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WO2 Emma Hughes’s second child, Chester, underwent emergency surgery to remove a blockage found shortly after he was born. Subsequently, he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited genetic life-limiting condition which affects his lungs and digestive system.
Chester has spent around 30 weeks in hospital undergoing a number of operations and treatments and Emma explained that it was at one point “touch and go” whether she would get to take him home.
She added: “As a result of the care that Chester needed, I really thought my career was over, but my unit have supported me from day one. They have assisted with meeting costs of my travel from my home to hospital, and have put me in touch with our unit welfare officer who was, and still is, very supportive.
“It’s hard work juggling Chester and my career on my own. My working day normally starts around 5.45am with Chester’s chest physio, antibiotic nebulisers and medicines. It’s time consuming, but has to be done to keep him well, and I do the same when I get home. While my days are often long with both physical and emotional challenges, I feel very fortunate to have a chain of command that has supported me throughout.
“Chester now has a port to allow direct access for IV antibiotics which I am trained to administer when he needs. When this is the case, I adjust my working hours to meet his care. This flexibility has helped me to fulfil my roles both at home and at work, and most importantly, keeps Chester from infection and hospital admission.”