Paul tells his story of life at Royal Brompton Hospital in 1962 when he was 7 years old.

My story begins in those halcyon days when I was a young boy, to be precise May 1962, 7 years old and not a care in the world when I was admitted to the Royal Brompton Hospital. What was strange, I had no idea why I was there, but I was soon to adapt to hospital life. I was later to learn that I had a hole in the heart. My bed was in a large men’s ward, all the nurses spoilt me. When the Matron was due to do her ward round, I would quickly hide under the bed covers until the all clear had been given by the other men.

Hospital porters would race me through the basement in a wheelchair at great speed to the other side of the road for an appointment, then later back again.

When a circus came to the hospital, they set up the cages of the Chimpanzees in the roadway next to out-patients; how I remember the excitement of seeing the wonderful creatures, of course we were not allowed too close.

The day of the operation soon came, yet still at this stage I did not know what was happening. My father accompanied the trolley as they wheeled me down the long corridor leading down towards the ward sisters’ office, she came out of her office with a big smile on her face and reassured me that I would be fine and that it would all be over soon. She fastened a label to my ankle, and I continued my way.

The operation was to be carried out by Mr M Paneth, the process of the operation lasted for 17 hours, partly due to them finding a complication. Whilst under the anesthetic I clearly recall the dream, the nurses, doctors and myself were on a theatre stage performing a show, the dream went black, finding myself drifting in this comforting blackness. The dream continued again where it had finished. The next thing I remember was a young doctor reassuring me that all would be well, I woke in intensive care. All the nurses were wonderful in the ICU.

I was never able to personally thank Mr M Paneth or the wonderful hospital staff, so here is a big thank you to all past, present and future staff at the Royal Brompton Hospital.

If Paul's blog had you remembering your own experience at our hospitals, get in touch, we’d love to share it!