For links to other photos go to . . . Family Index page



The Fontan: Lola went into Southampton General Hospital on Tuesday July 6 for stage three of the heart surgery for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The operation (the Fontan) was carried out the following day (July 7). The operation was longer than expected at around 7 hours, but it went well.

Lola was kept in hospital for 6 weeks after the operation due mainly to the build up of fluid (chyle) in her chest cavity (a condition called chylothorax). This fluid had to be continually drained by a tube in her chest. After 6 long weeks, Lola was finally discharged from Hospital on August 16. The final X-ray showed a clear chest cavity.

However, after just three weeks at home, Lola was not well and X-rays showed the fluid was again building up (chylothorax). She was re-admitted into Southampton General Hospital on September 7 and the drainage tube replaced. Lola went back onto the strict no fat diet. Everything went well and after a final scan of her chest showed no fluid build up she was allowed to go home on Sep 18.

Chylothorax: Lola was at home for 2 months but the fluid (chyle) again built up in her chest cavity and she was admitted into to Pediatric Ward E1 of Southampton General Hospital on Nov 24 where she underwent yet another operation to re-instate the drain in her side. On Dec 8 surgeons performed a thoracic ligation to stem the chylothorax and a pleurectomy to remove the lining between the lung and the chest wall. Lola was finally discharged on Dec 14.

The full story of this latter stage of the recovery is on page . . . Lola in hospital: Nov - Dec 2010

DIARY from July 6 to September 18

(in reverse chronological sequence)

Saturday 18th September 2010 - Lola is home

Wonderful news. Mary and George were able to take Lola back home to Kingston today after the final scan of her chest was all clear. But this is early days. Lola came home before only to have to return to the hospital following a build up of fluid. But she will be on a strict no fat diet for another 4 weeks which should help her full recovery. Lola will go back to the hospital on Thursday for a check up and will be monitored regularly.

Friday 17th September 2010 - Lola coming home?

We had some great news from the hospital today. Yes (fingers crossed) Lola may be coming home tomorrow! She had the drain removed this morning and will be discharged provided tomorrow morning's X-ray shows no sign of fluid. There has been none for the past four days at least. Mary rang to say Lola recovered quickly from the little operation to remove the drain and was the life and soul of Ocean Ward for the rest of the day. Jean went over this afternoon and Mary took the photos. There is an amazing video of Lola dancing in the ward. Unbelievable.

Lola, giving the 'all clear'

"What would you like with your tea, Mummy?"

Lola taking her new Sylvanian Families for a spin in the hospital car

Lola decides the hospital car needs a clean

Lola remains on her no fat diet, but likes her celery

Monday-Tuesday 13-14th September 2010 - Lola in hospital

Jean and I visited Lola on two successive days, partly to collect and deliver George's washing!

Lola was not too good on Monday, but on Tuesday she was a transformed girl, bright and perky. She was really pleased with a pink cuddly cat which she immediately named 'Milly'.

The cannula has been removed from her arm, but the drain is still in her side. Good news is that there had been no fluid for the past 2 days and last night's X-ray showed the chest to be clear. So, fingers crossed! She hated having her dressing changed.

George came back to sleep at our place in Emsworth as there was not enough room for both him and Mary in the hospital. He said that Lola was absolutely overjoyed to see her Mum again when she arrived from the Top Drawer show in London.

Dr Lola checking on the health of the 'baby' in the playroom


Lola and her Dad walking along the corridor in Ocean Ward carrying the drain


Lola with her cuddly pink cat, Milly.


Lola introducing Milly to Nurse Mike

Friday 10th September 2010 - Lola in hospital

Jean and I went over to visit Lola this afternoon. Mary had gone to London to set up her stand for the 'Top Drawer' so George was holding the fort on his own in Ocean Ward. He was a busy chap. Amazing how much there is to do. He finally managed half an hour lunch break while we looked after Lola.

Lola changed wards while we were there, but she just moved to another single ward right next door. We bought a few toys in for Lola. The one she liked best was the pack of coloured pipe cleaners.

As shown in the photos Lola now has a drainage tube in the right side of her chest and a canula in her left wrist. But despite all this she was basically cheerful.

"Grandma. If that's a spider, it should have eight legs"


Jean arranging the pin board in Lola's new ward. It was George's birthday yesterday!


