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Patient stories

Coming in as a cystic fibrosis patient

By Naomi Attwatersage 

When I first came to the hospital as an inpatient I was quite nervous, because I did not know what to expect, also I had no idea what treatment I was going to have while I was there.

Arriving on the ward

When you arrive a Foulis Ward, you must report to the nurses’ desk to find out what room you are going to be in. The nurses take you to your room.  Then they ask you a set of routine questions and give you some MRSA swabs, you also have to do a urine and sputum sample.


The nurse runs through the form about your valuables - to say that the ward takes no responsibility for your belongings if they are lost or stolen during your stay. Some of the routine questions are ones about how breathless you are and how far you can walk on the flat. 


The nurse gives you a name band and a red one for medication you are allergic to.  You also have your ‘obs’ done - blood pressure, temperature and oxygen levels.  You are then left to settle in to your room. The doctor comes in later to put your venflon in so you can start your treatment.

Patient Naomi Attwatersage
Naomi on Foulis ward

Tips for the ward

When I know I’m going into Foulis ward I always make sure I take my feather pillow, because the hospital pillows are quite hard as they are made of plastic (which makes them easy to clean). I take two weeks of clothes and toiletries. 


I take plenty of things to keep me occupied - but saying that you don’t get a chance to get bored, there’s always stuff going on eg physio, X-rays, blood tests.

What the ward is like

Foulis Ward has changed a lot since I’ve been coming to Royal Brompton.  It used to have shared rooms and extra bathrooms, which were in the middle of the ward. 


Now, thanks to lots of donations, Foulis ward has been turned into single rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Having single rooms is a lot better, especially when you’re not feeling that great, and you just need some time on your own. There are still two shared rooms left though - a three bed and a four bed. 


All the rooms have everything you need for your stay. They have a fridge, TV-video and a phone for incoming calls, which is great - your friends and family can ring you. You can also have a laptop on loan for the length of your stay. 


The ward has a patient sitting room you can use. It’s cosy and comes with a TV, stereo, books, videos, DVDs and games. There are two leather sofas to sit on. 


If you ever get hungry you can use the patients’ kitchen, its very well equipped with a kettle, toaster, fridge, milk machine, microwave and hot drinks trolley - everything you might need.

People at Royal Brompton

The staff are really lovely people and they make you feel at ease.  You can ask them anything they’re more than happy to help. As an inpatient you get to meet lots of new doctors and nurses. All the doctors rotate every 6 months, I get to see quite a few because I’m in quite a lot. 


You sometimes meet other CF patients or people with heart problems or just breathing problems. Its good to exchange stories with other patients and get to know different people. There are a few volunteers who come round to see if you want a newspaper or something to eat, chocolate, crisps or personal stuff.

Treatment and medicine

You have physio twice a day, morning and afternoon. I look forward to mine because the staff are really nice people, you can have a laugh with them, which is good if you’re feeling a bit down. I have a DNA nebuliser an hour before physio and a salbutamol neb ten mins before. After physio I have two nebulisers which are antibiotics.


IVs are given three times a day at 8am, 2pm and 10pm. I take most of my tablets in the morning and then a few during the day.  I have to wear a ventilator at night time with oxygen running through it.

Ups and downs of time in hospital

I first started coming to Royal Brompton when I was approximately four years old. I don’t really remember much until I got a bit older and remember playing in the outpatients play area.


Sometimes when I’ve been in hospital you get down days and everything takes its toll on you, especially when you’ve had to have a few different venflons and your arms are very sore, and full of holes. 


The worst time for me had to be when I was stuck in bed for a week and I was reliant on everyone else to wash and dress me - it was horrible being stuck in the same room all the time. If ever you need someone to talk to there is always Millie Dack, the CF nurse specialist. I spoke to Millie when I was feeling down and she made me feel so much better.


The Trust would like to thank Naomi's family for allowing us to use her words. Sadly after many years' treatment at Royal Brompton Hospital, Naomi died in 2007.

Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121


Read more about the adult cystic fibrosis centre