Bad news and Good news – May 2017

JimW-Felicity Ayres 04 (1)Here is a new blog. There is bad news and good news. (I made lots of notes but my Mum had to write this while I said it.)

On Monday I was in the gym doing my normal training stuff and routines and then suddenly I had an accident. I was told I banged my arm and back and then badly hit my head and people tell me I knocked myself out. My gym coaches took really good care of me until the paramedics came and helped me, but I couldn’t see out of my eyes. I went on a stretcher in the ambulance with my Mum to Barnstaple hospital. I had a scan of my head and had to have my new birthday leotard cut off. DSC_0954 It was very scary and terrifying. I don’t remember very much as I was so very very poorly but I do know nurse Pete looked after me and they said when I’m better to send in a new photo with a new leotard and they will get Pete to send a photo back of him in a leotard!

They realised that I had fractured the back of my head, had a small internal bleed and bruising of the front of my brain so I needed very special treatment. They sent to me to Bristol Children’s Hospital in an ambulance (I might have gone in a helicopter, but it was not possible in the end due to the weather they tell me). Mum told me we were just about to drive off in the ambulance, had shut the doors, then the paramedics saw Daddy, Jack and Bella running. They quickly opened the doors and were able to see me lying all wrapped up on the stretcher and kissed me before we went off. When we got to Bristol hospital the ambulance got stuck in the roof of a tunnel. Oops. The doctor said ‘let’s get the patient out of here’. I was then taken to the trauma room. I was looked at and they said my neck and spine were ok, so my neck brace was taken off. While I was in the room, they put Peppa Pig on the TV. I remember I wanted Scooby Doo but because of the hospital computer virus Peppa was the only thing! It was quite calming. At 2.30am I was taken to HDU ward and they kept checking me all the time. I was talking quietly to my Mum to keep awake. My nurses were Lisa and Katy. The next day I had some important memory tests. The next night I went to another ward. I stayed there until Sunday. My nurses for the week on this ward were April, Levi, Carla, Tamsin, Vicky, Muna, Jess, Aimee, Katy, Karen, Becky, Nic. They had to do my obs every two hours night time and daytime and shine lights in my eyes, and give me medicines if I needed them. They kept a very close eye on me. Mr Edwards was my consultant, and also Mr Fellows. They were all great. They were concerned my bruised brain might swell so needed to keep observing me.

On Wednesday Mike and Kelly from Falcons gym came to visit me. I was so happy to see them. They brought lots of gifts and cards from all my gym friends.image000000 Mike showed me a very special video with lots of people on it. Ryan had done a beam routine for me which was really funny, and all my friends said get well soon.

The fantastic thing was that I had lots of video messages from many top GB gymnasts that I think are brilliant, like Claudia Fragapane, Ellie Downie, Gabby Jupp, Nile Wilson etc all saying my name and get well soon…to ME! Cool!

Mum was with me in hospital all the time. Sleeping next to me. Daddy was driving up to see me everyday. I worked out he has driven a total of 24 hours this week. I also had Sara and Andrea visit me, and on Thursday (Bella’s birthday) my sister, Bella and brother Jack came. We were so pleased to see each other and eat some birthday cake! We had lots and lots of hugs. All my other family have been helping out at home. Thank you!

On Friday I felt better and was well enough to go to the play room and there was a harpist. The music was beautiful. I had a go. I learnt to play Twinkle Twinkle little star (my mum said I WAS a star this week!)DSC_0999

I then had to have an MRI scan. It was a very big tunnel like ‘time machine’ and noisy. I kept very still for 10mins and fell asleep near the end. The man said I was the best person that day. I also had a chat with a neuro psychologist and mum and dad. That was helpful. I think he wants me to get better soon and to be an athlete again. ☺

I have had to rest but I’ve also been doing some painting (Demi in the hospital gave me some paints) and drawing and sewing in my bed and playing cards with mum. The pairs game is good for my brain. I kept beating mum – you see I gave a good brain! DSC_0964

One day I had a lady called Francesca do some maths games on the iPad with me for just a short time.

The food has been nice in hospital. I have had lots of cards and gifts and balloons from all my friends, teachers and my lovely family and it has been good to have my new phone so I could video call my best friends from school and gym.


On Saturday the consultant said my MRI was good. The internal bruising of my front brain was going down and was getting smaller. Great news. I was told I could plan to go home on Sunday. Yay! He said I would not be able to do gym skills for 3 months or so though, but that I will recover, this is just a blip in my life, and asked me which Olympics he should watch to see me competing! (I said 2024!) He liked my ‘I’d rather be doing gymnastics’ T shirt and found it funny.