Lola having fun with the pipe cleaners

Wednesday 8th September 2010 - Lola back in hospital

I really hoped I would not have to say this, but sadly Lola was re-admitted into Southampton General Hospital yesterday (Sep 7) as a result of the build up of fluid in her chest cavity. This was not entirely surprising after seeing her at home on Monday when she was not well.

Jean and I visited Lola in hospital this morning before she had the operation to replace the drainage tube in her chest. She was not herself and was anxious about the operation, but her spirit was amazing. She played with her playdough, went for a short ride in the toy car and watched the Wiggles on TV.

Beep, beep. Here comes Lola.


. . . but the effort was too much for her

Monday 6th September 2010

Jean and I went over to Kingston this morning to spend a couple of hours with George and Lola. Lola was clearly not well, but her spirits, as usual, were high. We all went for a walk through the village, though Lola was too weak to do much walking.

Lola taking her dolly for a walk in the front garden


Lola having a go on her Mum's new scooter


Wednesday 18th August - Lola at home

Here are a few snaps I took when Jean and I went to visit Lola at home in Kingston, near Lewes. Lola is so happy to be back home with her family again.

Lola on the new climbing frame that her Dad and a friend built for her while she was in hospital


Lola and her Grandma having a good laugh together. That was a good one!


Lola having fun with her Papa with a blow-up whale


We paid a visit to Mary's studio in Lewes. I wonder what George is telling Lola?

Tuesday August 17 - Lola is home!

We are all delighted. After 6 long weeks, Lola was finally discharged from Southampton General Hospital yesterday. The final X-ray showed a clear chest cavity, free from the fluid that had been keeping her in hospital following the operation 6 weeks ago. Here are a couple of photos from Mary's Facebook.

Lola gets the news. "Yipee. I am going home today!"


And here I am to prove it. In my Daddy's car

Saturday August 14

George phoned this morning to say he Lola had an excellent night's sleep in an empty ward! No wonder after all the activity yesterday.

Jean and I visited the hospital this afternoon. Lola was screaming the hospital down when we arrived. She was having the dressing changed on her chest, though she stopped as soon as the nurse finished and said it was just a tickle! What a girl. George's brother Richard was also visiting and they went off for an hour while we looked after Lola. She was in fine mettle, driving her car along the corridor and getting us to pull her in the cart. But she knows when to stop and have a rest on the bed.

What fun being pushed around in a cart!


The only view of the outside world from the Ocean Ward


What sweet to have is such a difficult decision


Ocean Ward is always deserted at the weekend


Lola and her Grandma enjoying a show on CBeebies

Friday August 13

The news gets better!

Following a positive X-ray showing no fluid in her chest, Lola had a small operation to remove the drain on Thursday Aug 12. George said Lola had recovered well and was fine and hungry! But she is still on the no fat diet for another two weeks, which she is finding very boring. Mary is away at the Vintage Show at Goodwood, so George is on his own.

- Jean and I went to see Lola this afternoon. As shown in the following photos Lola was in good form and almost back to her 'sparky' self. George actually took her for a walk outside the hospital this morning and had some photos to prove it! She also walked to and from the playroom while we were there, playing with toys and paints, etc. 'I want to go home, now' she demanded, as all the other children in her ward went. Not yet, but surely it cannot be too long.

Lola showing Nurse Jo the photo of the whole family taken at Easter this year


"Bet you did not expect to see me walking, Papa!"


"Grandma, what would you like to buy from my shop?"


"Now I am going to be a dentist"


"Can you catch me, Grandma?"


Lola showing her artistic flair, just like her Mum.


Lola and Grandma enjoying the meringues that Dev made

Wednesday August 11

Jean and I visited Lola in hospital this morning. Lola was bright and perky, despite the drainage tube hanging from her side. It was good to see her looking so well. Jean brought in Lola's new school skirt and sewed some buttons on for her. We also brought her some Das clay which Mary will use with her later. George spent the night at home in Kingston and brought her beans from the garden. She had a bath, which she thoroughly enjoyed. How relaxing.

Late News: Mary phoned with excellent news that the tube may be removed tomorrow if the X-rays show no build up of fluid. But Mary is understandably cautious as this has happened before and the tube had to be put back. Mary is going back to Lewes tonight to prepare for the Goodwood Vintage Show.

