Sunday, 3 October 2010

UCH - Day Five

Well it doesn't get any more exciting that's for sure. This place is eerily quiet now the weekend has arrived. Just Adam and one other MIBG patient in isolation rooms, one nurse to look after them, and nobody else to be seen! There appears to be only one other child on the whole of the 11th floor. Seems very odd next to our experiences of St George's and The Royal Marsden, the latter of which is a constant hive of activity all day, every day.

So tonight, finally, it's my turn to sleep in the cubbyhole. Thank the lord for mobile broadband. Or in my case, O2.

The highlight of my day today has been shopping... for food. I can thoroughly recommend Waitrose beneath John Lewis on Oxford Street and Planet Organic which is on a side street off Tottenham Court Road.

Adam is a tale of two children. One is a sullen, sulky, awkward, lazy urchin who just lays on his bed watching TV programmes on the computer. He can't even be bothered to go to the bathroom to pee, preferring instead to expel his radioactive waste into the bottle next to his bed. The other is a vibrant, joyful little boy who bounces on the trampoline we brought in for him whilst bus watching, counting cranes, or pointing out landmarks like BT Tower, Wembley arch and London Zoo that he can see from his window.

As we had been warned, by far the biggest problem in here is the boredom and the confinement. Getting him to engage in something is key. We took him a cheap mobile phone in this evening and I gave his number out to various family members. It was so lovely to watch him receive calls from Jess and Jake, Grandparents, Aunts, Cousins. "Daaaaad" he said to me, "You've been telling people to call this number haven't you? If one more person calls this phone I am going to give you a good whooping." At which point the phone rang.

Both Alison and I have spent more time in his room today playing various Wii games with him, our bodies separated by the heavy lead screen that we can wheel around. It is in our company that Adam is at his most animated - not surprisingly given that he is a very sociable child who must remain isolated and alone for the majority of the day. The lead shield offers protection against the gamma radiation coming from Adam's body. Both of us would swap places with him in the blink of an eye if we could. Compared to what he's been through, and continues to go through, we will take our chances with a little bit of secondary radiation if it helps to keep him happy.

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