# Monday, 23 February 2009

Finally home!

I am typing this blog post with Chaya Devoira on my knee :-)

They arrived at around 6:30pm this evening, well, tired, and free of wires and tubes. The Boss worked out that Chaya Devoira has only spent four more days at home than she has in hospital in her entire life. Let's hope that's going to change from now on.

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# Sunday, 22 February 2009

Ooh-err, they could be home tomorrow!

Having blogged this morning about how they might be home on Tuesday or Wednesday, the Boss rang before to say that the doctors had decided that they were being overly cautious when increasing Chaya Devoira's medicine, and they had done two increases today.

They need to take a blood sample in the morning, and wait for the results, but assuming that it is clear, they should just discharge her immediately. This means that they could be out by lunchtime, and maybe home by early evening!

Yippee :-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-)

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I came home, but they didn't!

After all the build-up, we woke up on Friday morning to be told that Pendlebury had had an emergency admission at 5am, and there wasn't a bed for Chaya Devoira. After some discussions over the telephone, it became clear that she wasn't going anywhere that day. As the following day was Shabbos, and they don't normally transfer non-urgent cases on a Sunday, this meant that she wasn't going anywhere until Monday at the earliest.

We were now left with the difficult decision of what I should do. On the one hand, the children were all safely staying with friends, and the Boss needed me with her. On the other hand, we had told them all that we were coming home, and we were concerned about the effect that not coming would have on them.

After some lengthy discussion, we decided that I should come home by train. The hospital in London said they would keep in contact with Pendlebury, and see when a bed became available.

So, it's now Sunday morning, and they are still there. There is an ambulance booked for tomorrow morning, assuming that Pendlebury can find a bed.

The good news is that Chaya Devoira is doing great, putting on weight nicely and behaving herself. She is totally tubeless, wireless and not connected to any machines at all. You can actually see her pretty little face for the first time in months!

They increased the medicine again this morning (see the post from Thursday about that), and have only one more increase to do. This means that they may be discharged completely on Tuesday or Wednesday - hurray!

Thanks to everyone who sent such lovely messages. We appreciate every one, even if we didn't get chance to respond individually.

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# Thursday, 19 February 2009

My observations on life in London

I have spent a fair amount of time walking the streets of London, or sitting on tube trains below those streets, and I have come to several conclusions, two of which are...

  1. There are an awful lot of people in London, and
  2. Most of them do not seem to check their appearance in the mirror before leaving home!
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Looks like we're going home tomorrow!

The doctor came round this morning, and said that he had spoken to the people at Pendlebury, who are ahppy to take Chaya Devoira back tomorrow (Friday), as long as they can find a bed. An ambulance is being arranged, which will leave fairly early in the morning. I will stay in the hospital tonight, as it's very unlikely I could get down to the hospital early enough. We impressed upon them the importance of going early, as it is Friday tomorrow.

Chaya Devoira will need to stay in Pendlebury for a few days, whilst they wean her off one of the post-operation drugs, and monitor her weight. This means that she will be in hospital over Shabbos, but at least she will get loads of visitors as soon as Shabbos ends!

So, we just have to daven that there is a bed available.

Chaya Devoira continues to feed well B"H, so it looks like the feeding tube may soon be redundant - Hurray! The nurse took off the nasal specs that were used to feed oxygen into her nose. When she has come off oxygen before, they have left the specs on in case they were needed. It seems that they are satisfied that she isn't going to need them again. This is great news.

What's even better is that you can see most of her pretty little face now. The feeding tube is still there, but that's all. Hopefully that will be gone soon :-)

Update later that day...

It's official, we are being transferred back up north in the morning. They want to keep an eye on her for a few more days, partly to make sure she puts on enough weight without being fed down the tube, and partly because they are giving her a drug that she will need for a few months, and they need to increase the dosage gradually, checking her blood pressure every 15 minutes for the first two hours after each increase.

However, being in hospital in Manchester is defintely better than being in hospital in London. At least the other children will be able to visit.

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# Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Hey, grizzly bears can dance!

Just found a great article on the BBC web site. They managed to film a grizzly bear fishing, from underwater. Watch the first video on the page to see some fancy footwork as the bear tries to kick the fish into water shallow enough for it to grab it.

