October 2006


Mike’s written a letter for this month’s issue of Three Crowns, the Bristol Diocesan newspaper. It is available online at www.bristol.anglican.org under Bishops’ Area / Monthly Message

On the whole Anthea has made good progress this week. She has started physiotherapy for her damaged left hand and this appears to be going well. Though the nursing staff were not necessarily convinced that her feeding tube could be removed permanently, Anthea has made good progress with eating despite the fact that she is only allowed to lie at a 60% angle. Obviously this makes swallowing slightly complicated and can give digestive problems.

There has been no further information about the long term plan for Anthea’s rehabilitation but it is clear that at some stage the issue of her being transferred to another hospital is on the agenda.

A bit of a shock came in the last couple of days.  The back specialist came to see Anthea and alerted her to some additional fractures in her back.  These are in the lumber region. The existence of this other injury had not been clearly understood till now.  As a result, they will extend the “jacket” that she wears . We await further information on this.

Please pray for Anthea as she comes to terms with this additional news. Your prayers for her and the whole family are still very important.

The process continues for Anthea to eat more solid food and less food via the tube.

The family were able to celebrate Nick’s birthday on Tuesday and it’s been good for everyone to be together over the last couple of days.

Thank God for answered prayer.  Yesterday was a better day all round.  Anthea was visited by the hand surgeon who is taking her down to his specialist hand rehabilitation area today to take a look at her hand and to begin specialist hand physio.  Yesterday she was out of bed twice for over an hour.  Anthea was in better spirits yesterday as well, but prayer for her emotional rehabiltation is important.

They have started to wean her away from the feeding tube and yesterday she had some yoghurt and mashed potato (delicious!).  As soon as she readjusts to having solid food she will be able to have the food line removed.

Mike went to the Fracture Clinic at Wycombe Hospital and was told that the X Ray of his broken shoulder was excellent and that it was healing well.  He has some exercises to do and has been told to go back for an appointment in a month’s time.

The family are all well and coping amazingly well.  Although they have not as yet had a meeting with the spinal team which they are still hoping for in the next couple of days, suddenly there has been more talk of her being transferred to a Bristol hospital in the near future.  Watch this space…

Not much to report from over the weekend as you might expect.  Everyone is hoping for some news over the next couple of days, however.

The hand team should be visiting Anthea today to check progress on Friday’s operation which we hope will be the last on her hand.  Hand physio should also begin soon.

The speech therapist should also be coming today to reassess her ability to swallow.  The family are also trying to fix up an appointment with the spinal team over the next couple of days to find out what sort of plan there is for Anthea’s recovery.  They’ve been understandably reticent up till now but the family hopes they might get a better idea now.

Mike is fine.  His shoulder blade appears to be healing very well – without any physio, feels there is total movement which obviously makes life that bit easier.  He is going to the fracture clinic today in High Wycombe so he’s expectant that the medical opinion will be positive too.

Anthea went into theatre for what we hope is the last time to have some work done on her left hand.  They did some more skin grafts and have closed the wound.  Please pray that the grafts will take and this will be the last surgery they have to do.  She’s, not surprisingly, in some pain as a result of this.

Lella is now back up from Brighton for a few days.   The family still have no idea on the timeframe for recovery, how long Anthea will be at the John Radcliffe etc but the patience of Anthea and her family has been outstanding.

Anthea has had a couple of good nights since Monday’s operation.  The hand surgeon came to see her yesterday.  He said he was pleased with the surgery when they removed the tip of her middle finger.  She will probably go back into theatre on Friday and Saturday for more cleaning.

The speech therapist also spent some time with Anthea and assessed her ability to swallow.  She can do this, but because they do not currently want to raise her above 60 degrees, the feeding tube will remain in for the time being (she might choke otherwise).

Anthea has spent some time out of bed, in her chair, and the physio will continue to move her on with movement and walking etc.

The family are doing well. Charis came up for the evening last night and will be back next week as it will be half-term.  They continue to feel well-supported and thankful for the developments, messages of support and prayers.

Getting clear news from the hospital has not been straightforward the last 24 hours. It seems that Anthea’s surgery on her hand went fine.  They had to remove the tip of her middle finger on her left hand, but that was what they planned following the surgeon’s examination a few days ago.  Further surgery might still be required.

Signs of progress keep coming. Apparently, they had Anthea standing up and with the assistance of a physio, she took some small steps.

Alexa has returned to be with the family which has been a blessing to Mike, Nick, NAomi and her family.  More concrete news will come when we hear it…

Anthea will be going into theatre at lunchtime today for further surgery on her left hand.  They will do another skin graft and probably remove the tip of one of her fingers (see Saturday’s post).  Anthea has been really brave about this.  Please pray for her and that the surgery will go well.

Not too much to report this morning.  The hospital reported that Anthea had a reasonable night and the family are leaving for the hospital to be there in time for the start of visiting at am.  After  a slow start yesterday and then her daily physio session, Anthea was in good spirits when the family left yesterday evening.

Today, Charis returns to Bristol and back to her teaching job tomorrow.  Lella returned to Brighton last night.

Mike and the family would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your concern and interest. Mike sends this message to you all.  “Your prayers have really made a difference.  Even through the dark hours immediately after the accident, when it was not clear whether Anthea would survive, we felt the strength of being upheld by the prayers of many people.  Your messages and your encouragement have been unbelievable and we cannot begin to thank you all for your incredible support.  THANK YOU!  Please continue to keep us in your prayers”

This blog has been visited almost 35,000 times since it was first posted.  The family have received over 1,000 cards and seperate E Mails.  Though not all this support has come from Christians, which in itself is moving, the vast majority has, proving St Paul’s teaching that when one part of the body hurts the rest of the body feels it.  All of this is indeed ‘love of another kind.’

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