Cat Thomson: Winning ticket in life’s lottery for my family

Scotland on Sunday picture editor Cat Thomson. Picture: Contributed
Scotland on Sunday picture editor Cat Thomson. Picture: Contributed
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My daughter was waiting in hospital on Wednesday, which felt like the longest day. She was taken into the cath lab at the cardiology department of the Golden Jubilee hospital in Clydebank at 3.45pm for a scheduled procedure, we were there ready for 7.15am in the morning.

There was a delay because another patient took much longer than expected. Eve had an emotional wobble about getting a canula in and about the procedure in general but the nurses were amazing. Last time we were here one nurse who had a daughter the same age made a disappointing outcome bearable with her compassion and care, and she was the first face we saw as we entered the ward. I was dreading the procedure not working again; fortunately it was successful.

No more Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which has blighted our lives for almost as long as they have been building the Queensferry Crossing. I can’t quite get my head round what the cardiologists actually do: a three-minute freeze at –80C destroying a tiny faulty bit of my daughter’s heart while it is still beating. Threading wires through a tiny hole in a vein in her leg puts life into stark perspective.

Walking the bridge will symbolise for me letting go of all the worry, and fear, each step lessening the load that I have been carrying as her mother. It is just me that is walking, I didn’t think anyone else would want to do it, and if I’m honest, I didn’t believe I would be selected. I’m raising funds for Midlothian swimming club, who Eve used to compete for. I owe them all a debt of gratitude, as it was a coach, Gilbert Kirkwood, who spotted her heart rate was unusually high in training and our cardiology journey began.

Every time I glimpse the bridge now I visualise the spikes on her now normal ECG soaring skyward, while the high tensile steel wires are family, doctors, nurses, cardiologists all vitally interlinked. A student nurse told her that everything she had experienced, from the diagnosis to the lifestyle changes she made, the side-effects of medication, two unsuccessful procedures and all the emotional fall-out she had coped with at the age of 15, meant she can do anything; that she is unstoppable.

Her schoolteacher agrees, especially when told the procedure had worked and that she wanted to be back to attend a Duke of Edinburgh meeting on Thursday night. “She is one of the people that just make the world go round,” she said.

When I told Eve a colleague was wishing her well, she said: “How many people have you told; all of Scotland?”

The bridge may belong to Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government or even the nation, but to our family it’s Eve’s alone.