People were slowly going home but not before they said, if my Dad ever wanted anything even, just company he should give them a ring and they would come and see him. Most of them lived in either Rotherham or Sheffield most of them only about 10mins.drive away. It was about 6pm by the time we went home after saying goodbye to everyone.
Of course the first thing was to put the kettle on then we sat and discussed the day. We all agreed it was horrible at first but after seeing and talking to everyone we all felt much better.
Dennis said because he was going to rehab he wouldn’t be able to visit my Dad until it was over. My Dad said he would, when able try to visit Dennis . I said I would write and if possible if they allowed it I would telephone him. He said for the first month or two he wouldn’t be able to have any contact with anyone.
We decided yet again we would have fish and chips, Dennis came with my and we left my Dad getting the plates ready. Dennis and I chatted I knew he had been really hurt not knowing my Mum had died he said in future he would always leave either a number or address so that we could contact him. I said it was even more important now as my Dad would be on his own and if anything happened to him I would like to be able to get hold of Dennis as he could be there quicker than myself.
We had our fish and chips and Dennis went home and said he would come and see my Dad later in the week. I wished him all the luck in the world getting off the drugs and would try and see him when he was allowed visitors.
I was dreading going home the next day and leaving my Dad on his own but I had no choice. I was missing my kids dreadfully and hoped Mike was being reasonable with them. He had such a short fuse. I also had a job to go too. They had been amazing about letting me have all this time off with pay. I must not abuse it. My Dad did understand but I knew he was apprehensive. I said I would ring him two or three times a week and that if he wanted a chat or whatever to ring me either at work or at home anytime.
It was very emotional saying goodbye to my Dad I couldn’t believe my Mum had gone forever. I was sobbing and had to drive around the corner to sort myself out before that long ride home. On the M1 you needed to have your wits about you.
I found a phone box and rang home but there was no-one in. I pulled myself together and off home I went , I should be home probably just as the kids came home from school.
I got home before the children came home from school. The house was a bit of a mess but I didn’t mind as long as they were ok which I would soon find out. I was just going to sit down and have a cup of tea when Sheila and Steve came in followed by Lesley. They came running down the hall straight into my arms and we had a big hug the four of us. They said they had missed me, that their dad had been horrid to them and for me to please not leave them with him again. He hadn’t hit them but he had been really mean. Made them do all the housework and washing up and to go to bed really early.
I said I was back now and we could try to get back to normality. They said they were already missing their Nan and felt guilty about not going to the funeral. I told them their granddad had agreed it was best for them to stay at home. He also said in a few weeks he would like to see them and I had agreed to take them in the next holidays for a couple of days.
I had no idea what time Mike would be home he had not left a note. I got dinner for me and the kids as I thought he would probably eat at work as he knew I was coming home today. I had quite a lot of washing to do and my stuff to get ready for work in the morning.
I was looking forward to getting back to normal as the last few weeks had been the worst of my life and I felt drained. I wasn’t really looking forward to work in the morning I felt so tired.
Mike came home about 9.00pm he had eaten so I didn’t have to cook again. Sheila and Steve were upstairs in bed and Lesley and I were watching TV. Mike asked how everything had gone and was my Dad ok. I said he appeared to be coping but we would see when he was on his own . He said the kids had been quite good but he thought I was too easy with them . He said they should do more around the house. He thought they should each have their jobs to do. I said he was probably right and I would think about it.
I went to work the next morning and everyone was asking how things went. I thanked my boss for being so understanding it helped a lot not having to worry about getting back to work. He said he expected me to have the rest of the week off. There aren’t many bosses like him. John Minto one of the inspectors, in fact, my favourite said he was glad I was back as he had been booking his own overseas travel and Hotels and had made a real mess of it. I really loved my job it was so interesting. Arranging the visits for the inspectors at home and overseas, they had to be unannounced as it would have defeated the object if the companies had been informed , the B.S.I. kite-mark was very important as a lot of places would not buy the goods if they were not kite-marked as they knew how thorough the inspections were. There were about 6 inspectors based at the office and 4 who worked from home dealing with inspections at home.
It was a really good place to work everyone was so nice. The work involved a meticulous approach as one error on booking flights etc.. was catastrophic. I had been there four years and had worked hard to get this job as I started as just a clerk. I loved challenges and this had certainly been one . The first thing I had to do was get the inspectors to trust me to get the job done to make their working lives run smooth.
While I had been away Steve had been complaining about a painful ankle, Mike said he thought he had sprained it or something. Steve said it was still really hurting him so I said would make him an appointment at the doctors, which I did and was able to get an appointment for the following evening.
We saw Dr Williams and she said she thought he must have sprained it but to be sure there were no breaks she sent us to the hospital. Steve had x-rays and nothing was broken but there did appear to be unexplained swelling of the foot and ankle so they said they would refer us to the orthopedic consultant and to wait for an appointment through the post
Poor Steve the pain got worse and worse it got so bad he had to get up in the middle of the night and put his foot under the cold tap to try and get some relief from the pain. He was such a brave little soul he didn’t wake me up. Finally we received an appointment to see the consultant.
Steve and I went to West Herts Hospital and saw the consultant Mr. Savant and he was puzzled he said he wanted to do some more special x-rays so he walked with Steve and I to the x-ray dept. Steve was walking in front of us and the doctor turned to me and said “he doesn’t know we are watching him and he is still limping badly”. I was fuming I told him I thought that was very underhand and that he hadn’t seen my son crying with pain , if he had he would know it was not fake. He apologized but said he had to see for his-self. The Doctor arranged for Steve to have a small operation, in fact a biopsy on his ankle, this was very scary for Steve. After the operation he wasnt allowed to put any weight on his foot
We put a TV in Steve’s bedroom to try and keep him off his foot. It was going to be really horrible for him as Sheila and Lesley were at school and Mike and I at work, there was no way I could have more time off work. I left him drinks and something to eat but other than that he only had Candy the dog for company.
