After four years, though it seems like longer still, the final stage of our journey has begun. We have left America for the last time, our principle task now to make Adam as comfortable, and free from pain, as possible.
We haven't told Adam what the future holds, and neither do we intend to; for what purpose would it serve except to add mental stress and anguish on top of the physical pain? Jake and Jessica do know -- a conversation like no other I have ever had, or ever want to have again -- but it was necessary to be honest with them. For their sakes, please be sensitive with any comments.
Adam remains the same as ever. He reminisces about what he used to do when he wasn't like he is now. He talks about what he's going to do when he's better. He informs me that we can buy some more sticky velcro so his replica WWE championship belts still fit him when he's bigger. He asks me if he can have a pocket tool with scissors, and bottle opener, and screwdriver, when he's older? He wonders if the cricket bat we bought him last summer will still be big enough for him this year? Out of the mouth of a child, an embodiment of innocence even now despite everything he's been forced to endure. And they cut through my heart like a knife.
Just over a fortnight ago, on Tuesday morning, Adam went into theatre just after 9am to have a tube inserted into his chest, and 1.5 litres of fluid removed from his right lung. By 4:30pm he was in the car, connected to a 4ft hose into a chest drain collection kit, and hooked up to a portable oxygen compressor, on his way to Detroit airport for the flight home. Not the standard discharge process after such a procedure, but there was genuine concern that if we didn't get Adam home as soon as possible, he might not be able to fly. He was retaining large amounts of fluid throughout his body, and in the days prior to our return his output had reduced to practically nothing despite the repeated use of strong diuretics.
A huge thank you is due to everyone at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital for pulling out all the stops to get Adam home safely. And also to the cabin crew on our Delta flight from Detroit to Heathrow, who were helpful, considerate and patient with us throughout. I'm still not entirely sure how we made it back so (relatively) uneventfully, but we did.
Since returning to Epsom we've been to the hospitals we needed to go to, talked to the people we needed to talk to, and set in motion the things we needed to set in motion. We have access to the 24-hour symptom management team at the Royal Marsden, our community team are also able to provide round-the-clock cover when we need it, and we've been referred to the Shooting Star CHASE hospice in Guildford. Now we'll just take life one day at a time.
For the moment Adam is reasonably well in himself; he is comfortable and has even been back playing on the xbox a little -- something he'd shown very little interest in for many many weeks. Simply being home has been a huge fillip for him. He has a whole list of things he wants to do, places he wants to go, and things he wants to buy. Whether he's well enough to do any of them on any given day is another matter though. His fluid retention has resolved -- which two weeks ago we had seriously doubted it would, suggesting the immediate cause, at least in part, was a side-effect of the medications he'd been on.
So here we are. And it's turned out to be of no consequence how long I have known it would come to this. It's mattered not how long I have spent trying to prepare myself for it. I was not, and am not, prepared. Nothing could have prepared me; for how difficult, and painful, and unfathomable, the reality is.
We are now going to deal with things privately, in our own way. I'm not intending to update regularly, either here or elsewhere, it's just not me. Instead I will post as and when I feel I have something to say. In the meantime please keep my little boy, and his bigger brother and sister, in your thoughts and in your prayers.