Date: 02.07.2008 03:28
Objet: Update on Tom’s 3rd operation ( 1st July 2008)
Some of you know that I came back early from Italy this last weekend after hearing from Tom that his CT scan showed more grumbling infection in his neck, despite recent intravenous antibiotics. The neurosurgeon he saw on Friday proposed removing the titanium plate which was changed last August, to help resolve the infection.
David was with Tom over the weekend; I arrived late on Saturday, and met the 2 consultants involved with Tom on Monday before the final decision to operate.
So that’s what happened today; the metalwork is out. It was a 3-hour operation, and Mr Jamous is cautiously optimistic that the bone at the back and sides of Tom’s cervical vertebrae will provide enough strength for him to continue his rehabilitation where he left off, without putting in more metalwork. It seems that Tom may not even need to wear a ‘collar’ or neck brace this time round – this is much better than what we had envisaged.
Tom now has a beastly sore throat with lots of swelling, and is ravenously hungry after 24 hrs of starvation, but was cheerful and alert when I went to see him immediately after the operation. He stayed awake and watched Wimbledon with Ellen all evening. He’s back on the acute spinal ward for a while, but if all goes well he will soon be back on St David’s, the rehabilitation ward.
Scary times, but it was entirely wonderful to see Tom looking strong and apparently undaunted after yet another operation. It does seem worth a great deal of short-term discomfort to be rid of the source of continuing infection.
We are so grateful to everyone who has written to Tom or posted comments on his website, and of course for magnificent support for the Pavilion Fund. I am meeting the project manager David Kemp again soon, to move on from the drains and ground clearance stage – alas, no more rhubarb grove beside the walled garden – with a view to getting started on the Pavilion structure, which will house the Exuberant Trust’s grand piano and performance space, as well as Tom’s stack of computers..
More anon ..
PS .. For anyone who wants to know more about how patients survive and move on after spinal injuries, Tim Rushby-Smith’s fast-paced, unputdownable, autobiographical ‘Looking Up’ – recently published (May 08) – is a must. Our 2 copies are looking distinctly dog-eared after going round the family. Tom would have liked to go to Tim’s book launch in May, but missed it because he had not been feeling well that week, and because he didn’t then have a PA to drive him up to London. Now he does have a PA, and once the infection settles properly he’ll be even more resilient and active than before.