5,4,3,2,1, Happy New.....Oh Hello Mum!

Jan 3 2010

Many men would be bored of cold turkey and mash for the days following Christmas, but not I. In fact I bludgeoned through plates of the stuff with spoonfuls of Branston pickle...........

Many men would be bored of cold turkey and mash for the days following Christmas, but not I. In fact I bludgeoned through plates of the stuff with spoonfuls of Branston pickle. That was until my manfluenza that had shown itself on Boxing Day was confirmed by the doctor as tonsillitis. I did of course have to go through the rigmarole of phoning Swine Flu HQ in some far flung place where they have no pigs and therefore no fear of contracting the virus. “If Sir could answer these questions please, if you answer “Yes” to any of them then you need to call an ambulance straight away”. The heat was on, my slight temperature was now replaced by a cold sweat, uncontrollable convulsions and an even sorer throat. “Does the patient have any skin that has turned blue, especially around the lips?” As I scanned my post Christmas lunched body I could see no signs of blue, “No” I replied. “Is the patient finding it hard to breath?” Now I am! By the end of the call I was pretty sure that Swine Flu was not for me and I decided that a couple of minutes spent on a face to face appointment would root out my issue, which thankfully it has, and thankfully I haven’t got the pork based strain of flu.


Camille was due to go back into hospital in the early part of the week for a four to five day treatment of Chemotherapy, so again we followed the routine of phoning up the ward to check there would be a bed available and then making our way down in the afternoon. That would have been fine, but unfortunately the staff member had Camille’s confused with another little girl with a similar name and we were told that there was no room at the inn; had it been a few days before we could have pitched up in the neighbouring stable with some livestock, a few shepherds and a handful of wise men, but alas we had to go home. This again would normally have been fine if I hadn’t already left to make my doctors appointment back in Ipswich. So how does a mother and her child get back from Addenbrooke’s Hospital with no transport? They cadge a lift, that’s how. Another patient and his mum were heading back to Ipswich, so Hayley and Camille rode shotgun all the way back down the A14. We did make it back in on Wednesday and normal service resumed.


We had a long conversation with Amos on New Year’s Eve about what his vision of where the money raised by Camille’s Appeal could be best spent. It was really enlightening to hear that this country does not currently look to rehabilitate the Brain Tumour patient after treatment. So, as an example, Camille will go through chemotherapy, surgery and some form of radiotherapy at some point to clear the lump away from her head; the problem is all of these treatments are quite extreme forms of medicine and can have a profound affect on a child’s brain and there ability to learn in the way that we would expect from other children. However, it has been proved that adult Stroke victims can be rehabilitated to repair their brain by pure over-working of the damaged area. This should be the same for patients who have been cured of a Brain Tumour, but there is no centre or focus on this area of the child’s progression at all in this country until they maybe turn sixteen when it’s too late. We’re focusing very much on the under five’s so a child could go through eleven years of school without any necessary help and the over-stimulus that they require to move them forward as independent people. That’s the goal, that’s the dream.


On Thursday, two of our friends, Emma and Hayley had organised the first New Years Eve party in benefit of Camille's Appeal. I was able to attend but Hayley stayed with Camille in hospital and settled for a few drinks with other parents on the ward. The New Years Eve party was a really good night, the girls having done an amazing job to put the night together. It was generally a big group of family and friends and I think everyone had a great time. I will say one thing, and it's a testament to the people I have become friends with over the years, it doesn't matter whether I see them one week to the next, even year to year, I am lucky enough to be instantly comfortable around them like I see them every week.


It was like being a kid again, I had arranged for my Mother to pick us up from the venue at the end of the night, as let's face it, I'm too long in the tooth to be prancing around the countryside at 2.00am. True to form, many minutes before I expected my parents, a ghostly shadowy figure filled the door to the building; as soon as the disco balled sparkled an even line of lights across the balding crown, I knew my father was there ready to chauffeur us revellers home.


I felt pretty good on New Years Day and after a coffee and a bite to eat I set out to make it to Cambridge. Driving through the villages near my parents house I decided to take a little short cut towards the A14. However, the overnight snow had other ideas as my braking car continued at the same velocity in the same direction, away from my short cut; the long cut will be fine.


It was finally Saturday before we made it out of hospital, but not having to wait until 7.00pm for the final flush to go through from the Chemotherapy. Earlier in the day we had noticed a small amount of fluid coming from Camille's shunt scar similar to a few weeks before. We'd been waiting for the neurosurgeons to come down for seven hours when it was time to leave and a final call had revealed that we would be waiting at least another three. We spoke to the nurse and doctor, and promised we would be vigilant to any temperature or further oozing, but the scar looked clean, the fluid had not reappeared and Camille was fine.


We got home at 8.30pm after picking up a much needed Chinese from the local takeaway. Hayley was salivating by the time I mutilated the crispy duck and we set at the sweet and sour feast in double quick time. Camille was sick overnight, but this is not unusual after chemotherapy; I got up with the girls at our normal time but it was obvious that Camille was not 100%. She was dropping off at the table so I took her back up to Hayley to have a further nap and when I took her temperature, she was sporting a 39.0c spike. Less than 18 hours after leaving Addenbrooke's, we were back in hospital ready for another stay. A temperature automatically means 48 hours in, but we fear that she has a shunt infection, which could be a fair amount longer. I'm starting to get really concerned for Lucia, it just seems that everyday I get her up, get her ready, drop her somewhere and then find her when she's ready to go to bed again. I've promised her that I'll take her swimming at the weekend as she has been such a star, she was excited, I fear of the ridicule of the other spotty little kids laughing and pointing at my paunch.


So, here's to 2010. It must be better than last year, it must be better than this week.