15th August

Time passes, as it is wont to do and things change, sometimes for the good and sometimes not.

Dad has asked me to post again, because he has not updated you with his progress for a number of months. The main reason for this is that there has been very little progress in his eyes. His speech is still very slow and slurred and, while it is possible to understand him if you are sat with him, trying to talk on the phone is a nightmare of frustration for both parties. His dominant right hand is still incredibly weak and unable to grip and his balance is still very poor. That said, he has been making some progress - his balance has definitely improved, as well as his confidence (he has recently been fairly confident in moving from armchair to electric wheelchair).

Two weeks ago dad was back in hospital, diagnosed with another urine infection. After some initial assessments they sent him back for an MRI scan and, since the infection had left him feeling weak, dad was convinced he was going to be told the tumour was back, however this afternoon the doctors fed back that they couldn't see any sign of it form the scan, although we have to wait 2 weeks until it's been checked properly. The hospital have made the decision, with dad's consent, to keep him in, at least for the next week or so in order to do some physiotherapy to try and get him confident standing and transferring between chairs again - one thing that has really been demonstrated this week is that if dad doesn't feel confident he cannot make any progress and so feeling like the tumour was coming back has set his progress back by weeks. He's back in the small local hospital and they have asked that both a speech therapist and a neurologist come in to assess dad to see if there is anything else that can be done to stabilise him.

He has also been very lucky that one of his friends has been looking at potential new homes for him, since a two floor, three bedroom, former miners cottage is a lovely home, but it's just not wheelchair friendly. Graham and his wife have filled in 18 page forms in order to put dad forward for special homes designed for people in dad's situation and are now waiting to see what the assess dad's need as (the system works not on 'first come, first serve', but rather on highest need, and they are hoping that dad qualifies as high need).

Finally, when dad went back into hospital he had to make the decision to let his cat, Kitty, go - she is now 11 years old and needs a lot of attention and dad just can't give it to her. Also, no matter how many times she was treated, she seemed to constantly get fleas, which was ideal for dad. Kitty has very kindly been re-homed and is enjoying her new abode (I hear rumours of a chaise lounge in a conservatory - perfect for cat napping).

On brighter news, dad has a second grandchild now, Felicity was born on 25th June and both her and her mum are very happy - her elder sister Ellie is enjoying her new role and things are looking good for them.

I have just returned from a wonderful 3 weeks in California and Vegas and during this time I was grateful that my younger brother Pete picked up the slack and helped out a lot down here while he was on his university summer break (and working every hour he could at a local holiday park). He has been a great help and it was reassuring while I was away to know that someone was down here to support dad.

He has also been very lucky that his cleaner, Emma, has been doing more than her fair share of helping, including visiting him in hospital every other day and collecting his washing. I cannot thank her enough - she is truly the kindest person I've ever met!

Well that's it for this visit to Cornwall - it can be very exhausting when you take into account the 6 hour drive each way so 5 days is definitely my limit when I come down alone - hopefully next update I'll be able to give you so more good news.