Hot Nut Envy

Jun 13 2010

Gradually now, day by day, we are getting closer to being able to continue with Camille’s treatment. The early part of this week Hayley spent in Addenbrooke’s with Camille undergoing numerous tests so that Amos can gain an understanding of how much the chemotherapy and the Klebsiella has affected her.

On Monday it was the hearing test and at this time there doesn’t seem to be too much damage to this particularly function, only maybe at the very top end high pitched noises; noises only useful when training your dog. This was quite a relief, as it is not just the chemotherapy drugs that can damage the hearing function, the antibiotics she was being given to clear the infection also have their risks. The rest of the week was spent building up for the main event on Friday….. and no I don’t mean the World Cup. Friday was also the day that Camille was to have a new Hickman Line inserted. We had been told midweek that Camille had been added to the afternoon list for surgery and so she could eat up until 6.30am and then it would be nil by mouth. So we arrived at the hospital mid-morning and sat and waited for the time when we would be called up.

Whenever you get advised of a time to arrive at hospital, you may as well add an hour and a half to that time before arriving as you can be guaranteed that you will be sitting in the waiting area for a considerable time with nothing happening except the slow click of the second hand on the clinically white NHS clock. Camille doesn’t take boredom well and insisted on being pushed around the room in a plastic Fire Engine to kill time. The afternoon list for theatres begins at 1.30pm; at 1.50pm the Australian anaesthetist came down to visit us and another little boy who was having the same procedure. I felt an automatic bond with the old Cobber as for the next month I will be pretty much a native Australian having drawn them in the office World Cup sweepstake. However, he didn’t seem too impressed when I called him a “flamin’ galah”. He went through the normal list of questions to ascertain whether Camille  was fit for her anaesthetic and let us into the secret that the surgeon was only then about to start the list and Camille was second on. It would be at least 3.00pm before we got called up to theatres.

The World Cup kicked off at 3.00pm that afternoon, so as I sat next to Camille’s bed, feet up, eyes glued to the pay per view television, Hayley and Camille went back to the play area in the waiting room. The sound of the phone broke my concentration soon afterwards and I just made out that it was the theatres notifying the nurses that Camille was then going to be collected for her operation. I went out to tell Hayley and as Camille ran back to her bed she tripped on her theatre gown and fell face first into the floor, smacking her forehead on the way down. Instantly a massive bruised lump rise from her head and instantly the nurses were questioning whether she should go up for the operation. Amos was summoned and after a quick inspection she was ready to go.

I’ve said it before, but watching your child get put under using the gas mask is a truly horrifying experience. The fear in Camille’s eyes is haunting, the distress is unsettling and the time it takes for her to fall asleep is thirty seconds too long. When she did go under, we were shepherded out and given a pager so we could be notified when she was ready. It wasn’t long before she was out, accompanied by a brand new set of Wiggleys. Soon after waking up, she was down on the ward eating some Quavers and pretty much ready to get home. Just as we were waiting for her feed to finish, we saw the father of a little girl, Mia, suffering with an aggressive form of Leukaemia. Unfortunately Mia had not been able to fight off this horrible illness and her parents were faced with one horrible outcome. He looked so tired; tired like he had been up all night for the last umpteen nights crying and wondering “why us”. Like many parents in this situation, they had tried to find faith and had visited the hospital chapel many times in an attempt to plead to a higher being, but now his faith had gone and it was replaced with anger. How could anyone do this to a little baby who only turned one just days before? I can completely understand his feelings, my faith is not with a higher being and it is with Amos, Mr Garnett and the NHS. This morning Hayley received a text from Mia’s mum; their little princess had lost her fight. Hayley and I shed a tear for Mia and her brave parents, this little girl didn’t deserve this, she was lovely.

It’s impossible to know what to say to parents who have lost a child. It’s also hard to form bonds with people on the ward because although there are some great success stories, there are inevitably a few tragedies.

This week was nearly made even more complicated when I received a phone call on Thursday night from my mother. My father had collapsed whilst working behind the bar at the social club he loves. He was immediately taken to A & E at Ipswich Hospital and mother was following in her friend’s car. My parents have been amazing, probably forever, but certainly since Camille was diagnosed. Their basic need to be reliably by our side has enabled us to focus on Camille and not have to worry about the normal day to day grind. The doctors were unable to get to the root of the problem but later on that night he was discharged and able to go home for days upon days of rest. They will tomorrow be there for us again by picking Lucia up from school, but if I thought they would have it any other way I would have found another solution for Lucia tomorrow; they need a rest, we all need a rest.

We finished the weekend at our friends Zoe and Matt’s house for a barbeque. You always find that the standard protocol for these events is for the nibbles to be placed on the table early to build your appetite for the main event. Unfortunately, I’m a pig. If there is a nibble within reaching distance then I will be dipping my hand into the bowl in an almost mechanic regularity. Today, Zoe had put out some Sensations (great), Olives (nice) and some Hot Chilli Nuts. It’s been some time since I last tasted the spicy crunch of Hot Nuts and after sampling one I couldn’t stop. Everywhere I went in the garden the Hot Nuts would appear before me, whispering to me, “Eat me Martin, feel my spice”. I of course did the honourable thing and left a few Hot Nuts in the bottom of the bowl so as not to be labelled as a complete pig by our fellow barbequers, but whilst pushing Camille on the swing I noticed Zoe’s other friend Sarah dipping her hand into my Hot Nuts. I instantly lunged forward with Hot Nut envy, but before I did something embarrassing like wrestling her to the ground, I realised where I was and made a joke of it. Really, deep down, every crunch was viewed with HOT NUT ENVY.