The hospital has lots of Wallace and Gromit pictures and models everywhere. The lift is very funny, because Wallace talks to you.

Outside there are big rings that look like the Olympics rings. Each level is a different colour. My ward was 38 on the green level 5. The green was relaxing. I didn’t like orange it was too bright and I kept having to say to myself whether my eyes were OK. DSC_1005


Jack and Bella and Daddy came to visit me again on Saturday afternoon. We went to the play room for a while and made badges. There were only a few children there. Radio Lollipop station was in there. They played a song for Bella and said it was her birthday on Thursday. Jack and I had chance to be DJs. It was fun. Jack introduced a dedication to me, ‘Fight Song’, and I introduced the last song, ‘And the final song is ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ in 5,4,3,2,1’. Mum wanted to dance but I said no!


I’ve also had a fab video message from Imogen and members of the Amazons of the Amaluna show of Cirque du Soleil in London. I really really liked this. ☺

I think I have had a horrible accident (I’ve been told it is major head trauma) and I’m sorry my gym friends and coaches had to see it, and all my family have been upset by everything, but mum and dad tell me I have been so brave and coped brilliantly and kept calm and I’ve done everything I should in hospital staying as smiley and happy and as positive as I can.

This is Miss Unicorn 🦄 that I sewed while I was in hospital and will help me get better.DSC_1014

Thanks to all the brilliant paramedics, nurses and doctors, in Barnstaple and Bristol that have helped me. Thank you very very much.

It’s not all bad news…

Before the accident I heard some nice news that I had been shortlisted for a Devon Sports Awards 2017 in the section Performances in Community Sport.image-6137-orig (1)

JimW-Felicity Ayres 26
Picture By Jim Wileman

I think the others that were nominated are much older than me. I get to go to the awards night in Exeter on 30th June. I get to wear a dress! I was supposed to be filmed on Thursday, but that could not happen as I was in hospital.

I’d managed some new skills before I had my fall. So this is some good news! I hope I get to do them again one day.


Today I managed to visit inside the gym. I saw all my coaches and some friends. I was glad to go back after my hospital week away. I hope to pop back soon.
I won’t be able to do any gymnastics skills for 3 months or so which is going to be hard, frustrating and a bit upsetting. I need to rest now but when I can I want to keep doing some conditioning  and other gentle exercise, like swimming, to keep me fit and keep me happy. I know my brain must heal and another knock would be very very serious. I think I have been lucky and my injury could have been even worse. I think the time will go quite quickly and I am going to stay really positive. Maybe I can help out with the younger ones at gym too. I’d like that. Hopefully I will be doing what I absolutely love again soon. ☺

Fliss xxxxx


17 thoughts on “Bad news and Good news – May 2017

  1. Dear Fliss.
    You probably don’t know me but Mum does.
    I just wanted to say what an absolutely hero you are!!! To have had such horrible accident must have been so frightening. But then to still write your blog in such a positive way is very inspiring.
    You are very beautiful and special little fighter. You might have been knocked out but you will not be knocked down!!
    Wishing you a very speedy recovery and I am sure you will go far.


  2. It sounds like you’ve had quite an adventure. Not exactly the type of adventure you’d planned but an adventure nonetheless. You now need to give that very co-ordinated brain of yours a rest and then when you’re back out there doing back flips, this will have all been a slight hiccup on the road to stardom. xXx


  3. What a fab writer you are, Fliss! You’re doing so well and it’s great to see you up and about again. Be patient and kind to yourself and the time will come soon when you’re healed and back on your gymnastics journey. As my Nan always says: “It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry”. Enjoy your rest – use it to explore your creativity (and practice your recorder!!!! Music is great healing therapy.) Xxx


  4. Fliss, what an amazing young lady you are. 3 months will go by fast & you will be back flipping and spinning in no time. Take Care, sending you lots of love from Natalie, Erin & Isabel Wyeth (I know your mummy & we all used to have play dates when you were little). XXX


  5. What an inspiring person you are. Keep this blog coming over the next 3 months – being emotionally strong is even more important than your pretty amazing physical strength and flexibility. You’ve got this. Go girl. X


  6. You are an incredible little girl, so brave and positive. Your determination will get you through. Keep smiling.


  7. How inspiring this story is…as an ex GB development squad gymnast myself, and now a coach, I can tell your positive and amazing at attitude will get you far! Keep smiling, you’ll be back before you know it!


      1. Awe that’s lovely to hear! I’m sure you have a great number of people believing in you! I coach at Pipers Vale gymnastics club in the East 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

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