A day with Callum

Early on Thursday morning, Callum’s mum (L) and her husband (A) very kindly picked me up from Mum’s house on their way to Alder Hey hospital where Callum was due in theatre for his lumbar puncture. They also had with them their 5 month old granddaughter (C) whom they had had over night as her mummy was poorly. Callum felt slightly sick on the drive but was OK and I think it was just the length of the drive and being squidged in the back seat with me one side and the baby seat the other. We were very lucky to find a car parking spot just by the hospital doors, much to Callum’s relief, and we were soon sitting waiting in the waiting room for Callum’s turn to be seen. Meanwhile he spent a little while eagerly pushing his baby niece in her pushchair before getting bored of the wait.

So at his mum’s suggestion, we opened the big bag of caps and other goodies for him to explore. They were amazed at how much people had given and very touched at the personal notes which had been enclosed. His favourites were a City Santa hat, an army cap (which he says he is going to wear first), a brand new woolly hat which came gift wrapped, and a City teddy ordered from the City store. The teddy (which I’m trying to convince him to name “Carlos”) stayed by his side all day, playing, eating and sleeping 🙂

Just as we’d cleared up, it was Callum’s turn to have his consultation and L invited me to join them whilst A took the bag of caps to the car and looked after the baby – who had been good as gold. Callum’s weight and temperature were fine and the nurse asked a few questions before going through the plan of action.

Then we went through to the day unit where it was so busy and full of poorly children that there was no bed free and we found seats in the corner and were joined by A and baby C. Callum was very at home there and found a DVD to put on so we half watched Shrek III whilst chatting and waiting. C was still the perfect baby and made no fuss at all, just watched everything with interest. Eventually we went up to the theatres waiting area – which again, was busy – and after a bit of a wait, L took Callum through. When she came back, I stayed and waited to go through to be with our little trooper when he came round, whilst L and A went to sort out the parking ticket and so on.

L had just joined me again before I was called through so I followed the nurse and was taken to the recovery room. Callum was sleeping (which apparently is unusual as he is normally awake quite quickly) and looked utterly adorable and far too young and innocent to be going through all this. I double checked that they had not put any plasters on him (which he absolutely HATES!) and they showed me the lumbar puncture site. They tickled his face to rouse him and the first thing he said was “Where’s Teddy?” Teddy was soon cuddled in and Callum slept again, even as he was wheeled down draughty corridors to the chemo unit. It was still very busy so we found ourselves in a side room, and A carefully lifted Callum onto the bed.

L gave me a Twix to eat to keep me going as it was 12.30 by now and I was hungry (she and A had had theirs when they sorted the car parking out) – and miraculously at that moment, Callum woke up and wanted Twix! 🙂 He had to remain laying down for an hour after the LP and would soon be given some food so we just gave him a little bite. After his temperature and blood pressure were taken, he got to choose what food he fancied and he chose Fish fingers, chips and beans as we’d previously had a conversation in which I had mentioned that meal. The unit has its own kitchens and chefs so the children can be fed as needed which I think is great. There was quite a wait but Callum enjoyed tucking in once it did arrive. Meanwhile, baby C, who was STILL content just to be near people and watch everything, had her own dinner which L had brought along.

After this, we were given the all clear to leave, though Callum would be back the next two days to start the next phase of his chemo – a more aggressive phase expected to cause some unpleasant side-effects – and to have his PEG attended to.

Despite having just eaten, our little Pacman wanted to go to Burger King and fancied some pancakes, and L and I were both really hungry too so A took us to the drive-through in order to get some peace 😉 We then went back to their home for a much needed cuppa, and I got to see some of the rest of the family again too. It wasn’t long before A was back playing chauffeur and took me home to mum’s, then turned around and drove straight back. He was an absolute diamond and had been driving, waiting and babysitting all day without complaint.

I was home at 5pm after a very long day with lots for me to take in, but it had a privilege to be a part of it and to spend quality time with my gorgeous little Godson (who was SO good throughout and made no fuss) and family. I was pretty tired after it all, but how much worse it is for L and A who go through this on a very regular basis (as well as looking after the rest of their immediate and extended family) and cannot plan beyond a day or two ahead at most. Callum is at the beginning of phase 2 of 3 of his treatment and will be receiving chemo and associated care for 2 years, plus another year’s maintenance, whilst they take him up to the maximum tolerated toxicity of chemotherapy in hopes of reducing his 20% chance of the disease returning. I can’t begin to imagine how it must feel to be on this seemingly endless path, with all its emotional, physical and mental ups and downs. I wish I could do more to help them, but as it is, all I can offer is moral support and hope that it helps a little.

L has said she will try and take some photos of Callum with some of his gifts, and has asked me to pass on a message from her to all who gave so willingly:

I would like to say to them that I’m really grateful for what they have all done. It’s strange and nice to know that people who don’t know us are even interested in whats happening. You don’t realise ’til something like this happens to you that people do care and it’s little things like what they have done for us that help us get through it. Believe me I have wanted to give up a number of times as we feel alone all the time so thanks to people like that, we carry on……

Comments

  1. Neil Brownhill says:

    My thoughts and prayers for all the family. My nephew practically lived/lives in GOSH and I see the pain and anxiety that families go through.
    Somethimes its the little things (like a twix) that can really help bring some form of peace to an awful situation.

    Wishing them all the best

    Neil

  2. Thanks Neil. Hope your nephew is doing well too.
    X

  3. Thanx Anji for keeping me and everybody else informed with Callum. please let him know that I, H, kayleigh and Mikey miss him deeply and love him so much too x x

Trackbacks

  1. […] my day with Callum I haven’t seen him and am not sure when I next will, but we’re keeping touch by post […]

  2. […] Callum and his parents to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for his chemo check up. Last time I went to hospital with them it was Alder Hey and this was quite a contrast. The waiting areas and the whole set-up was geared […]

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