Ewe Essay!

Feb 22 2011

Soon after writing last week’s blog, Hayley loaded Camille into the car once again and made the 250 mile trip up to Alder Hey for her stitches to be removed and a final CT scan to ensure that Camille was fine to fly. The plan was that Mr Mallucci would arrive at the hospital around lunch time to take a look at that scar and scans and give his approval; I would then book the flights.

Things do not always work out as planned; Camille’s stitches were taken out by Stefano who had to but back in a few dissolvable stitches as the wound had not completed healed. Secondly, Stefano had gone down to the CT suite with Hayley and Camille to have a look at the scan as soon as it was completed; he revealed to Hayley that a small air bubble remained. He felt that this would be OK to fly but wanted Mr Mallucci’s opinion before authorising us to go.


As Hayley wanted to set-off on the long journey home, she left leaving my number for Mr Mallucci to call once he had had chance to look at the scan; his opinion was also that Camille was clear to fly even with the scan showing that last small air bubble. I booked the flights and we were off!


Hayley was more than pleased to hear that I had gone for the 11.15am flight from Gatwick rather than the more reasonable 13.00pm flight. The taxi company wanted to leave at 5.15am, but Hayley (with my full support) overruled and we left at 6.00am. It actually worked out pretty well as we arrived at Gatwick exactly three hours before the flight time; however, I was nipped up from time to time as the M25 threatened to snarl up and block our beeline to the airport. We obviously went straight over to the Virgin desk to check-in. Most people these days check-in online, but because of Camille’s medicine and feed needs, we hang back and check-in on site to see if we can get the bulk head seats. I think we may have got there a little too late on this occasion as a very concerned looking Virgin employee had to go off upstairs to “find our seats” whilst we stood waiting patiently in the terminal building. On return, she was pleased to tell us that there were no seats in the whole cabin for us so we would have to be bumped up to the bigger seats at the front. The only issue was that we were still going to be separated with my seat being a couple of rows back from the girls.


The plane journey was OK although it seemed like a lifetime in the air. The girls didn’t have as much space on this journey ironically, as the plane was full with holidaymakers stealing an extra few days before half-term started in the UK. On landing, we had the joy of going through US immigration once again; the look on the guards face when he asked the questions “when was the last time you here?” and “how long are you here for?” He looked like he was going to jump the desk, pin me face down against the floor and start screaming for back-up. We explained what we were in the US for and the red complexion of his tense little face began to fade before he let us through to claim our bags. Now, it wasn’t long before the good old US “front” was being displayed whilst we travelled from the gate to the main terminal building. A rather smiley looking American lady and her smiley looking teenage daughter tapped Hayley on the shoulder to ask what was wrong with Camille and then proceeded (whilst still grinning) to say “Oh god bless you, god bless you all. You all have a great time in Florida”. We nearly blessed her face into the automatic doors before they opened, but being pacifists (well I can only speak for myself) I left her with a furious looking smile and a chuckle goodbye; damn!


This time I tackled the drive up to Jacksonville directly from Orlando Airport. I thought that getting the earlier flight would give me the opportunity to get up the coast before I finally flagged. We got there, but I must admit, it was a struggle in the end. Hayley and the girls had been really worrying about going back to our bug invested apartment, so much so that in recent weeks we had organised a viewing of another apartment with the idea of moving as soon as contractually possible. On arrival at Bugsville, I was sent in first to assess the situation before the girls would even poke a little toe through the door. As I opened the front door my eyes scanned the living room floor…….none, pheww. How about the kitchen……one, two, three…..four, but all dead from Luisa’s (our landlady) poison traps. The bathrooms…..one belly up on the floor and that was that. Hayley and the girls eventually ventured in and immediately expressed their wish to get out of their as soon as possible. The challenge was on, we needed an apartment as soon as physically possible, clean with no bugs.


The following day we viewed an apartment in the morning that wouldn’t be ready for a couple of weeks; well, the company could only show us the example apartment which didn’t fill us full of confidence. We’ve now found a great apartment that we could actually look around which fits the bill perfectly, we move at the end of the week. Phew!


Camille had her CT simulation the day after we arrived at the Proton Therapy Institute so that Dr Danny could do his planning before he was due to head off for paternity leave early this week (his wife went into labour over the weekend so our timing was impeccable). We also found out that our treatment would not begin until the 1st March, leaving us with another week to entertain ourselves in Bugsville. Luckily, my friend Simon and his family were heading down to the Keys for the half-term week so we had arranged to meet them somewhere in between for the weekend; after reading about Miami’s reputation for gobbling up non-Hispanic tourists, we lumped for Ft Lauderdale just up the coast.


It was incredibly busy this weekend due to it being President’s Day and because it is so cold in the North. We stayed at the Hilton at Ft Lauderdale Marina, which was fantastic. The rooms were clean, well equipped and ours had a great view down the intracoastal canal to millionaire’s row. The pool area was also fantastic; the pool wasn’t the biggest but it was enclosed with a decked area with a large outside bar and some exclusive yacht moorings where guests could park up for their stay. The moorings were situated on one of Ft Lauderdale’s many canals, giving it the name “The Venice of America”. It was beautiful, and although the beach was lovely it wasn’t the defining feature of the city, it was definitely the canals and the mega-properties that brushed the waters edge that made Ft Lauderdale spectacular. We had a great weekend and enjoyed the company of Simon and his family, Lucia especially enjoyed the company of Simon’s teenage daughters, she wouldn’t leave them alone and already misses them.


We travelled back up the coast yesterday, stopping at Cocoa Beach on the way back for lunch. This was not so nice, in fact it was a bit of a dump. We soon got out of Dodge and headed back to Bug Towers. Ah home sweet home!