Heading for the finishing line

We’re in the last week or so of J.’s treatment in hospital. Her neutrofil count was up to 0.4 by Friday, which means she almost has enough of an immune system up and running to come home – we hope by Wednesday. However, she is still trying to fight off a chest infection, and has developed a rash that needs checking out, so her final coming home may be delayed. Mercifully, the squits induced by all the antibiotics are at last in abeyance.

She sounded pretty good on the phone yesterday, bright and cheerful, which is also a hopeful sign. Given that she is entirely fed up with being contained in a small room, and probably never wants to touch hospital food ever again – even I’ve gone off what’s served up in the canteen, and I only eat there a few times a week – she needs to come home.

J. is about a stone and a half lighter than she was when all this began six months ago. There was never very much of her anyway, so the hairless creature that will emerge from hospital will be shocking gaunt. A fattening but healthy diet awaits her.

One lesson here is that if you are going to suffer a critical illness, you want to be slightly overweight. Being a healthy weight for ordinary life doesn’t give you the reserves for six months of brutal drug therapy, nausea and diarrhoea. Middle-aged spread can be good for you.


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