Thursday, 20 December 2007

How's the Boy Coming Along?

Tom in typical Christmas pose - The wasted drunk to his left is elder brother Adam

Sorry for the long silence. I particularly wanted to avoid turning this blog into a stream of news about Tom. The kind thoughts and cards I've received from you all have been magnificent, but I need to be careful not to wallow in it all. We're not the only people with problems, and many are far, far worse than ours. So I'm putting in this update purely to respond to the scores of you who've asked for news of Tom, not as more "poor me" stuff.

The return to consciousness hasn't been the eye-flicker, hand twitch and "I'm really thirsty" episode we've all seen on TV. The transition has been all but undetectable. But I think we have to agree that Tom is now conscious. He has difficulty getting control of his eyes, but once he's stopped them rolling around independently he can focus on our faces within a limited field of view. He'll also respond about 50% of the time to a request to squeeze our hands, and some questions are answered with very slight nods or shakes of the head.

Physically he's progressing well and he's now out of Critical Care.

We don't know at this stage how complete his recovery will be, but 100% is still a possibility.

Thank you again for all the wishes, hopes and prayers. You're a splendid bunch.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

The Other Side of the NHS - And a Small Confession

Just looking at Rosie's comment below it struck me that I've been too one-sided in my criticism of the NHS. As she says, the parts of it that involve personal commitment are quite exceptional. We're seeing this part right now. The Neuro Critical Care Unit at the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital is full of dedicated, patient and caring people who also happen to be superbly trained. Professor Cruickshank's team of consultants - and particularly the Prof himself - are painstaking about giving us clear, understandable information, and the attention and respect Tom's receiving are faultless.

It occurs to me that I need to come clean about Tom's age. Eva and I have been touched and greatly comforted by the daily flow of good wishes, prayers and healing energy that comes in via this blog. I can't thank you enough for that. But then Eva pointed out that you may be under the impression that he's a little boy.

So now I feel a fraud.

Tom's 24. He's foul-mouthed and irreverent, and therefore incredibly funny. He's also one of the sweetest-natured guys you'll ever meet. He lives half a mile away with his partner Laura. One thing I'm looking forward to is the return of a series of sounds that always make us laugh: A car drives up outside. The kitchen door opens. The fridge door opens. We hear rummaging. The fridge door closes. The kitchen door closes. That would be Tom popping in to see us then.

(In fairness, once the comedic effect has settled, he comes and sits in the living room with us until he's digested whatever he's stolen).

Tom's still unconscious, but responding now to requests to squeeze our hands, nod or shake his head. The strongest response so far came when Laura mentioned Jessica Alba. Tom's eyes opened noticeably. Laura commented that she should be offended that JA was granted more reaction than she was, but under the circumstances she'd let him off - as long as she could be involved too. Tom's eyes came fully open, he turned his head and squeezed Laura's hand. We both got the distinct of Joey in Friends nodding and muttering "Coo-ool!"

That's my boy, and he's on his way back.