"Hallo, Grandma and Papa"

Jean sewing button on Lola's school skirt

"Do I look like a bean monster?"

Lola really does love her bath time

Friday August 6

Jean and I visited Lola this afternoon. Last time we saw her on Tuesday she was up and about and making good progress, following the removal of the drainage tube from her side last Saturday. Would she be home soon, we wondered?

However, X-rays had shown a build up of fluid in her chest cavity, so poor little Lola had to have yet another operation yesterday to replace the tube.

So she was still recovering and was in bed all the time we were there today, but was in good spirits, lively and playful, as the following photos show. We left with a bag full of washing.

Lola enjoyed playing with the train with Grandma


Papa, do you know what a Puff Fish looks like?


How's that for a funny face!



Lola tending to her golden locks


Lola having a story with Grandma


Lola in sleepy mood


George keeping the records!


Lola enjoying a lolly while watching TV


Tuesday August 3

Jean and I visited Lola in Southampton General Hospital this afternoon. The change in Lola was dramatic from the last time I saw her. She was looking really good, bright, alert and typically sparky. She walked to the playroom and to the toilet while we were there and drove the hospital car. Lola's teacher at her new school in Kingston sent a lovely card with photos of all the children in her class. The bandage on her arm covers a cannula for taking blood samples.

Lola loves driving her car along the hospital corridors


Lola showing Papa her friends at her new school


Lola going for a little walk along the corridor with her Mum


Lola working on her new pink computer in the playroom


George making Lola some 'burnt toast' in the Ocean Ward kitchen


Lola with her Mum and Grandma looking at family photos


Sunday August 1

Jean, Danny and Lisa went over to Southampton this morning to visit Lola in hospital. As you can see from the following photos, the drainage tube has been removed from Lola's side; this was done in a small operation yesterday. This meant she could wear the pretty nightdress that Jean gave her. The transformation was amazing, with Lola bright and alert and chatting away, almost as normal. She not only walked to the playroom, but also to the X-ray department which is another floor. Lola is still has the cannula on her right arm and is on the low fat diet. There is a long way to go, but things are definitely looking brighter. Lola's prospective school teacher sent her a book with photos of all the children who will be in her class when she starts school in September.

Lola playing with the farm animals with Lisa and looking suprised at something


Lola posing for the camera!


Lola enjoying the lolly that Lisa brought for her. Note the green book from Lola's school teacher


Lisa trying out the balls outside the hospital with Jean

Wednesday July 28

Jean and I went over to see Lola in Southampton General Hospital this morning. Amazingly, there was no queue for the car park! Quite unpredictable.

Lola had a small operation yesterday to replace the drainage tube that had become blocked. The surgeon also put a new cannula in her right arm, in addition to the one in her left foot. Naturally, Lola was still recovering from the op. and was not her usual ebullient self, but she was bright and alert. I recall Lola telling her dad that she would like to go on a plane to Spain, to go to the shops! There followed a discussion of Spanish sweet shops! No doubt very good they are too. The parcels that Mary ordered from Amazon which we took over were a major source of interest both for Lola and George as shown in the photos.

George with the 'Peter Pan' DVD that Mary ordered from Amazon


Can I open it and have it on please?


We all know what George will be watching for the next year or so.


Mary also got George a book about ducks to help with the Kingston brood


Lola nibbling her favourite spaghetti while watching 'Thunderbirds'!!

Sunday July 24

Here are a few photos from today's visit to the hospital to see Lola. She was in fine spirits as you can see. She is back on the 0.2 fat diet which allows some nourishing foods including carrots, peas, spaghetti and prawns (not to her taste) and chocolate cake!

Lola the carrot girl


Jean made a special low fat chocolate cake for Lola. Is that all for me, Mum?


We all tuck into Jean's cake and good it was too!


Lola having fun with Nurse Anna


Lola inspects her new owl school bag


Lola enjoying her spaghetti

Saturday July 24

I went over to Southampton General Hospital on my own this morning, as Jean was due to go to a quilting show with her friend Caroline, who is staying with us for a couple of days. The hospital was deserted, few cars in the car park and few people in the hospital. Amazing, compared with the weekdays. My first sight of Lola was seeing her walking back from the playroom with her Dad, the first time I have seen her walk since the operation. She was bright and perky with a lovely smile on her face. Lola still has the tube in her chest draining fluid, with George logging the measures regularly, just in case it got blocked again. Lola and I played with the Gruffalo snap cards that Jean sent her. The she had dinner, chicken and potatoes with tomato sauce. She and her Mum then tucked into the dried apricots that I brought in, they are high in potassium.

