My Summer of Hell

Hello. I’m writing this from a hospital ward in England where I am tentatively recovering from Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease which went undiagnosed and untreated for five months due to a systemic healthcare failure since my consultant appointments were consistently cancelled and rescheduled by the hospital, despite my worsening condition. After nearing dying two weeks ago from acute blood loss due to not being treated in a timely manner, this is the first time in several weeks that I’ve been strong and able enough to type at my laptop, I thought I should let the readers of this blog know since many of you have sent messages. Thank you for your concern.

This summer has been the worst time of my life. In mid-June, my full-term son was born by emergency c-section but with catastrophic brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. He died the next day and I have never ever known such profound grief, such palpable torment. We named him Rupert Charles, with all the Stuart connections those names have. He was such a beautiful baby, so very loved and wanted. I was lucky in a way that I was able to hold and cuddle and kiss him before he died. We were finally able to give him his burial last month, and we’re still awaiting the results of the numerous investigations about him. We had no sign anything was wrong. Someday I may write more about all of this, but for now, it’s too raw, too painful.

In the significant trauma following little Rupert’s loss, my husband, our daughter, and I went on a road trip around England. We couldn’t be in the house, which was filling up with sympathy cards and flowers from kind friends and family. I couldn’t bear to see his room, with the cot and mobile and nappies and baby clothes all ready…it was too much. We left home, desperately needing the mental and physical distraction, which we did find and which did help. I will endeavour to post about those places and perhaps readers of this blog will enjoy them, despite the horrible context.

Being in the hospital has had one positive benefit: I’ve been able to read through some of the backlogs I had of review books, another necessary distraction. I have let people down in recent months because I have not sent book reviews in a timely manner. I’m behind with so much work. My Barbara Villiers book, which was nearly ready to submit, has to wait. It’s simply too hard at the moment. But I feel I can somewhat concentrate on book reviews and posts about the places we visited over the summer. I’m going to try to concentrate on those, and try to get stronger physically and mentally, over whatever time I have left (I have four blood clots in my lungs and kidneys now, so who knows? ha!) and I hope you’ll bear with me.


Hear ye! 16 thoughts — so far — on “My Summer of Hell”:

  1. Sarah Waldock

    Deepest sympathy both for your loss of Rupert and for your disastrous health care. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Graham

    Thanks for the list of C17th places, I volunteer at Ham House. Glad to hear you were able to get away after your troubles.

  3. Simone

    Andrea I don’t know how to respond other than to say my heart goes out to you. Sending you hope and lots of well wishes. You have not let anyone down. I am sure people understand considering what hell you have been going through these past months. x

  4. Mark Porter

    I am so sorry for your loss. Life can be so uncertain at times and very hard to understand. In my own case,I have battled with anxiety for most of my life.But I can truly say that I have found tremendous strength through my faith in Jesus Christ.I will be praying for you and your husband at this very difficult time in your lives.

  5. Bill Schneider

    So sorry to hear of your trials this summer. I cannot imagine the pain of losing your newborn son. I have UC & take a prescription of 4 “horse pills” of mesalamine daily which keeps it under amazing control for me. Get well soon.

  6. Leif Grahamsson

    So difficult to read this post. Like everyone else, I pray for your recovery to come apace. It may not come easy to you, but you must put yourself first at this time.

    May God bless you.

  7. Christopher

    Such a tragic story that has moved me to tears. My deepest condolences on your loss. I hope that the health issues are contained and reversed quick smart. To cover all the bases, I do resort to calling for divine intervention under such times.

  8. Laura Frantz

    I don’t know what to say as I’m just overwhelmed with all you & your family have endured. Thoughts & prayers with you & yours. Thank you for having the time & courage to post this.

  9. Sarah Johnson

    Feel better on all fronts soon. What a saga! No wonder you needed to get away, but events followed you, as they have a way of doing. Believe you will get better. You will feel better. Little Rupert will be in your life another time. Life will be better. Just believe. And know you are loved and valued.

  10. Kathleene

    I am so sorry for the loss of your precious son and the other health problems you have weathered. Take your time, be kind to yourself. Work can wait.

  11. Jackie of Windsor

    So very sorry to hear of the loss of your baby son. The grief would be unbearable for you and your family. And now you are seriously ill. I pray you will pull through but you must stop worrying about unfinished work and letting people down. All that is secondary while your health is compromised. All your friends (and I’m sure you have legions) and colleagues will completely understand. God bless you and get well soon.

  12. Anna Belfrage

    Dearest Andrea
    I don’t think there is anything I can say to offer comfort sfter such a terrible loss. But your many friends (including me) have thought a lot about you, Gavin and, of course, your beautiful daughter and baby Rupert.
    To then read you were in hospital after än uncomfortablt close brush w death. . . Ni, no, no! Life isn’t fair, but it shouldn’t be THIS unfair!
    I think of you often. I keep you and your family in my heart.

  13. Netty

    So terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your son and your own scary health problems. Just wish you all the best and take your time to recover.


Please contribute thy thoughts!

Your e-mail address will not be published.