Written on Saturday 10th.
On Friday we had planned to go to the hospital for Cindy to have a chest x-ray as a baseline for her new treatment (Tarceva).
However, in the morning, when she took her first tablet, which was one of the tarceva tablets, it got stuck in her throat, and she tried to have a coughing fit to dislodge it. This exhausted her and caused her even more breathing problems than usual. The oxygen we had at home didn’t seem to be enough to help her, so I ended up ringing 999. A paramedic arrived very quickly, shortly followed by an ambulance, who took Cindy and me to the hospital.
This was all happening just at the normal getting ready for school time, so all three children were upset and frightened. Rose had made her own packup, but John and Toby went to school without a lunch. Rose went over to Jo’s who put her hair in a bobble for her, John and Toby went straight off to school. J + R were ok, I phoned Scarcroft who sorted out a lunch for John. Toby was ok during the morning, but at lunch time he came home to find still no-one there. He got upset and worried (understandably), phoned Lance and Mary and found Sam there, who came round and got him lunch and looked after him, so he didn’t go back to school that afternoon.
Cindy, meanwhile, was having heart traces that showed a heart rate of 140-160, which is slightly fast! She was put on large amounts of oxygen, given oramorph which as well as relieving pain helps with breathing problems and glycerine to try and help slow her heart rate. She also had physiotherapy to help her try to shift the tablet and and any fluid on her chest. At about 1 she was moved from A&E to the Medical Admissions Unit, first into a three bed room, and later into a room by herself.
We saw the Lung Cancer Specialist Nurse, the hospital McMillan nurse and several doctors and made it clear that we wanted Cindy to come home as soon as possible. I came home at about 2, buying breakfast and lunch on the way, saw Toby at home and then went to pick up John and Rose.
Dr Schofield got a lot of oxygen delivered for when Cindy is able to come home but we’re going to have an oxygen concentrator fitted next week.
We had fish and chips for tea, watched Shrek. I read Rose a huge chapter from The Ruby in the Smoke and then watched I dreadful outtakes programme.
A doctor phoned during the evening to say that Cindy was still on too high concentrations of oxygen to come home immediately, but that she was settling down, her heart rate was slowing and she should be able to come home soon.
This morning Rose danced, Toby went to squash, John and I tidied his room. We’re going to go and see Cindy this afternoon. Jean went this morning.
End of what was written on Saturday 10th.
We went to see Cindy on Saturday afternoon. She was incredibly short of breath, but was just about able to talk to us. We left her and came home at about 5pm. James Rand was popped in for the evening and night, so I was able to go back to the hospital for the evening, come back and say good night and go back to the hospital till about 2:30am. Cindy was extremely agitated during the night and seemed in a lot of pain. She was given more morphine, something else that was a sedative and was still on lots of oxygen. By the time I left her she was more settled.
On Sunday morning, I took John and Rose to Meeting, and then they went on to Oscar and Lily’s. Toby went to Luke’s. I came home and phoned family, then went into the hospital.
Cindy was very peaceful, lying quietly. I’m not sure if she was aware that I was there. The nurse said when she’d come in to work at about 7am, Cindy had been aware there was different staff, so she might have known that I had arrived. She was breathing very lightly. I held her hand, spoke to her and read to her. Gradually her breathing got shallower and shallower, until finally I called for a nurse and the doctor pronounced her dead at about 2:30pm.
I stayed with her for about an hour, then went to find the children. We all came back together to see Cindy and say goodbye.
Mandy and David arrived at about 6pm, and went over to the hospital. Pat & Maurice, who’d come up with Jayne didn’t arrive till about 10pm, and we didn’t see them till Monday morning.
On Monday, after we’d seen Jayne, Pat & Maurice; Toby, John, Rose and I went to Whitby with Mandy and David. I didn’t want the children to go into school, and I wanted to get out somewhere. Whitby was somewhere Cindy always enjoyed visiting, so I thought it would be nice.
I’ve never been to Whitby on a day like that – it was very hot and sunny, the sea was like a millpond. Normally, it’s grey, windy,with spray coming up off the sea. We had fish and chips and walked on the harbour wall. The children were happy and enjoyed themselves.
On Tuesday the children went back to school and I started on the practicalities. Using Cindy’s notes that she made with Rosemary at meeting, I’ve started to arrange the funeral. I’ve found a very nice spot in the old Victorian cemetery in York to bury Cindy’s ashes. There will be a funeral on Sunday 25 September for anyone who would like to come, and a private burial of the ashes later.
On the whole we are all doing alright. There are obviously times when the children or I feel awful, but generally we are getting on with things. We’ve had loads of cards. It’s wonderful to see how many people’s lives Cindy affected.