Good Progress

Date: 02.07.2008 03:28
Objet: Update on Tom’s 3rd operation ( 1st July 2008)

Dear all,

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.

5 thoughts on “Good Progress”

  1. Dear Tom,

    The news of another operation gave me a scare in the beginning of the week and I am very glad that everything went well. Knowing how much you hated the collar, the news that you may not need another one sounds great. I very much hope that your bones/neck muscles are strong enough that you can get away without any additional support.

    Hang in there! Wishing you speedy recovery and a lot of patience with yourself and those who care for you,


  2. Funny that the titanium neck plate that I thought was pivotal for your stability may have prevented that bugger of an infection to be kicked out.

    I think Susie will be proven right: You will be even more resilient and active than before !!!

    Have just ordered my copy of Tim Rushby-Smith’s “Looking Up” and am looking forward to the read …

    Thank you so much Susie for the very encouraging update, Tom: give us all more good news soon!

  3. Dear Tom

    I’m just back from 2 weeks away and send my love and good wishes for a quick recovery from this latest op. Let’s hope it will knock the infection out once and for all, and that it won’t delay your discharge from hospital for too long – though I can imagine that any delay is too long at this stage. I hope the sore throat gets better quickly too.

    Warmest wishes


  4. Dear Tom,
    Its taken me months to sort out how to register to leave a comment as my computer skills are shit, but thanks to Tom Ernst I have finally managed. This is to say that while we have not been visible on your site we have thought about you and your progress a lot and talked to David and Gillian about how you are getting on.
    We are so pleased your recent operation went well and wish you a speedy and even stronger recovery. We hope to see you in Swizz before too long. Till then we all send our love, Marina Charlie, George, Nick and Anthony AKA the Ginksies

  5. Dear Tom,
    Very glad to have this news. At least there is Wimbledon to watch – you will be doing what most people who have not had a major operation- let alone 3 – will also be doing ! Enjoy and get better quickly!
    with love to you and all the family, Barbara

    PS Kaveri returning from Pakistan this weekend and Eli from having moved their narrowboat from Folly Bridge to Kirtlington – many locks up and back. I have returned from having assessed nearly 900 pieces of research in development with a 12 person team – very conscientious and very tiring – and we are only about 2/3 through – but the plus was to swim in a church!

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