Prawn Cracker?

May 16 2010

After such a difficult end to the previous week, Hayley and I entered into another week on the High Dependency Unit, deflated and in need of some good news. However, good news is hard to come by and it wasn't about to jump out at us. Camille was being fed all of her required fluids and nutrients directly into her veins, the levels of urea and creatinine in her blood inching ever upwards towards dialysis and who knows what else.

Hayley of course did not leave Camille's side, and although she looked far better and the infection indicator had started to head downwards, she was still a very poorly girl, sleeping for up to fifteen hours each night. Hayley was not really able to stay with Camille overnight as there was no provision for parents beds on the unit, but as with the previous week she slept with Camille on her bed with no questions being asked from the nursing staff. Life on the HDU is slow going especially when you are waiting on one set of blood results per day to determine how your daughter is doing. For the early part of the week, this daily occurrence brought with it nothing but disappointment as they at first continued to increase and then eventually levelled off.


It is a strain for Hayley and I during long stays at hospital like this one. We have now spent a total of twenty-fours at home together in three weeks and although we have seen a fair amount of one another, the atmosphere on the ward and with the events of the last week do not promote cheerful, positive conversation. As I have been spending most days at the hospital, including lunch and dinner times, I hadn't even considered popping into a supermarket to buy Hayley and ready meals or treats; I had just been going down to the concourse and buying food for the both of us as and when we wanted it. Even after Hayley had highlighted my failure to step up to the hunter gatherers role, I still continued to fail over the course of the next two days. Needless to say, she was not best pleased, and throughout Wednesday I struggled to get any sort of interaction out of her. The few words she did utter were curt and to the point, not wasting her breath using more words than were necessary. We swapped roles on Thursday night as Camille had finally moved on to C2 with Hayley still less than impressed with my support. It did hurt somewhat to hear the occasional utterance that I didn't care for what was happening; clearly the stress of the last week had taken its toll on Hayley, but caring was all I could do. The rest of me was numb. I'm sure there was more to it than just the lack of food supplies, as like always, my awkward use of jokes and ability to just be in the way had also not gone unnoticed either.


It was towards the end of the previous week that I decided to Google klebsiella, the infection type that Camille had come down with in her Hickman Line. At the point of research, Camille was still very unwell so I decided to keep the information under my hat. Only this week, when Hayley herself Googled the infection was I able to talk about it openly. Klebsiella is a extremely nasty infection, and according to the information that both Hayley and I had read independently of one another, it came with a mortality rate of 50%, 100% in alcoholics. Since June, when Camille was diagnosed, we have been shadowed by chances, rates and percentages looming over us and this time someone could have literally tossed a coin to decide whether Camille was to live or to die. I don't believe it was as simple as that, the doctors and nurses who cared for Camille during and after the worst stages of this infection, reacted with urgency and skill to ensure she was going to be OK. We now have to wait and see what lasting affect this episode will have on her treatment going forward. We potentially will be delayed by four to six weeks on any sort of treatment, that is assuming we can continue are current chemotherapy protocol.


As I lay in bed with Camille on Friday evening, I was contemplating how I could lose weight. I had now tipped the fifteen and a half stone mark for the first time and with current trends, I would be hitting a deuce by the time the turkey is served at Christmas. There is only one thing for it, my gym membership is going to be cancelled, and Sunday morning jogging is going to begin again. I have not stepped out on a Sunday morning since I completed the London Marathon thirteen months ago, but with my bum spreading quicker than an ash cloud I need to do something, and quickly. So, if you are driving the country roads around Ipswich on a Sunday morning and you witness the ungainly butt-cheek affected jog of an overweight man, please give me a friendly toot and a wave as I go off on my merry way eclipsing all light in my path.


Hayley arrived back just after lunch on Saturday and seemed a lot better. I should imagine just being able to get home for a day or two, to have a bath in her own bathroom or sleep a good night's sleep in her own bed would be enough to make her feel a lot more relaxed. That in addition to Camille's levels beginning to slowly drop towards “normal” levels. Just as the urea and creatinine levels had arced up, they had begun to arc downwards. By the time we received the levels today, you could see that it was going down at a similar rate to the increase a week or so before.


Last night, Lucia and I stayed at my cousin Stevie's house as it is just around the corner from Addenbrooke's and we need to consider how much money we actually spend on fuel getting too and from the hospital. With the petrol prices as high as they are at the moment, Hayley's car cost in excess of £20 to do the two way journey. That over a week is £140 in fuel alone, which is just not practical. We hadn't plan to stay at Stevie's house so Lucia was left wearing one of my t-shirts in bed but we more than made up for that by letting her tuck in to some noodles from the Chinese takeaway that we had ordered. Also, in an attempt to build some bridges with Hayley, we laid on a plate of Chinese and drove it over to the hospital for her.


A special mention needs to go out to three intrepid cyclists who today completed the 150 mile journey from Framlingham in Suffolk to Brighton. Thank you to James Gorniak, Stuart Lambert and Matthew Yeatts for such a mammoth effort and for all of the money you have raised.