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The news about Dennis.
Back In the beginning A Slow Recovery In the end

Update on the 27th September
Dennis has lost his watch from his left hand and the intravenous line from his right hand. He still feels terrible. They decided not to try to feed him through the tube yesterday, but will give it another go today. He’s very bored. All body signs are normal now. The stoma therapist is due to come and modify the illeostomy fitting to reduce the chance of another leak. Dennis sat out in the chair for a prolonged period during the day and found it very difficult. The feelings of dizziness, tiredness and nausea receded once he persuaded the nurses to help him back into bed. Rae is now suffering from a chest infection and has been to the clinic to see a doctor who prescribed Amoxycillin. Jonathan has gone down with the same thing Rae has. The hospital seems full of sick people for some reason! Various people have rung, friends from Spain and family members. There has been a lot of sad news from their friends in Spain. Their next door neighbour in Spain, Rosemary, is most unwell, also battling cancer. Dennis’ granddaughters visited him today and he was cheered to see them.

Update on 30th September
Dennis managed to go for a short walk today. This was a big step forward on his road to recovery. He is being fed a white paste through a tube into his stomach. The stoma therapist has been to see him and modified his illeostomy fittings. He has been running a temperature since the op’ and it hit 40 degrees over night. It seems to have been the last of the chest infection though as it is now normal again. His resting heart rate has also come down and is now a healthy 60 bpm. His op’ wound is still being dressed around the infection. He has received a good number of get well cards, the nurses provided a sort of washing line, strung over the end of his bed, for him to display them on. He was able to shave himself for the first time today. A new IV line was fitted to his left hand again as the lines he still retained were fully utilised and more are required. He’s feeling better generally, although his tummy is still sore. He is not passing enough water and is being given cups of tea for its diuretic qualities. Dennis is not unhappy with the treatment. He is also allowed to drink fruit juice. The medics are hoping it will all help to stimulate his stomach into restarting. His strength is returning and he is able to concentrate on his book and the news paper. He asked for a puzzle book to help while away the hours.

The consultant surgeon came to visit him with the results of the lab analysis of the tumour removed during the operation. It was the news we have all been dreading, the tumour itself had penetrated the bowel wall with more cancer cells found on the outside of the bowel. When Dennis has recovered sufficiently, he will be offered a six month course of chemo therapy.

Update on 13th December.
Dennis was moved along the ward from bay one, where the monitoring equipment was, right next to the nurses desk, to the end bay. Out of danger, he still has a chest infection and his wound is still open, but no longer needs the close attention of the medical staff.
His neuralgia has been getting increasingly difficult to bear and the house doctor allowed him to return to the Tegratol he has taken for many years to reduce its severity.
The wound was extremely slow to heal and Dennis was kept in until the infections cleared up and they were confident that he would be able to operate the stoma bag on his own, although with Rae’s help.
The details of the wound were passed to the district nurse and arrangements made for her to visit him once a day to change the dressing and assist him where necessary.
Dennis was finally released from hospital on Jonathan’s birthday, October the 18th, one month after being admitted. It had been a stay more than twice as long as the surgeon originally planned. Dennis and Rae were installed in the nanny flat at Jonathan’s house and some embellishments were made to the bathroom equipment and fittings so that Dennis would be more able to deal with his bag.
A variety of nurses visited Dennis during the next few weeks and his strength gradually returned. He had an infection in the wound which required more antibiotics to shift. The wound finally closed at the beginning of December and the district nurse announced that he was sufficiently well for her not to visit him any more.
Dennis and Rae both went to the local clinic in Kimbolton and had the flue jab.
At the end of November Dennis attended the oncology clinic and met with Dr Tan who examined the wound and discussed the treatments with him. It was decided that no treatment would be begun until the wound had finished healing and that if that was Christmas the treatment would wait until just after so that he could have Christmas and his birthday without the affects of the chemo therapy. The treatment will be administered intravenously every day for a week and will be followed by a two week break before another week and so on for six months. It looks now as though Dennis and Rae will remain in the UK for about a year in total.
The neuralgia has reached such a pitch that he went to the Dr in the local clinic to discuss changes that may now be available in the treatment that may offer an improvement over the Tegratol that were not available when he was first diagnosed. The Dr wrote to the neurology department to ask them to perform a CT scan on his brain to see if there is any ostensible reason for the deterioration. We await an appointment for the scan. The Dr also suggested a change to the medication to replace the Tegratol with Neurontin. This has brought no immediate change in his condition, although he has found that, by pressing on the parts of his face served by the nerve, he can encourage the attacks to subside more quickly.
He is now strong enough to be able to drive himself about again and has been able to go Christmas shopping with Rae. The weather has turned cold and both Dennis and Rae were worried that they would have problems with chest infections. Happily, this has not happened and they are both in fine health. Rae is actually fitter than she was when they arrived and although they are both finding that the shorter days and colder weather is making them tire quickly when they venture out they are both comfortable.
Dennis has lost two stone in weight and an inch in height. This will, in large part, be due to the lack of alcohol during his recovery. Although he was allowed to have some if he wanted, he felt he’d rather be without it while he was unwell. He’s getting back to normal now though!

Update at 21st February 2003
Dennis has continued to improve having completed two of his week long courses of chemo therapy. The intervening three week period between the courses, during which his white blood cell count is given time to recover, provided an opportunity for he and Rae to return to their apartment in Spain and catch up with all their friends. They were extremely busy after being away since last July! Rae has also now been diagnosed with cancer and requires a hysterectomy. What a pair!

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© Copyright Jon Young 2005. Last updated 13/11/2006.