Skate, Skate, Glide

Dec 12 2010

Camille's tightrope continued throughout the early part of the week. Her CRP levels were indicating that she had an infection, yet her temperature had remained normal. With our Christmas Ball and a trip to Lapland UK coming up we really wanted her to keep at bay whatever was threatening.

We had Camille's bloods taken a few times early in the week, each time the infection indicator continued to rise; it was only a matter of time before she spiked. And so it happened, on Wednesday morning the temperature started to rise and peaked at 38.0c on the money. I guess it was fairly timely as forty-eight hours of antibiotics would allow Camille to get out of hospital on Friday before both the ball and Lapland. Hayley took Camille to the hospital and soon after I left for a meeting in Northampton.



I really hate an afternoon meeting; I just seem to struggle to get up for them, which is a bit of problem when you have to sound interesting for a couple of hours. When I got out of the meeting it was just after 4.00pm and I knew it was going to be a while before I could get to the hospital to relieve Hayley to get a bite to eat. My voicemail box was bulging with messages so I started to listen to them before breaking the news to her. First message was Hayley, "Can you phone me urgently please?" The call was timed at 2.30pm; something was up and I was bound to be in trouble for calling back so late.



The phone only needed to ring the once before Hayley picked up. It took even less time for Hayley to let me know the reason for her urgent message. Amos had called to say that we had been granted the funding for Proton Therapy and we would be off to America very soon for eight weeks. I was shocked; we'd been driven towards the belief that we were facing a rejection and a long hard battle to appeal. I instantly wept with joy and continued pretty much all the way home.



I had the benefit of popping over to Addenbrooke's on Thursday to see Amos, Harry, our specialist nurse and Gail the Radiotherapy consultant. There wasn't a huge amount of information that they could add at this stage but we just talked through the travel etc. They didn't expect that we would be going before Christmas but hearing stories from other families that have been out there; we may only get a few days notice.



I think it's important to pay a big chunk of gratitude to Gail who seemingly worked very hard petitioning the Proton panel to get us to Jacksonville.



Friday arrived and as we had hoped, Camille was allowed out of hospital around lunch time. This meant that Hayley and I were able to head off to the ball knowing that Hayley's mum would be at home with both kids. The evening worked out very well with 200 people dressed up and bidding on some fantastic auction items. We were also able to welcome the British Number One, Elena Baltacha as our guest after she donated to of our most amazing items.



We ended up raising in excess of £10,000, a great figure conceding we were forty people less than last year. I had been instructed by Hayley not to get too drunk as we had only just got Camille out of hospital. Unfortunately, my willpower was tested and broken by the goodwill and generosity of others. By the time our friend Bianca got behind the bar to serve up a rather nasty looking flaming Sambuca it was game over. Hayley was suitably cross and felt that divorce could well be an option as I slurred my way out of the door and into our friend June's car. I had always considered myself a charming drunk, one who is friends with all that exists. Hayley painted a very different picture as I hovered near Shanks for most of Saturday.



This afternoon we were lucky enough to be able to go to Lapland UK as a treat from the wonderful Samuel’s Children’s Charity and Samantha Read. We wrapped the girls up nice and warm because the weather in the North Pole is inclement to say the least. On arrival we pulled in to the rather muddy car pack, just at the same time that I noticed the message about appropriate footwear on the booking letter. My sensible shoes and Hayley’s heals were probably not what they had in mind, which was ever clearer as we squelched through to the entrance.


The place is wonderful for the children, from the plot line to the activities that are laid on. When you walk through the magical fairy forest trail to get to Lapland you go into the toy factory to help make a Pinocchio puppet, followed by a trip to Mother Christmas’s kitchen to help make Gingerbread Men. After a short break we were invited to ice skate on the rink in the middle of the village square. Lucia and Camille both took to the ice holding on to Penguins for dear life so that they didn’t go crashing to the floor. Hayley and I were surprised that Camille would give it a go, but she did, and I even think she enjoyed herself for a while.


The longer we were on the ice the more confident Lucia became and within minutes she was handing the Penguin skating aid to any other child that looked to be in trouble. We managed to drag her off the ice and were escorted through the forest where Father Christmas was positioned inside his little log cabin. The set was great and Father Christmas himself looked like the real McCoy, although I will say he had obviously had a long day as he wasn’t offering a lot of conversation. He did the dutiful thing and asked whether they had been good and what they wanted for Christmas. Lucia said that she wanted a few bits and pieces and Camille said that she wanted a kitchen. When Father Christmas offered Camille the token present of a fluffy Husky dog she broke down in tears screaming “I want a Kitccccheeeennnnnn!” The overworked (and probably underpaid) Father Christmas didn’t have a clue how to handle the situation and sat in complete silence while we quickly got the family photo and got out of Dodge.


With Christmas only thirteen sleeps away we are awaiting the call from Jacksonville to let us know when we need to be out in Florida. This time next week, we could be nearly on our way.