Snow Joke

Dec 5 2010

The week started with Camille and Hayley in hospital after a weekend of dropping in and out of the ward to get regular doses of antibiotics. The hospital couldn’t narrow down what had caused the problem in the previous week, but with Lucia, Hayley and myself all falling foul of the sniffles, or in my case “manfluenza”, I think it was fairly obvious.

This week was Camille’s last week of chemotherapy in the current cycle. The plan is to give another round of chemotherapy before giving Camille another scan; probably the most important scan to date. On Tuesday I set off for Kent as the snow began to fall; at the same time Hayley was battling through to Addenbrooke’s for treatment. It does seem a little strange that even in the most unusual situations, our local hospital are not able to offer the chemotherapy drugs,  but that’s the way things are, so it is up to us to get Camille to Cambridge, over hell or high water.


The snow was falling pretty hard but I didn’t think that the roads were too bad until I arrived in south Essex where the traffic stopped and suddenly and steadily the roads became covered around me. After five hours and only getting as far as Dartford, it was time to turn around and come home. Hayley’s journey was somewhat easier on Tuesday as inland wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the East coast, but it only takes one accident to cause a multi-hour delay.


Clearly things didn’t get any better as the week went on with Hayley tackling the snow on both Wednesday and Thursday.  The roads were really bad on Thursday when she set off and having driven the same route a couple of hours before, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had taken the choice to turn around and go home. Clearly, that is a decision that oncology parents don’t like to do; missing treatment is not an option for so many of us. I had left the house at 5.30am on Thursday morning to drive to Bournemouth; the roads near my house were completely snow covered and really slippery, this included the A14, which was terrifying. I too faced the choice of whether to come home or not, but having taken the decision to avoid the east coast and head inland, by the time any sense of danger had crept into my head, the snow had cleared a little and so I carried on the 240 mile journey to the south coast. Bournemouth hasn’t seen snow like it in forty or so years with the temperature plummeting to -5°c and morons like me skating around in my slick shoes, grabbing hold of any signage or fixed structure to prevent me from hitting the deck like a cartoon character.

Hayley and the girls had gone out Thursday night for our sister-in-law’s birthday meal, but when they left the restaurant the snow was so bad she had to leave the car there and make other plans to get home. On any normal situation this would have been fine, but Camille’s temperature started to rise in a way that would normally result in a stay in hospital. So, Hayley kept Camille in her bed, taking her temperature every hour or so just to ensure she didn’t spike. If Camille did spike the only thing Hayley could’ve done would be to call an ambulance. Luckily Camille didn’t spike but bloods taken on Friday revealed that she did have a high infection indicator and also low red blood levels and platelet count. This meant that Camille and I spent five hours in hospital on Friday night having blood transfusions. It also meant that for the whole weekend we have been on temperature alert.


We’ve made it to Sunday night without any high temperatures. After Hayley’s late night temperature monitoring session on Thursday night, last night it was my turn.  After trying to stay up to watch an hour or so of the Ashes, I ended up setting my alarm for every hour to check Camille’s temperature; by the time morning came, I felt shattered.


We did receive a request from Addenbrooke’s this week for us to meet the radiotherapist at the hospital to discuss Camille’s next stage of treatment. Although we are still without an answer from the Proton panel, Amos wanted to get us at least in conversation with the radiotherapy team. We get the impression that Amos is trying to ready us for not being accepted for Protons; only time now will tell.


Camille’s eye is still pretty red from the infection. It’s been four weeks now and it really doesn’t seem to be getting any better. This coincided with Camille’s next ophthalmology appointment coming through the post, scheduled for March. I think we may be requiring some more urgent attention than that.


Next week is also our Christmas Ball. We’re really hoping that Camille stays temperature free for at least that long so we can have a trouble free evening.