04-Oct-2015 Two Fingers

Yup, that’s pretty how much it feels right now.

Remember the old adage: “Don’t worry, it could be worse”? Well, we didn’t worry… and sure enough, it was worse.

First there was the cancer… and we think we dealt with it, and are still dealing with it, quite well.

Then there was the mini-stroke… and we think we’re still adapting and dealing with that reasonably well.

So what could possibly happen next? Well an extensive blood clot, that’s what.

Our wonderful physiotherapist, Kayleigh, was very pleased with the motion of Jimmy’s right index finger but was quite concerned that his right leg from calf down to toes was quite swollen, and tender and warm to the touch. To date it had been thought of as merely water retention. She said she didn’t want to worry us, and took a long intake of breath before saying it might even be “DVT”. So we asked the obvious question “What’s DVT? And should we be really worried? Deep Vein Thrombosis, that’s what… a blood clot. She got in touch with our GP surgery out of hours service, expecting them to send someone out to see me, but they couldn’t do that and we got a phone call resulting in Val having to go down and pick up a prescription for pills that would be prescribed if it did indeed turn out to be a blood clot, and that I should start taking them immediately.

The following morning the District Nurse called to take a blood sample – that was almost farce-like. Jimmy hates needles, and she was apparently the expert who dealt with people with fears and phobias. Well, it took her four goes, the last one with Jimmy clinging desperately to Val with his good arm while the nurse managed to extract from the bad one.

That afternoon we had a meeting scheduled with Angela, our Macmillan Nurse. She decided to find out if more could be done regarding physiotherapy and also said she’d put in a request for an electric reclining armchair so that Jimmy’s right leg could be elevated above hip level. Shortly after that we had an appointment with our GP to discuss the right leg and also review the medication regime – we ended up putting Jimmy back on the steroids and increasing his basic morphine tablets for pain management by 33%. We thought that was it for the day but later got a phone call from the out-of-hours team from the hospital lab where they had analysed the blood samples – was I in pain? Was I having trouble breathing? What medication was I on? Were there any other underlying medical conditions? Satisfied all was OK he then said that the indications were that there is indeed a blood clot and that my GP should get the leg scanned ASAP.

Next morning we got an early phone call advising us of an appointment that had been made that afternoon! We had planned to attend the last Positive Steps session in our course at St Oswald’s Hospice, but that was firmly bashed on the head when the radiotherapist announced “There is an extensive clot, and you should get back to your doctor immediately. I’ll fax my report to them and speak to someone”. We drove back to our local surgery and, of course, they had no record of any fax and we were invited to wait in the waiting room… and wait we did until a GP came out and said he had seen the fax and advised we stop taking the tablets and immediately start a course of daily injections… self… administered. Well, as Jimmy only has one good hand he wouldn’t be able to do it and the onus therefore fell on Val. We got the prescription (syringes pre-loaded with the medication) and then we headed down to the local medical centre so the on-duty nurse could show Val how to do it. This she did and we headed home in disbelief at what we’d been told and shown. And Val continues to do the daily injection and Jimmy hardly feels a thing. We’ve been told that these daily injections will need to be done for the rest of his life!

We managed to get to St Oswald’s on Thursday and enjoyed our complementary therapy. Jimmy had his usual Reiki after an initial session of massage for his right arm and hand and Val Reflexology which she finds very soothing. Another trip to the swimming pool for Val that evening where she managed two additional lengths (16 altogether) in the same time it has taken her to do 14. She did ache a little the next day though!

Anthony John and Julia came to see us on Friday morning and it was lovely to catch up with them and chill for a few hours and on Saturday Jim and Allyson called by. They were just back from their holidays in the south of France.

Work continues apace with the website commission and the end is in sight… we’ll be sure to let you know when the site goes live.

two fingers hugSo why two fingers? Well this afternoon Jimmy managed to move not only his index finger but also the ring finger on his right hand and we looked at each other in amazement. Wonderful!!! There is a lot of feeling and sensation in the hand and things are definitely coming along well. We suspect Kayleigh will be pleased with progress when she sees us next week.

So here’s two fingers to whatever the world tries to throw at us, and here’s a celebration of the two fingers that Jimmy can move.

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