The Mortgage

Aug 6 2009

My night in hospital clearly had an effect on my memory as I blatantly missed an important point or two from my previous blog.

On Monday afternoon, our Special Oncology Nurse from Addenbrookes came to visit Hayley and I at Ipswich Hospital in order to be a soundboard for any concerns we have so far. I do think that the care we have received to date from Addenbrookes has been superb, and they really do go out of their way to help as much as they can. The final thing that she did before leaving was to hand us a letter detailing the date and time for the first MRI scan. This scan will give us some indication of how the Chemotherapy is affecting the tumour, if at all, and that remains now our biggest fear.

Unfortunately the date in early September was all too familiar; it was Lucia's birthday, and certainly a day that we would not want to have such an emotional meeting at Addenbrookes . The MRI will of course be rearranged and a follow-up date is yet to be organised, but knowing that the scan is just around the corner has made me feel a little uneasy.

All in all, my night at hospital went quite smoothly; from time to time a nurse would appear to check Camille's temperature or give her antibiotics, but I actually got a pretty good nights sleep. Hayley arrived in the morning at about 8.00am and Camille hersef had barely woken up.

Tuesday morning we had to venture over to another building for Camille's first audiology test. Some Chemotherapy drugs can affect hearing, so it is important for the hospital to monitor Camille over the entire protocol lasting the full year. It is likely that they will re-test her every eight weeks or so, but as a starting point the top end high notes at a low volume were already a problem for her. It is unclear whether this issue was there previously or has been caused by the first Chemotherapy session, either way, that is now the benchmark and each test will be compared against her score. If anyone has sat through an Audiology test you will know that it is quite bizarre; firstly Camille is sat at a table playing with some toys, at a right angle to her left is a big black box and a lady standing behind. The lady plays a noise of differing tones and volumes and if Camille looked at the box, an animal would appear. The one she missed, Hayley and I could hear, but she was being distracted by toys, so I'm not that surprised she missed it. The more worrying or heart-breaking element of the test was the level of Camille's shakes while she was playing with the toys.

Soon after lunch we were set free to go home, and thank goodness for that. We need to be prepared for this short stays at Ipswich Hospital for infections (in theory they could happen every two weeks), but there is nothing like getting home. Before we left Camille had her cannula removed, so fo r the next few days until we head back to Addenbrookes next week, Camille is tube free, except for her NG tube.

This week has also seen Hayley's birthday come and go. It was a hard day to know what to do; Hayley herself was not in any mood to celebrate, enjoy or relax on her birthday. The planned course of Chemotherapy was due to finish on Hayley's birthday next year, this meant for me, rather than celebrating this year, I am looking a year forward to be able to celebrate more than we have ever been able to do before.

Finally, looking at the infections Camille has had and the Chemotherapy plan taking up 75% of our time, I would love to be able to concentrate everything on caring for Camille (Lucia and Hayley) without the diversion of work, but with a large mortgage and bills it is just not a possibility. All week I've been racking my brain of ways to acquire £250k or so, not surprisingly without any success. I don't know any rich people who would see the importance of my devotion, or know any ways to bag the Lottery jackpot.