Lola smiles for the camera


Lola with her hair clips and ribbon


I get into the picture for a change! Thanks, Mez.


Now, Papa, you have to turn over one card at a time

Thursday July 22

Jean and I visited Lola this morning. Lola was in fine form, despite having some nasty things done to her. Mary and George are absolutely brilliant. Jean had a bag of washing for them. The car park is a nightmare during the week, but apparently OK at weekends. Huge queue for car park this morning. I dropped Jean off at the entrance and parked on the road. I have also parked in the cemetery with no problem.

Lola was surrounded by people when I got there. She was having cream on her arm in preparation for a cannula. She is on a new drug, though the tablet she had to take was enormous and she could not swallow it. Thankfully, the strict no fat diet has been relaxed to 0.2 fat in 100gms. So Lola can now have more varied and nourishing food. However, she still has the tube attached to her chest draining fluid.

Despite all the unpleasant things being done to her, Lola was amazingly bright and cheerful. She played with the bubbles for a while, then Mary and George took her into the playroom on the portable commode. She would not walk. In the playroom, Lola planted some sprouting seeds and then made a picture.

Nurses preparing Lola's arm for a cannula


Jean trying (unsuccessfully) to get Lola to have her tablet


Lola playing with the bubbles. Note the blow-up duck that walks!


Lola and Jean playing a nose kissing game


Off to the playroom on the portable commode


Lola planting some sprouting seeds. Let's hope she is out of hospital before they come up!


Lola creating a picture with stick-on-shapes in the playroom

Tuesday July 20

Jean and I visited the hospital on Monday July 20, almost 2 weeks after the operation. As you can see from the photos Lola is improving with a better colour and generally more lively. However, she still has the tube in her chest draining the lymphatic system and is on a very strict no fat diet, which makes the choice of foods difficult. Mary said the fluid was less today which was good news.

Lola dancing in time with the DVD on the TV screen


Lola with lollypops (which she is allowed) and various other presents


Lunch time with a plate of boiled potatoes, broccoli and cucumber. Her favourite carrot was to come.


Lola taking her medicine very nicely


Lola and Mum longing to be home

July 13

Jean and I went over to Southampton to take Mary and George's washing back. We were delighted to find Lola out of bed and in the playroom, though still attached to her lymphatic drainage tubes. She was bright and alert, though she got tired quickly and wanted to return to bed. But what an improvement. They were moving her again up to Dolphin ward where Mary can sleep right next to her.

Lola playing with a box of tiny marsh mallows that Jean brought in for her


Lola returning to her ward from the playroom guided by her favourite nurse Mike


July 12

Jean and I went to see Lola in hospital today. The chylothorax seems not so serious as we first thought. The hospital are geared up to deal with it and actually have a leaflet about chyle leaks. This requires a fat free diet for 6 weeks to allow the damaged lymph system to heal up. A long haul.

Lola looking at some family photos

E1 is a busy ward with things going on all the time. George and Mary have been with Lola all the time and have been quite marvellous. Mary stays in the hospital at night while George has a room in the house across the road, where he stayed when Lola was in hospital last time. We had a phone call from Mary later to say Lola had chips and beans, with chips done in special no fat oil. And she did her first poo since coming into hospital.

July 9

Mary phoned a couple of times to put us in the picture. Lola was moved up to E1 the high dependency ward. She was alert and asked if the baby ducks had been born at home. She had started to eat, though had been sick. Then it was discovered she had a condition called chylothorax, which is caused by damage to the lymphatic system during the surgery. It means she is unable to digest any fatty substance which can be serious if allowed to build up in the chest cavity. So she is on a strict no fat diet for at least 6 weeks. Otherwise she is bright and relatively cheerful and wants to go home!

July 8

Jean and I went to visit Lola the day after the operation. Lola was in the intensive care unit on a bed surrounded by tubes and monitors. We were delighted at how well she looked. She opened her eyes while we were there and asked Mary for cold milk.

Lola on the day after her Fontan operation