Your Highness is Hurting My Hand

Nov 27 2009

On Monday morning I had the delightful task of going to Birmingham for a meeting. I was aware that Hayley was going to take Camille in to hospital....

On Monday morning I had the delightful task of going to Birmingham for a meeting. I was aware that Hayley was going to take Camille in to hospital to get her blood levels checked as we thought she may need a blood transfusion. I kept in touch with Hayley via text message throughout the meeting until she sent through a rather more concerning message; Camille was being kept in.

Whilst in hospital, Hayley had noticed a bubble of fluid on the top of Camille’s head above the shunt. She wiped it away only for another bubble to appear. The doctors at Ipswich were concerned that the shunt was leaking CSF (brain fluid), so the next step was CT Scan followed by a transfer to Addenbrooke’s. Mr Garnett reviewed Camille in the morning and was concerned that the shunt was infected and was going to have to operate to potentially extract the shunt, put in a temporary drain so that the infection could be treated with antibiotics before further surgery to insert a new one.

On Wednesday, Camille went up to the Neuro theatres for the sixth time. The procedure was simple for a man of Mr Garnett’s ability, so we expected a relatively short operation before going back up to get her. Two hours came and went, and I began to pace the room. As the time ticked towards the three hour mark we asked our nurse to give the theatres a quick call, and she was then being wheeled out. We expected the worst due to the amount of time she was up there so when we stepped out of the lift and through to recovery to see our little girl with the whole of her head wrapped in bandage we both automatically tried to spot the temporary drain. Luckily the bandage was purely there to give her some support and Mr Garnett had managed to go in and treat the infected area without the need to remove the shunt. Camille will continue on antibiotics now for a few more days in hospital before her next chemotherapy session starts next week. Camille remains upbeat, lively and improving.

Whilst Camille and Hayley have been in hospital, I’ve had the opportunity to cast my cultured eye over the artwork sent over from Baterby’s in the US. I must say, the three pieces are amazing and although there is some detail available I have asked if they could help me out with a bit more background; the last thing I want to do is under sell these wonderful donations.

Thursday night was also going to be my first night away on business since Camille was diagnosed, and this one was a little special. I had been invited to a conference to present to a large group of people on the Friday but also to attend the conference ball on the Thursday night at The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. My colleague Simon joined me, and we began to walk from our hotel, The Rubens, around Buckingham Palace to get to Hyde Park corner. The Dorchester has about six car parking spaces at the front, and on this occasion each of them were filled by the newest, shiny and expensive Rolls Royce cars. The lobby was equally grand and as we asked a Bell Hop for directions to the Ball Room I noticed an Egyptian prince (he may have just been minted) enjoying an evening drink in the seated area.

The Ball Room was equally as grand and as we arrived we were ushered into the VIP area as I was a guest speaker. Free champagne, yes please. A rather well dressed gentleman approached me on more than one occasion, “More Champagne Sir?” Is it rude to say no? I decided not to rock the boat and accepted his kind offer. The special guest for the evening was HRH Prince Michael of Kent and to my surprise he was shown into the VIP area along with Simon, me and the champagne. His Royal Highness had a pretty fearsome handshake and combined with the stern grimace on his face I was of the opinion that he either didn’t like the cut of my jib or really wanted to be back at the palace watching “I’m a Celebrity”. The food and the event was wonderful and a truly amazing experience. I must also name and shame Simon for a little trick he does at black tie events. Simon can’t tie a proper bow tie so wears the standard clip on like the majority of us do. However, at the end of the evening, he takes off his clip-on and extracts a proper bow tie from his pocket just so he can drape it around his neck like a skint high roller.

The day after I had to present at Peter Mandelson’s government department building, which again was a wonderful experience. Just outside on the opposite side of the road the Iraq War Enquiry was in full swing. As I left for Westminster tube station I was the one person who had to take a picture of Nicholas Witchell with my mobile phone. Pillock.

I headed straight back to Cambridge after getting off the train and as I drove along the A14 “Fix You” by Coldplay came on the radio. Just hearing this song took me back to June; I remember that after the doctor at Ipswich had broken the news to us about Camille’s condition, I kept repeating through the tears “She’s broken, she’s broken”. It seems strange, but the lyrics ending in “I will try to fix you” reminded me of that time and I spent most of the journey crying in the car. Generally, I’ve managed to organise my thoughts and feelings pretty well over the past few months and focus on positives. Apart from the early days I’ve pretty much kept it together, but twice in recent weeks I’ve broken down and it’s silly little things that can trigger me off. That song has never been significant to me and not one that I would go out of my way to listen to, but now that song will always be the song that takes me back to June 2009 and explains my feelings that all I want to do is fix my broken little girl.