Come Together

Dec 27 2009

Picture the scene; Lucia wakes up with the crack of dawn on Christmas morning spotting the swelling stocking hanging from her door handle. She skips through to Mummy and Daddy's bedroom to announce that our midnight visitor had been........

Picture the scene; Lucia wakes up with the crack of dawn on Christmas morning spotting the swelling stocking hanging from her door handle. She skips through to Mummy and Daddy's bedroom to announce that our midnight visitor had been and delivered presents for everybody. We then gather Camille up from her slumber to open the living room door where beautifully wrapped presents gleamed under the sparkling tree....... Would have been nice wouldn't it.


Let me take you back to the previous day. We had an early morning appointment at the hospital to see our special nurse Mary for Camille's bloods to be taken before Chemotherapy on Tuesday. Camille had seemed a little under the weather since she woke up, and threatening a temperature. Our fears were compounded when Mary took her under arm temperature, showing a 38.1 degree result. There was no alternative, no options, just 48 hours in hospital and Christmas under the hospitality of the wonderful staff at Ipswich Hospital.


As soon as Mary had taken the necessary samples for the labs, Camille was shown to her room for the next two days as we let the family know. Hayley's view of the situation was pretty much what we were all feeling, “a crap end to a crap year”.


We were all due to go to the Rock n Roll Pantomime at the Wolsey Theatre that afternoon with Hayley's sister and family. Hayley and I drew lots to see who would take Lucia to the show as both of us were Pantomime virgins with less than positive ideas of what the content would be. So, as so often happens in our marriage, my straw was somewhat shorter than my wife's (I don't know how she does it) and Lucia and I skated out of the hospital and over to the venues.


The stage was relatively impressive and as we had the back row, the kids were able to stand and more importantly I was able to people watch. Families, couples and parties filed through the door and took their places in the audience. Just as I let my eyes assess the set once more, my eyes darted back to a couple walking through the entrance down to our left; the jumper being fashioned by the spectacled gentleman was something straight out of Shakin Steven's wardrobe from his 1980's Christmas chart toppers, jumpers that he had swiftly bagged up and sent to his local charity shop. As I squinted through the stage lighting and the dusk of the cheap seats I noticed that our knitwear sporting friend was the Rt Hon Chris Mole MP for Central Ipswich. If Labour were struggling for votes in the area before he appeared in public wearing something from the Last Christmas video, they would certainly be struggling now. Perhaps I should Tweet Sarah and let her know.


My fears of cheesy jokes and deep audience participation were quickly diminished by what was actually a really good show. The jokes all had adult undertones which were actually funny and the show was full of live music played by the cast. I would actually strongly recommend that you go to this show. The star of the show was the guy playing Widow Twanky; he seemed to really enjoy what he was doing and you can understand why so many celebrities jump onto the boards during the festive period. I can't speak for all pantomimes but this one was really good. I'm not sure if Lucia thought it was as good because it was probably thirty minutes to long for under fives, but nevertheless she did like the monkey.


That night we had a lot to sort out, because even though we were in hospital, Hayley's side of the family were going to use our house for the Christmas celebrations. We also had the complications of where Santa was going to deliver the girl's presents. After some swift thinking it was decided that we would get “Santa” to drop Camille's presents to the hospital and Lucia's would be placed carefully under our tree. With a little bit of help from a very helpful Uncle Shane-ta, we managed to bag up all of Camille's presents and deliver to the ward while Camille was asleep.


We had heard from the nurses that we may be able to take Camille home for a few hours the next day as she would be off the IV drip between 12.00pm and 19.00pm. We'd also decided that I would do the Christmas night stay at the hospital as Hayley was doing New Year's at Addenbrooke's. So that night, after I had done my chores, I un-boxed The Beatles Rockband. Picture the scene, 22.30pm and I am sitting in my living room twanging the fake guitar like I was playing the Ed Sullivan show. Minutes later, I put the guitar down and start thrashing the drums like I am in charge of percussion at Shea Stadium, and then, after putting the drums away, I plugged in the Microphone to warble the classics as performed on top of the Apple building. If my neighbours could have seen me (which they may well have done) I think there could be a few people staring at the floor as we pass in the street.


Christmas morning, I wake up at the crack of dawn and twinkle toes it through to the Living Room to switch on the fairy lights for extra ambience. I tip toe back to bed and wait for Lucia to wake up knowing that I needed to get her presents bagged up and over to the hospital with us so that Camille wouldn't have long to wait to open hers. Forty-seven seconds passed before I started shaking her and shouting “Santa's been, Santa's been”. A weary eyed Lucia, looked up and saw the stocking attached to the door; she leapt forward and grasped the presents in a vice like grip. We then moved through to the Living Room to reveal the pile of her presents delivered by out portly friend that night. All was well until I had to explain to a four year old that she couldn't open any of them until we had taken them to the Hospital a mile down the road.


We arrived at the paediatric ward in double quick time and the girls began to bash through their presents. They both were very lucky, and I was pleased that all of this rubbish was going to be dumped in a Hospital bin. Hayley's boots hadn't arrived in time for Christmas which was a bit of a sore point, even though we both ordered our own presents, I obviously didn't not order her present early enough.


We did manage to get home for those six or seven hours which was perfect really. The food whipped up by the guys was awesome and as I was due to be back at Hospital later in the day, I was sober for the first Christmas since I was Twelve (only joking – Thirteen). Half way through the day Hayley's Mum suggested that she could stay at the Hospital that night, in fact she was happy to do it. I kept saying “no” as I really should have taken that role on. Over time, I started to think about it, and Camille would be asleep, so would the Mother-in-law, perhaps it wouldn't be so bad. With thirty minutes to go before we had to get her back I finally buckled and did the non-honourable thing. Yes, I took Camille back to the hospital accompanied by my Mother-in-law and after a couple of hours I came back home again. I do feel slightly ashamed of myself but in theory they would have both been asleep by 21.00pm. At 23.30pm, Camille was playing her last game of Pee-Bo with a rather tired Nanny.


We skipped back to the hospital early in the morning and got out around lunchtime. Finally home, and Christmas finished. The first thing I did on Boxing Day once we had secured our release was to order the girls bunk beds; I believe my dear friends, we are in grave danger of unscrupulous behaviour from our little chickens at bedtime for some months to come.


I sit here suffering from manfluenza, seriously concerned that Camille is going to get this and end up in Hospital again prior to her next Chemotherapy session.