We are moved to a side room in the ward - our visitor numbers never quite reach double figures but it has been close once or twice. Tom's last canular fails and his puffy little limbs can offer up no more veins for punishment. I accompany him down to theatre where he has a femoral line put in (and also, while under anaesthetic, the kind staff give him a wash and blow dry, removing three EEG's worth of gel and glue).
Progress is inexorably slow and painful but there are postive noises from all concerned. Tom starts to play; cars are gently guided along the mattress next to his face with his good arm and buttons are pushed on activity centres. Peepo games bring the smallest smiles.
By the end of Mayday weekend we have a little boy with:
- two windmilling arms designed to prevent administration of medicine
- a pathological distrust of anyone in blue and white nurse's stripes and people bearing small torches, syringes, small mallets, probes, blood pressure cuffs and thermometers
- a hatred of nappy changes and the sorest of bottoms (not a good combination)
- a shy but welcome smile
- a very sore neck
- a long period of dependence on antibiotics, physiotherapy, hearing tests and goodness knows how many dates with those listed in (2)
- a devoted set of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and a list of wellwishers that goes on forever
- a lifesize Postman Pat and numerous other new 'cuddlies' when all he wants is cars.