thinking among the doctors is now that infection is not responsible but rather a large number of red blood cells loose inside Ladan’s head as a result of the three recent operations are causing some irritation to the brain stem and/or other areas or nerves in the brain, they expect this to settle by itself.

Yesterday I had a surprise visit from a hospital chaplain, when your wife has been somewhat less well over the last couple of days and a chaplain appears saying that he has been asked to come and visit your wife it initially rings a few alarm bells, but he explained that he was not the regular chaplain for the General Hospital and that as he was covering from another hospital he had a list of patients to visit and Ladan was on that list because, he checked and confirmed, somebody had gone into the chapel and filled out a prayer request card for Ladan. We had a nice chat about prayer and healing and some of the interesting experiences he had had with patients he had been asked to pray for. The chaplain’s son lives in Chicago and he had himself visited the Baha’i House of Worship there so he had heard of the Baha’i Faith before. The chaplain offered a prayer by Ladan’s side for her recovery and for the doctor’s who were looking after her.

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.

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.