Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The weekend (Part One)...

(This is another one of those bloody posts that are becoming rather a habit with me. Upbeat and full of good news, good times and good spirits. And then spoilt by a priority interrupt that comes in mid-flow and goes straight on the blog without pause for reflection. Inconsiderate, downbeat, downcast, ‘I don’t care what other posts I ruin’ entries that come from nowhere and afflict my blog from time to time. So now I find myself having to go back through the first half of the original draft of this post and edit it because otherwise it’s obvious it was written before the last one and then posted afterwards, and to be frank looks a bit rubbish as a result...)
Stop the presses. Hold the front page. Breaking news - we had a fun weekend. A real bona-fide, hardly any worrying, very little fretting, fun weekend.
(See what I mean? I can’t use that verbatim now. Would have been fine had there not been another post of any kind since last weekend. Because there was it doesn’t really read very well any more. Probably need to get rid of it.)
Friday had been a good day. One week after the end of chemotherapy and Adam’s blood counts were way higher than they’d been for longer than I could remember. HB over 11, platelet’s over 200 (normally hovering around 10), Neutrophils at 1.8 (normally at or near 0). No wonder he had remained in good spirits. In the evening on Friday there was a shopping event to raise money for the appeal, organised by the teaching staff that looked after Adam when he was in reception at Downsend. Not only was it a huge success, but Alison even managed to get out and enjoy herself too. The last time she’d been out anywhere Adam had cried for her to come home before he would go to sleep. No such problems this time. Whilst I’ve devoted a lot of time to the appeal, Alison has been doing far more important work – looking after Adam. However, I know she sometimes feels that shFFe would like to be able to be more involved given how much amazing support we are being given. So being able to attend on Friday and staying behind to help clear up afterwards was a definite positive in that regard.
We woke up Saturday in glorious sunshine and wondered what to do with the day. No nurses required, no hospital appointments planned, we were free to do what we wanted. London Fire Brigade Clerkenwell and Islington had teamed up to hold a collection day for Adam’s Appeal at the Fire Station on Islington High Street. Like many other events that have been organised it was one that would be nice to go along to show support, say thank you in person, and meet those who were responsible. In many cases, as in this, people to whom we are complete strangers, but who have stepped forward to help our little boy in any way they can. However, I hadn’t really thought I would go, and even less chance that Adam would be there. Eight days after Adam finished chemo, the journey from Epsom to Islington, competing demands from Jake and Jessica - highly unlikely.
We seldom plan very far ahead these days – it generally doesn’t work out if we do. You make plans, something happens and you have to break them. So Saturday morning we got to talking about what was on the agenda for the day – party for Jessica the only real plan, and possibly visit to friends in the evening. Maybe Islington was a possibility after all, I mentioned it to Adam and he seemed okay with the idea. All he wanted to do was to have lunch at Wagamama. I figured there must be one there, but we packed up lunch just in case it didn’t work out and off we went.
We arrived at Islington Fire Station shortly after midday, and the fundraising was in full flow. I still find it odd to witness scenes such as this. A giant Adam’s Appeal banner strung across the front of the fire station with a picture of my little boy on it for all to see. The fire crews were out tin rattling, the sun was blazing hot and the street was full of people. We met Mandy, who had organised the collection, and other members of the Islington and Clerkenwell crews who were collecting too.
Since we started the appeal, there have been some amazing stories about how people have become involved. None more so I think than the London Fire Brigade. Around the time the appeal was launched a fireman cleans the windows of one of the assistants in Adam’s nursery class at Downsend. He is shown details of the appeal and donates his window cleaning fee. Not content he goes back to his station and gathers support to start fundraising on a bigger scale. Ilford fire station pick up the gauntlet and an email gets sent out across LFB. From this Mandy at Clerkenwell decides to get involved. But the location of the station at Clerkenwell is no good for holding a collection, so she gets Islington involved - and hey presto here we are. The London Fire Brigade at Chiswick, Ilford, Clerkenwell and Islington, all supporting and fundraising for Adam’s Appeal.
Adam enjoyed himself. He got to sit in various fire engines and then took himself off and set up camp in the command unit. I watched the fire crews collect donations from passing shoppers and walkers, and even from taxis, a bus driver, and other passing motorists. I’ve got to be honest, I can’t do it. I couldn’t stand on the street and rattle the tin and ask for donations for Adam. Not like Mandy in particular did. I tried it and I was rubbish. Which is both odd and a bit wrong. I ought to have more incentive to do it than anybody. I think I’ll have to work on it. It’s not right.
We stayed until about 4pm and then drove home. What impressed (should that be surprised?) me most was that during the entire time we were out - in the car going, at the fire station, and in the car coming back, Adam did not moan or whinge once. Oh, and in case you were wondering he did get his lunch at Wagamama. Had to walk from one end of Islington main street to the other for it though. Chicken with noodles. I wasn’t very impressed, however, when Adam asked for more chicken. ‘We don’t do portions of just chicken, you have to order another complete meal, sir’. ‘But that’s just a waste’. ‘Yes it is, but you have to order a complete meal, you cannot just have more chicken’. ‘And you have to be slightly more helpful if you want a tip, thanks’.

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