November 2006


Anthea and Mike ar now settling into life back at home after over seven weeks away in Oxford. The move has gone very well and Anthea is now eating normally and hopefully starting to put back some of the weight she lost whilst being in hospital.

Her mobility continues to improve and she is dealing well with the stairs at Wethered House. Yesterday she actually came downstairs and managed to make a cup of tea!

Mike and Anthea had a good appointment with the spinal orthopaedic consultant at Frenchay hospital last Thursday morning. Her spine was X rayed and the Consultant was very happy with what he saw. They were very encouraged to hear that there is a possibility that the ‘halo’ might be removed on December 18th in time for Christmas. Another piece of encouragement was that the halo would be replaced by a soft collar rather than the somewhat stiff Miami brace they thought would be fitted following the removal of the ‘halo’.

Travelling in the car has not proved to be a major problem for Anthea in terms of either comfort or her emotions. This means that she can be taken out occasionally.

The family continue to be extremely grateful for the prayers and practical offers of help from so many people. Progress continues…….please keep praying!

Anthea is now home! Mike drove her back. They’re both doing very well and are really pleased to be home. It’s great news and we thank God for it.

We have to reiterate that they are not ready to receive visitors and won’t be for some time (probably till after Christmas).  Thanks for your understanding.

The news has just broken that after a re-appraisal of Anthea’s situation, it has been decided that she no longer requires hospitalisation and will be sent home to Bristol, either today or tomorrow.  A decision about this will be taken after lunch today.

This is obviously a massive encouragement to the family who are now in the process of making the necessary back-up arrangements for Anthea’s care at home.  It seems amazing that seven weeks and two days after the horrific crash she will be returning home.  Another visitor at the hospital who suffered serious injuries in a car crash some years ago was telling Mike and Anthea that he was in hospital for nine months!  Even after a little over seven weeks, Mike and Anthea look forward to this massive leap towards a more normal life.  Please pray for them as they return home – Anthea will be driven home in Mike’s car – and for the necessary back-up and after care.

It is important to understand that though Anthea is returning home she will not be ready to receive visitors until she feels confident enough to do so.  The family would be really grateful if you would honour this request.  Mike has frequently stated that ‘words cannot adequately express the depth of gratitude that myself and my whole family feel to the thousands of people who have prayed, written and supported us through this really difficult time.’ 

The general feeling is that Anthea will certainly not be ready to receive visitors until she has had the halo removed, which hopefully will be some time just before Christmas.  Any further news about visitors will be communicated through the blog.

Not much to report so far this week. Frenchay hospital in Bristol have in theory given Anthea the green light to be transferred there, but until a bed and transport become available, she will remain in Oxford.

Please can you therefore pray for a bed to become available in Bristol? Can you also pray that Anthea will start to regain the weight she has lost over the past 6 weeks and that she will regain her staimina levels and strength?

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support.

After an uncertain beginning, the week seems to be coming to a very positive end .  Anthea is moving pretty freely. She has been walking up and down steps in the hospital gym and Naomi took her outside for the first time in her wheel chair.  Blood tests show her to be currently free from infection, and although still experiencing pain and nausea, she is in excellent spirits.  She has been very brave this week and it seems, although the fusion surgery was not the Plan A, it might lead to a quicker recovery.

The other major bit of tentative news is that the consultant has indicated that Anthea could well be transferred to Frenchay in Bristol in the near future.

Mike has been having some very positive conversations with people – staff, patients, family members – throughout the hospital over the past month. He has developed some good relationships and people have obviously been interested in him given his role.

Judging by the way she’s been today, Anthea seems to have responded well to the operation . She’s been out of bed, both walking a little and spending time in her chair . The morphine etc has on the one hand kept her pain under control but on the other hand caused her a fair amount of nausea which she’s found difficult.

But overall, given yesterday’s operation, it’s been a good day. Anthea would appreciate prayer that her body would be protected from infection and this nausea would subside.  Her and the whole family are really grateful for the prayers and messages from so many people.

Anthea returned to the ward on the trauma unit at about 5.45pm.  She came through the operation well, though initially after her return to the ward she was in excessive pain.  By 7pm this pain was pretty well under control and she was chatting away with the family.  By the time the family left the hospital at 8.30pm she was feeling very sleepy.

At the time the family left, the doctors had not done their evening ward round and consequently they were not able to discover what had been done and how successful the operation had been.  However, the early signs are promising and Anthea was able to move her legs freely. 

Please pray that she will be free of infection in these early post-operative days and that this operation will not seriously impede the excellent progress that she was making.

The family were at the hospital for most of the day and although they are tired they are in good heart.  Some of them will be returning to their jobs/college tomorrow.

More information will be posted tomorrow when details of the operation are made available by the surgical team.

Anthea went into surgery at 2pm. we will post a comment later this evening when there is news of how it went and how she is.  Mike and the family have been really encouraged by the comments reasuring the family about this operation.

Sadly, things took an unexpected turn today.  X rays taken yesterday revealed the fact that contrary to what the family had thought, the ‘halo’ was not doing its job.  A couple of the fractures were subject to what the consultant called ‘slippage’ and had become unstable.

This means that on Monday Anthea will have to undergo spinal fusion surgery.  This apparently involves taking a piece of bone from her hip and fusing it with the damaged vertebrae in her neck.  Obviously this surgery carries some risk and Anthea and the family were clear that they wished to share this news as soon as possible for your prayers.

Obviously this news has been a discouragement to Anthea and the family, not least because the news prior to this setback had all been very positive.  They are however in reasonable heart and trusting that Anthea will come through the surgery.

This proves to have been an eventful week.  Anthea has made steady progress and has visited the re-hab gym on the unit on a couple of occasions!  Her walking is improving all the time and she is able to do her hand therapy several times a day, which is particularly important over the next ten days or so.  Yesterday was not such a good day as she felt very nauseous all day and was unable to eat or drink.  Consequently, she was put back on a drip yesterday evening. 

There has been more talk about the future and yesterday the spinal consultant saw Anthea.  He was clear that she did not need neuro-rehab and that it was really only physio-therapy that she would require.  She will still need to be under the care of a spinal consultant who would supervise the halo until its removal.  This may be sooner than  anticipated as the consultant was hopeful that it may be removed in four weeks.  This is  better than the three months minimum that was expected.  When removed it would be re-placed with something called a Miami Brace, which certainly looks a lot less invasive.

The consultant was keen that Anthea should be transferred to the care of Bristol doctors, largely on the basis that the Oxford team are familiar with their Bristol counterparts.  They are even starting to talk about discharging her from hospital at some stage in the near future.  The family have some anxiety about Anthea coming to the Bristol house because of its overall unsuitability for someone who will have limited mobility.  For those who don’t know the present house has four storeys.

The family are much encouraged by these developments.  Mike will remain with his eldest daughter, Naomi for the forseeable future in High Wycombe.  The rest of the family have returned to a level of normality.  Anthea does not feel ready, as yet, to deal with visitors.

The family would particularly appreciate prayer for making the right decisions about Anthea’s future care.

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