Well today was the day, we moved Stewart from the wonderful Bexley Oncology wing at St James's hospital to the even more wonderful St Gemma's hospice. The walk through those front doors took courage on both our sides but the welcome was warm. Although when we went up to the ward and I told the nurse that I was here with Stewart, she said "he's not here yet". "yes he is" I replied. "No he isn't" she said, " yes he is" I said, he's with me. That made us all giggle and broke the nerves.
The Doctor and the nurses were wonderful, laughing and joking when appropriate, kind and thoughtful at other times. We settled Stewart in and they came to discuss food. There is a daily menu but also if that doesn't appeal another menu of regular meals is on offer. Well after seeing that, Stewart has decided to stay there - now what does that say about my cooking skills!!!! But how wonderful to see him eat a meal, albeit small and actually enjoy it. We then had visitors all afternoon, my sister and her youngest daughter, my brother, sister-in-law and their eldest daughter, Stewart's Uncle along with the Rabbi that I work with. After about 2 hours I shooed them out as stewart looked like he needed a rest. I left him in peace and quiet whilst I went to pick up Gemma from school. Well, everyone came over to ask after Stewart and offer their support and it is very warming to see people who don't usually talk to me come over.
We went home and packed a case for Gemma cos she is staying with her best friend Jof tonight, and her other friend Felicity tomorrow night. She's having a great time at the moment which is the way it should be.
We then visited Daddy and after a cuddle, hug and kiss, 2 biscuits and a sweet she was bored, so I took her to Debra's (Jof's mum) where we were eating that night and waited for Alex to appear off the school bus with their daughter. We went back to see Stewart and as I am so confident in the care from the nurses and knowing another friend was popping back, I actually joined the two youngest at our friends for dinner. We laughed and we cried, especially after hearing Gemma and Jof discussing Stewart quite matter of factly, and the fact he has cancer and isn't going to be a grandpa. It's amazing how kids can compartmentalise things and see things so rationally.
I had a lovely evening and felt safe knowing that once it was over I could still visit Stewart which I did. We had half an hour together, mainly because he needed to sleep and I had a wonderful chat with the nurse looking after him, May. She offered so much support, even saying that i could pop in at 3am if that's what I wanted - mind you if I did that Stewart would kill me. But how wonderful is a hospice that offers to convert a hospital bed to a double bed so that you can be together. It's not an option I will take up at the moment but I do feel comforted that when the time comes, I can lay beside him and hold him in my arms (without falling off the bed). It also means the kids can join us and cuddle him.
The one thing this has spurred Jamie and I on to do, is raise as much money for cancer research (especially melenomas) and St Gemma's once this is over.
I am how now, and feeling the calmest I have felt in 2 weeks. It's been a roller coaster of a ride which isn't over by a long shot, but at last we can be safe in the knowledge that his care is taken care of, he can have all the support he wants and needs and that when the time comes, he will be in the best possible hands.
For those of you who have wondered where Jamie has disappeared to in this post, he was ordered by me to attend a reunion of his summer trip group. He missed the reunion of his last summer's trip due to being in hospital and I want him to have space to enjoy himself and neither Stewart or I want him to miss out on the support and fun his friends can give him. Next weekend he is off to Scotland to see his girlfriend, but I know that the months ahead will be hard for him so am pleased we can give him this at least.
On a slightly sad note, tomorrow Harley will be picked up to be taken to his new foster home. I know that this is something we have to do for Stewart's peace and safety (especially with the rish of infection etc) but I still feel sad and guilty that we have to let him go. He was the puppy we picked from a large litter and although he is hard work, he will be missed as part of the family. I know where he is going is better for him and will give him the love and space he deserves but just a little bit of me is so angry that Cancer can not only take away the love of my life, but take away the pet we have reared from 7 weeks. It's a bastard of a disease and I vow to help find a cure by raising as much money as possible in Stewart's name once this is all over.