After a week Steve was just about pulling his hair out and his foot was no better if anything worse maybe from the lack of exercise. The other thing that worried me was him not being able to go to school but it was how things were. A couple of weeks went by and we received an appointment to see Dr Savant. He said the tests were inconclusive and he had referred Steve to a consultant who specialised in this type of problem. In the meantime he would prescribe him a new stronger medication to ease the pain. He was to use the crutches as much as possible.
At last we received an appointment for Northwick Park Hospital for a couple of day’s time, I arranged to have the day off from work as holiday. I couldn’t wait to try and get a diagnosis for Steve, as yet we still had no idea what was wrong. He had lost so much weight and was bent like an old man, it really was a scary time and you always fear the worst.
We went to Northwick Park hospital and they were so thorough. First the Doctor saw him (a lady doctor). She had a good look at his foot and leg asked him loads of questions in a nice way not condescending like Mr. Savant. Then it was more x-rays and also she took photographs of him full on and side views as she said she needed to have a record of how he looked at the onset of the treatment she was going to sort out for him. She said she had a few ideas of what was wrong but would wait until she had seen all the x-rays and photo`s and read thoroughly the notes provided by Mr Savant. At last someone was going to hopefully find out what was wrong with Steve. She said she wanted to see us in two weeks time.
The two weeks seemed to take ages to come round. She took one look at him and said she could see further deterioration in the two weeks since she had seen him. Also from the tests she did last time she found that his leg was thinner than the other one also the bones in his knee were rubbing together and going powdery as the fluid sacs that cushioned the bones were non existent. The damage to his knee was possibly caused by the use of the crutches. This led her to be 98% sure that Steve had juvenile arthritis and although it was going to take weeks, months or maybe years, by puberty it would disappear as quick as it came.
To alleviate the pain he was in she was going to prescribe a different medication and also get him a special insert to put in his shoe that would help with the pain not cure it but also lesson the damage to his knee. For this we had to see someone else for them to make a mould of his foot then they would build it up to what the doctor thought was needed then Steve would try it for a week then she wanted to see him again and if necessary make further adjustments.
We went away feeling really optimistic. I got a phone call from the hospital a week later and they said the insert was ready and could I take Steve the following day with the shoes he would be wearing for possibly the next two months.
Off we went to the hospital and the insert was fitted in his shoe by a technician, he had to adjust it to fit the shoe, now I realized why they wanted Steve to wear the shoes he would be wearing for the next few months. They had him walking indoors and outdoors, for him to see if it helped him, they didn’t want him to use the crutches any more she thought they were doing more harm than good. He said it felt much easier with very little pain. A few more adjustment `s were made and it was just a matter of time for Steve to get used to it.
At last there was light at the end of the tunnel, we had at last got a diagnosis, also we now new it would eventually go even if it was 3 or 4 years away. This still seemed daunting. The doctor said he must not do any sport or PE at school but other than that he could do whatever he felt able to do. I think Steve felt tons better just knowing that it would go. He seemed much brighter.
I rang my Dad that evening and he said he was doing ok. He said he had his moments missing my Mum but on the whole he was doing better than he thought he would. Auntie Betty he said had been brilliant and was really looking after him. He said he had been to see Dennis in the clinic and that he seemed to be doing fine. The old Dennis was coming back. Dennis told him he would be in there for six months.
Lesley was doing really well at school she had made a really good friend with a girl called Cathy, she was a really nice girl and was spending a lot of time at our house. She had three brothers, she was the only girl and the youngest. I don’t think her home life was very good, she hadn’t said anything but I just felt things were a bit not what they should be.
In a couple of weeks it would be the school summer break, which this year would be a bit of a problem, as previously my Mum had come to stay and watched the kids. I would just have to trust them to behave. Lesley was 13 yrs old and very sensible far beyond her years. Mike doing shifts would help also as he would be home part of the day. It still worried me.
I wasn’t feeling too well myself at this time I think with everything that had happened over the last couple of months and now the pressure was off I felt quite ill. I couldn’t speak properly, my words were all coming out back to front. I felt so tired and worn out. I was also losing weight which I couldn’t afford. Mike persuaded me to go to the doctors. I explained everything to her, she said she thought I was suffering from depression and prescribed some anti depressants which I was loathe to take but I had to do something. She said it would take a couple of weeks before they did anything.
I got worse, not better, I couldn’t stop crying why I was crying I had no idea. I went back to the Doctors and she said the antidepressants were not working. She said she would like to try something else if I would not mind. She said she was going to prescribe me some multi vitamins as she was sure I didn’t eat very well when I was travelling up and down the motorway every weekend. I told her I wasn’t eating much now as I wasn’t hungry. I said I would give it a go
It was called Vitavel, and after a few days I started to feel so much better, within a week I was back to normal all it had been was a vitamin deficiency. The kids had been on holiday for about 2 weeks and it seemed to be working ok.
Mike`s sister June who lived in Hammersmith, she had a general store one of those that opened early in the morning and didn’t shut until midnight. She rang and asked if Sheila would like to go and stay a few days as Mikes other sister Mollys daughter was over from Belfast and her and Sheila were really good mates.
Sheila was thrilled to bits she loved helping in the shop. It was arranged Mike would take her on the Friday and the visit was open ended. That helped me as well as there would only be Lesley and Stephen at home during the day. It seemed to be so quiet without Sheila there was no one for Lesley and Steve to argue with. Sheila telephoned us a couple of times saying she was having a great time