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Good news about Chaya Devoira

Boruch Hashem, Chaya Devoira continues to go from strength to strength. They took her off oxygen completely this morning, and she stayed off it until around 5:30pm.

When they did the surgery, they attached wires to the electrical control centre of her heart (no, I didn't know it had one either until the other day), in case there were any problems with heart rhythms. If there had been, they would have been able to attach a pacemaker to the wires and regulate her heart. As this hasn't been necessary, and the chances of it being necessary are now vanishingly small, they removed the wires. This is another step towards home :-)

However, the best bit of news altogether was that the doctor decided that Chaya Devoira can start feeding properly, instead of using the tube. They are leaving it to the Boss to judge if she is getting enough milk at each feed, and will monitor her weight to make sure that she is taking enough. Although she is going to need some time to build up her strength fully, she did well today, and scoffed a lot!

We are hoping to get some decision tomorrow about when we can go home. As they still need to wean her off one of the medicines, and they want to keep an eye on her weight, it is unlikely that they will let her leave hospital before Shabbos, but it does seem quite likely that they will try and transfer her to Pendlebury before then. This will be a great move for all of us, especially the other children, who haven't seen the Boss or baby for a week now. We'll have to see what they decide in the morning.

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Dragged, kicking and screaming into the modern age!

Are we the only ones?

Neither of us own a mobile 'phone. We never had, and hopefully never will. I know, everyone tells how useful they are, and how owning one doesn't make you subserviant to it honest, but we're not convinced.

However, before the Boss went into hospital to have Chaya Devoira, we were offered a mobile to borrow for the (what was expected to be) couple of days that she would be there. The way things worked out, we still have it, and yes, it has been useful.

Being gadget mad, and technologically minded, the first thing I did when we were lent it was to fiddle with it until I had discovered all of the menus and options. Despite knowing nothing about the subject, I quickly worked out what text messages were, and how to read and delete them. The one thing that totally baffled me was how to send one. I got as far as where you type it, but couldn't persuade the mobile to type what I wanted, and not what it wanted me to say. It seemed to have its own idea about what I should be typing, and with all due respect to its opnion, I rarely agreed! So that was that. We used it for calls, and got the occasional text, but nothing more.

And then, the Luddite struck back!

My dear wife has never been one for technology. She insists on making cakes by hand, instead of using the electric mixer. She insists on chopping garlic by hand instead of using the garlic/herb chopper, and so on. It came as a surprise to me to discover that she had worked out how to send a text. I didn't even know she knew what they were! During her most recent (and hopefully last) stay in Pendlebury hospital (before we were transferred to London), she spent some time fiddling, and worked it out.

Well, that was it. She has sent enough texts in the past couple of weeks to require several telecommunications companies to upgrade their networks, due to the excessive traffic! I don't mind as it has been a huge boost for her, keeping in touch with her friends and accessing some of the services that people have offered.

But through it all, I never worked it out. On the one hand, I felt a bit cheated that my Luddite wife had worked out something that I, the modest and self-effacing computer genius (well, maybe not that modest!) hadn't managed. On the other hand, it gave me a weird sort of satisfaction, knowing that I wasn't subservient to the stupid device!

All that changed yesterday...

When we arrived at Yolanda's late on motzei Shabbos, she handed me a spare mobile, and insisted that I keep it while we are here. This was very kind of her, although I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with it!

We were sitting on the ward yesterday, and I decided to have a look at the mobile she lent me. I had a quick tinker, and lo and behold, managed to send a text! Yup, my very first text message ever. It went a long way, all the way from my seat to the mobile phone sitting next to the Boss, about six inches away! I acted innocent, as though I had no idea what was going on, and was amused by her expression when she realised that the text had come from me.

It turns out that mobiles have a function that predicts what you are about to type, and completes the word for you. The mobile we had borrowed initially had this turned on, which is why I couldn't work out how to send a text. The mobile was incorrectly predicting what I wanted to type. Maybe I'm weird or something :-)

Anyway, it seems that Yolanda had the same problem with it as me, and had Jon switch the functon off. This is why I was able to send a text on her mobile. I sent another one to the Boss later, this time with a picture - even she hadn't worked out how to do that yet!

So, now I'm a texting expert. I have sent four texts now. The last two came about because I got a text as I was walking down the hospital corridor to go back to Yol and Jon's last night. The Boss had remembered something she wanted to ask me, and didn't think she could catch me up. I managed to receive it, and send a reply before reaching the London Eye, which is about halfway between the hospital and the tube station. I was proud of myself. We exchanged one more each way before I was plunged into the textless underworld of the Tube.

