David was in hospital for a quarter of a year with an infection in his spine. He explains what that was like and how MediCinema helped:
‘I suddenly woke up with this intense pain in my back and it just continued and continued. I simply couldn’t stand it, and so I hobbled up to Charing Cross Hospital. I was given pain killers, but then about six weeks later my legs started to feel very wobbly - like shivers, spasms, going up my legs. I simply could not walk. I was on my hands and knees, no power, in agony, pains thudding into my back all the time. I thought I was going to die.
‘I came to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and was here for 12 weeks including two weeks rehabilitation, trying to get this pain down and get me walking again. I couldn’t walk, I had to learn again; but the pain prevented me from really getting into it. I’d be screaming in pain.
‘When I found out there was a cinema in the hospital I was astonished! I thought it might be a room with a large screen. It’s a real cinema! It’s exactly the same as if you went to a multiplex cinema. It’s a real cinema with a brilliant screen, and comfortable seating, and more importantly - you have room for beds. And every time I go, I go in my bed. It’s just like going to the movies… well it is! It is going to the movies! You can be here and can forget about everything - I don’t feel any pain in my back when I’m in the cinema. I’m in my bed and I’m comfortable.
‘Trevor, in the bed next to me in the cinema, is in the same business. (Trevor is a screenwriter and David is an actor). We’ve never met before but we chatted as though we knew each other. We’ve met twice in the cinema now and we speak as if we’ve been away for a while and we just picked up again.
‘This is the first time I’ve been ill. I’m getting used to it now but in the beginning the whole thing was alien to me. My spirits were very low when I came in here. After the first movie I saw here I came back to the ward and there were people chatting about their lives and things, the screens were drawn, and I just broke down and cried because I felt so sorry for myself, and one of the nurses said “Are you crying about the film David?” and I said no I was not, I was just being self-indulgent. I couldn’t help it. I just wept because I had seen the world I am out of temporarily, putting everything on hold.
‘Seeing a real cinema in a hospital, and screening the movies you screen, to me it was a revelation. A total joy. It gives you a more uplifting experience than anything you can imagine.’
As well as sharing his story with us, David has also agreed to be one of our new patient ambassadors and as such spoke about his experiences at a recent event. Meeting David and hearing him tell his story really brought home to all our guests the importance of MediCinema and the enormous difference our screenings make to patients’ lives. If you’ve been a MediCinema patient and would like to share your story or find out more about becoming a patient ambassador, we would love to hear from you. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.