Saturday, 30 June 2012

two dozen

Today is the 24th anniversary of our first wedding. 
I really want to celebrate this, the fact that C has taught me everything I know about loving and being loved, the beautiful things – gardens, homes, animals, numerous numinous moments of joy and laughter – that we have created, or cared for, or both, and all the tenderness and natural beauty we have enjoyed together. And the way I would celebrate is in words and pictures, but right now, a rare burst of sunshine and C woke up feeling better than she has for months, so we're off to make more memories, or simply to drift in the infinite present, poised and immortal, so it's going to have to wait.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Coming home

C finally had her procedure on Friday, and according to the consultant, it went as well as they could have wished: C is certainly feeling, and indeed looking, much better for it. They fitted two stents in the 'biliary tree' (which I had not heard of before) and another, four inches long, in her duodenum. They have listened to C, have taken in account her two wishes to see out this summer – should it ever begin – and never to have to come in to hospital for further restenting. The position of the duodenal stent means they will not be able to replace the biliary stents should they fail again, so they have taken a belt and braces approach to the latter.

C is staying in hospital over the weekend as they wean her off the syringe driver that has been delivering round the clock anti-emetics and morphine, but the current plan is for us (my friend Phil is coming to stay at Sandford tonight) to go and break her out after tomorrow, at which point I'm hoping the medical stuff will be replaced by more pretty pictures...

Friday, 8 June 2012

another bulletin

C did not have her procedure on Wednesday because the equipment broke down. This means that three times in the space of the past six days, she has been kept nil by mouth for up to 12 hours or more (that's no water either, not kind for someone with a disease that leaves her dry-mouthed at the best of times) without any result. The hospital has simply failed her in their duty of care, despite the best efforts of the nursing staff and some of the doctors, and after her experiences there this time and last time, I'm convinced she will never go in again.
She was due to be the first patient treated this morning, and we hope she will be back home by Monday at the latest.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Just popped home to water the plants (as if they need it in this weather...) get more clothes, cancel things, etc. They are going to replace Chip's biliary stent today in an endoscopic procedure, and I hope do something about the stricture on her duodenum which is the reason she's puking so often: I don't know whether this stricture is caused by the growth of her pancreatic tumour, which suggests a second stent just below the pyloric sphincter, or through inflammation of the pancreas as a result of an infection in the bile duct, which will be reversible with antibiotics.

In better news, there's no sign of growth in the secondaries she has on her liver, and no new lesions. All being well with the procedure today, she should be home by the weekend, to enjoy the monsoon.

Friday, 1 June 2012

What we did on our holidays & health bulletin

Yes we did have a lovely time in Hope Cove, until the last night, when C started to be very sick.  We had to get the duty doctor out to give her a stabilizing shot, and the giddy thing we would do on our 30th anniversary (see previous entry) turned out to be simply driving back home. She made it, though, without mishap, then virtually immediately began throwing up again. Since then she has been better for brief periods, but was significantly worse on Wednesday and yesterday, and she is now back in the Royal Devon & Exeter hospital. She was slated for an endoscopy procedure today, but was too ill, and will have it tomorrow: it's possible her stent has been blocked, or that there is an unspecified obstruction in her small intestine close to the point it leaves her stomach.

A week ago today we were both enjoying what we agreed was the best day's holiday we had ever had, drowning in beauty on the Devon coast: today, in the hospital, the conversation turned on euthanasia and funerals.

Her treatment has been complicated by the Retard Family's bunfight and attendant holidays, which have also cut off all local bus services from Saturday lunchtime to Wednesday morn, so I'm going to stay in my son's house in Exeter from tomorrow (he's off to Kent to house-sit for his Mum and Dad), meaning I'll have no access to the internet or my home phone for a while.

Anyway, here's some of the best of the 200-odd digital photos I took in the two days (as well as two 36-exposure films).

Our room had a balcony overlooking the beach

Hope Cove from the headland. The hotel we spent the first two nights is the large building on the right: on the third night we switched to one at a similar height on the opposite side of the Cove, which boasted a 10m swimming pool that we made full use of - C is an excellent swimmer
Here's one for those who wonder why I make so few appearances on this blog
Here's my darling on the South-West Coast path, sunning her knees and enjoying the lovely,
if incongruous, sight of an exposed headland smothered in bluebells
What though my wing├Ęd hours of bliss have been,
Like angel-visits, few and far between

Romantics cant resist a clifftop garden, glittering sea and the odd wild rock (see below)

sweet dreams, darling girl, sweet dreams