So, I finally caught up with the rest of the world. This knowledge will stand me in great stead for the next couple of days, until we give back Yolanda's spare mobile!

I wonder what will be the next step in our exploration into the modern world? Maybe we'll get a fax machine... nah, too modern!

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# Tuesday, 17 February 2009

No present for Chaya Devoira, finally on the ward, but not going home yet

4pm, back in the KIC

As previously reported, I went off to Covent Garden, although along a rather meandering route. This was due to the fact that I have an underdeveloped sense-of-direction gland, and regularly get lost when I don't have my Chief Navigator with me. I somehow ended up in Trafalgar Square, but managed to make my way to Covent Garden without too much excess delay.

When I got there, I found that the shop had almost sold out of the little toy I wanted to buy for Chaya Devoira, and the only two they had left appeared to be defective. Ho hum. I wandered around the shop for a bit, partly as I couldn't be bothered walking back empty-handed straight away. I found a nice wind mobile that I thought would make a good present for one of the girls, so I bought three!

When I got back to the hospital, I found that they were still in the ICU. Yolanda had just gone, and the Boss was getting hungry. We kept being told that we were going to the ward very soon, and then that it would be later, and then that it actually be very soon, and so on. We finally made the move around 2pm, and by the time we had got there, settled in, plugged all of Chaya Devoira's wires in and so on, it was about 3pm. That's quite late for lunch, especially when the hospital will be bringing the Boss' supper at about 5pm. Still, we managed to force ourselves.

The doctor came around just before. He is very happy with Chaya Devoira's progress, and gave us an outline of the plan for the next few days. Obviously, everything is all dependent on how she does, as unexpected changes are to be expected :-)

The bottom line is that there is a faint possibility that we will be let out on parole on Thursday, although this seems unlikely. If all goes well, and Chaya Devoira behaves herself, then they will let us out on Friday. Given the (lack of) speed with which hospitals work, this could make it difficult, if not impossible, to get home before Shabbos. We have a few people who we could ask to have us over Shabbos, although it would obviously be much nicer if we could get home. If it didn't work out for Friday, then it would be Sunday.

So, we settle down for a few days on the ward. We are on a different bit of the ward from before, mainly due to the virus that broke out in the bed next to us. That end of the ward is still closed off. We did quite well out of that, as we are now in a bay of four beds instead of six, and only two others of these are occupied. One of those is waiting for the doctor so they can go home. What's even better is that this bay appears to be completely devoid of TVs!!! This is wonderful, as it's so lovely and quiet. We are davenning hard that they don't decide to bring the TVs back :-)

I think that's all there is to report for now. Further blog posts as events warrant.

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Still waiting to go to the ward

11:30am - I'm currently in the hospital's Knowledge and Information Centre (or KIC to its friends), which saves me having to risk more wrist-slapping by using the ICU's PC, or having to wait until I get back to Yol and Jon's tonight. Yolanda has just come to see Chaya Devoira, and they are fairly strict in the ICU about only two visitors per patient, so I have been chucked out! I am off to Covent Garden to buy a present for Chaya Devoira, which we saw the other day whilst having a walk, but didn't buy.

Anyway, after all the excitement of leaving ICU, we didn't! It seems that the ward still aren't ready to take anyone, so we haven't moved.

We aren't too worried actually, Chaya Devoira is absolutely fine B"H, and doesn't need ICU care at all. She's only here because they don't have a bed upstairs yet. Although she doesn't need it, the care is one-to-one here, as opposed to one-to-five on the ward, and it's quieter. No TVs or DVDs being played at obnoxious volumes, or even at any volumes! Suits us.

We had a small smile when the ward manager came around to explain why we hadn't been sent upstairs yet. Due to a printing mistake, her ID card identified her as a "War Manager" - presumably required for when fights break out as to why people haven't been transferred yet :-)

She said that she had spotted the mistake when she got the badge, but was sufficiently amused by it to keep it.

Not a lot else to say. London is grey, but we are bright and cheerful. Chaya Devoira is fast asleep in the Boss' arms (or she was a few minutes ago when I came downstairs, so we can't really ask for more.

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