Entry in online diary: Open letter

Open letter: 24 July 2004

Dear Mr Stein, Mr Bonser, Professor Jeevanandam, Dr Ketchin, Mr Boswell, Professor Maples, Sharon, Ms Lody and Amy,

Alan came out of surgery around 10 p.m. last night after approximately 14 hours in theatre – which I thought was quite rem­ark­able because it was suggested it could take two days. He’s now in Intensive Care and it will take two or three days to know if there are any complications such as paralysis or kidney failure. Mr Bonser told me that all went according to plan. There has been no phone call during the night, which means Alan has survived his first night. He is a fighter and deserved this chance to live.

It has been the most traumatic 16-month ordeal to secure this operation to save Alan’s life. He is asleep now and can finally rest and try to get well again. I am totally drained, physically, mentally and emotionally, but all I can think of now is: thank God he hasn’t got an aneurysm any more and is still alive. Thank God for Mr Bonser.

I have seen two completely different sides to aneurysms now – my father died suddenly of a ruptured aneurysm seven years ago not even knowing it was there – a terrible death. Alan and I have had to fight every step of the way to have his aneurysm repaired – a fight that has destroyed us both and shouldn’t even have been necessary. He should have been referred to Mr Bonser 16 months ago. And now there is my mother who knows she has an aneurysm but won’t have to fight for her operation as we did with Alan, because she’s already under the care of Mr Bonser. She knew of her aneurysm just three weeks ago and is already scheduled to begin treatment starting next Tuesday. The difference is so clear to see. Why wasn’t Alan treated like this?

I hope no one ever has to go through the kind of trauma we’ve had to endure to try to save Alan. The hardest part for him is still to come – he has to try to mend from this massive surgery – but he is very strong willed and pretty healthy and I am certain we have God on our side. And Mr Bonser was totally confident about his ability to perform this operation, which put Alan in the right frame of mind to undergo surgery with him.

Once Alan is physically mended he will be left with the most terrible emotional scars as he asks himself how this was allowed to happen. Why did his consultant at the LRI send him home to die 16 months ago and ruin both our lives? Why did we have to fight like this? He could so easily have died. Why did I have to seek help from the USA because no one in this country could be bothered to help us? Had it not been for the wonderful Professor Jeevanandam in Chicago, none of this would have been possible. He saved Alan long before Mr Bonser did by giving him the most important ingredient to see this through to the end – Hope. He gave Alan the will to live.

Had it also not been for the invaluable Aneurysm Support Site hosted by Professor Maples at the University of West Georgia then none of this would have been possible either.

Something needs to be done to ensure this never happens to anyone else. It is impossible to describe the despair we have endured for the past 16 months.

Sincerely, I thank you all for your part in helping to save Alan.