Back to the Old Routine

Nov 21 2010

This week was the week that Camille started back on chemotherapy, a week that we didn’t want to come around again, but nonetheless, something that we knew had to happen. The thing is, life isn’t as simple as we’d like, it’s almost like somebody, somewhere, enjoys making life as complicated as possible.

Camille had been on antibiotic eye drops over the weekend as she had managed to contract yet another infection in her right eye which had made it incredibly blood shot. The eye drops had to be given every two hours and Camille hated it, even though we’re pretty sure she couldn’t feel a thing due to the facial palsy she’s experienced since the operation at Alder Hey. The palsy has caused no end of problems in recent days with Camille constantly chewing her lips and scraping her nostrils. Most mornings when she wakes up, the pillow and sheets are covered in blood, and her face looks like she has been in a fight. The lip chewing got so bad that by Thursday she looked like a guppy, her lips so swollen that she couldn’t help but fiddle with them. I did take her to Ipswich Hospital to see if she could get a mouth guard, something that had been mentioned by Amos during the week. Alas, Ipswich Hospital couldn’t help us and all we could do was to encourage Camille that biting lumps out of her mouth was probably not such a good idea.


So, chemotherapy was to start on Tuesday. As we all lay in bed on Tuesday morning the phone rang and I sprang into life to answer the call. It was just after 7.30am and I was still fast asleep so the alarm call was probably well timed. As I answered it, a panicked voice was heard at the other end of the line. It was Hayley’s sister and something had happened to their mother. Hayley’s mum was due to look after Kristen’s little boy that morning and when she hadn’t turned up Kristen went around to her house to see what the problem was. Kristen found her mum lying on the bathroom floor, immediately thinking that she had suffered a stroke or heart-attack; I guess in hindsight it was always going to have been a hypo that caused the collapse, her mum has suffered from diabetes for a long time and never managed to control her sugar levels. Hayley jumped into action and before I could blink she was out of the door and over to the house where the paramedics were already working on her mum.


They were all rushed to hospital and after some considerable effort from the paramedics and doctors, she was awake and beginning the process of getting better, something that was going to take quite some time. Hayley suggested that she take Camille to Addenbrooke’s for her chemotherapy later that day, but given the circumstances I thought it best that Hayley stayed with her mum and let me take Camille; I didn’t have any meetings so it made much more sense. We got over to Cambridge and back in pretty quick time so that we could pick Lucia up from school; the Etoposide is a bit milder for Camille than the original “baby brain” concoction that she was on in the early days. After three doses, she has breezed through the week, but the accumulation of weeks on chemotherapy, are sure to take their toll on our little girl.


The week wasn’t so run of the mill for Hayley; clearly the panic of what happened to her mum and then the rest of the week jumping from a chemotherapy session at Addenbrooke’s, straight over to Ipswich Hospital to see her mum. She was and still is shattered and probably seen enough of hospital wards to last a lifetime. It was interesting the difference that Hayley described in adult wards compared to the children’s wards that we have become so accustomed to. The staff on adults wards are probably used to dealing with difficult patients (not that my mother-in-law was difficult J) and duly deal with them by not giving them an inch. In fact, you might say that they actually deal with adult patients like children.


On Friday night Hayley’s mum was set free from the hospital and for the time being, until her bloods are a little more under control, she will be living with us. We have a top floor that’s not being used at the moment due to our girls wanting to be closer to us during the night. Hayley is also the perfect “warden of insulin” and unlikely to give her mum an easy ride, until her bloods are as constant Pi.


On a lighter note and I promised Hayley that I would spill the beans; I’ve started running again after weighing in at a rather cumbersome weight. So, Saturday morning, Hayley skipped out of bed to encourage me out onto the cold streets. Unprepared, I hesitantly donned my shorts and t-shirt and left the house through the side door hoping that our neighbours wouldn’t see me wobbling down the road like Nellie the Elephant. I only did two miles, but having not run for a considerable time I felt like I had travelled ten. Imagine my surprise when Hayley came downstairs on Sunday with a wry smile on her face suggesting I go out again. I declined as my little legs felt a bit sore from the previous day’s activity. Hayley called me a “wuss”, I preferred to be thought of as heroically wounded.