On Armistice Day a year ago, Clive fell on his knees in a hotel just outside Rheims in the North of France. He couldn’t get up by himself nor could our friends get him up. He slipped into a coma. It was the fire brigade which finally laid him on a stretcher and transported him to the local hospital where he was put in Intensive Care.
He was on a ventilator for a month. After a further month we heard that the hospital in Britain wouldn’t receive him even if he recovered. I’d been forced to return to Italy and he was effectively in solitary confinement.
Another month elapsed and a colonoscopy was arranged, but cancelled and forgotten. It was finally performed a month later and revealed a large malignant tumour in Clive’s lower intestine.
Nearly 5 months after his initial collapse, at the beginning of April, Clive was transferred to a hospital in Paris. At the end of 3 months of chemotherapy, he underwent an 8-hour operation to remove the 4-pound tumour. It left him with a colostomy.
In mid-August the Paris hospital arranged for his transfer back to Italy where, naturally, he had to be confined to a sofa after spending more than 9 months on his back and receiving absolutely minimal physiotherapy.
We had a visitation today from 2 doctors and a nurse. My understanding had been that they would look at possibilities of rehabilitation. Nothing doing. The hoist and wheelchair that had been mooted seem to have gone backwards; their specification will be changed; you have to understand these things take time … I couldn’t raise a single shocked eyebrow regarding the 3 months we’ve now spent in Italy without seeing any progress whatsoever.
This has been our own ‘annus horribilis’ but unfortunately it’s still continuing.
Italy has been our home for more than 12 years now, and the house in the photo for most of that time. This blog documents the joys and problems of our existence day by day.
We have our difficulties. My husband, Clive, is permanently disabled. In addition, he recently spent 9 months in French hospitals recovering first from a coma and then from an operation to remove a massive bowel tumour. He’s just finished a course of chemotherapy at home, and is learning to walk again.
Some of our difficulties derive from where we live, but I still love living here. Clive is more circumspect. By reading about our daily life, perhaps you will be able to tell whose view is the more accurate. Does the pleasure outweigh the pain? Or will my writing betray a less rose-tinted reality?
You can also see the books we’ve written and published by clicking on the image below: