Sunday May 13th:Â David spent some hours with Tom and Ellen while in the UK en route from New York to Geneva (the World Health Assembly started on Monday May 14th). Tom was looking great: talking, able to sip fluids, and breathing on his own for regular periods each hour. The breathing part is hard work, and from time to time Tom’s airways get a bit bunged up. He is helped to do this work through the skills of the nursing and medical staff on St Andrew’s Ward, the physiotherapy team and the respiratory technicians. David busied himself removing a few tracks off Tom’s ipod, cleaning the “Heroes” DVD so that episodes 10 and 11 are viewable and obsessing about TV access. David told Tom about some of the reactions he is receiving to posts that he and Ellen put on the website. David spoke of his contacts with other people with serious injury to their spinal cord at the C4 C5 level: one person in particular (who works in a senior position in a premier US public health institution) has been kindly expaining how he has progressed following a swimming pool accident when he was 18. David then went on to see Polly who is much better – recovering well from her operation.
Wednesday may 16th:Â David returned to meet with Ellen and Tom Wednesday evening after three days at the Assembly. (There is much focus on influenza pandemic readiness, sharing of virus samples and ways to ensure that poor communities will be able to benefit from vaccines effective against the yet-to-appear pandemic virus). Tom looked great, continuing to work hard at the breathing and – with the nurses and physios – at keeping his lungs clear. As well as Ellen (joined this week by Mandy), Susie and Polly have spent many hours with Tom: Tom Sheppard and Hugh Palmer visited, and loads of great letters and messages have arrived. An anonymous friend (though David thinks he can recognise the writing) sent an Arsenal programme with a signed message from Arsene Wenger. It looks as though there will be a TV in his room before the end of the week (in time for the cup final?). Tom Ernst, who David met in Geneva with Carole, Bob, Siobhan and Andrew, sent Fawlty Towers…
Thursday 17th, David went to Warwick to be with Ollie, then they travelled to the hospital together to visit Tom. They all worked together helping Ollie revise history for his finals which start on Monday.
Friday 18th May – we were together again.Â Tom was explaining to us how he is handling his own feelings about what has happened and what he can expect to do in the future. Inspiring stuff for both Ollie and David. We were with Ellen and Polly, and Ellen’s mother Mandy, Susie and her father Michael.
Ollie and David went on Saturday May 19th: we watched Tom have a hair wash (pure pleasure as he loves having his head stroked).
Tom’s progress remains good – he is eating/drinking mashed potato, jelly, soup and yoghurt; he is off the ventilator of 15 minutes every hour, and having fewer problems with “plugging” – when the air entry to his lungs gets blocked with secretions”. David went back to New York on Saturday afternoon, taking pictures of Tom to show Lucas and Josie, and they were able to speak with him by phone Sunday morning (probably contributing to his sore throat).