Saturday, March 27, 2010

Being flexible

A few weeks ago, I booked for Hope, Ellie, William and I to go on our first ever holiday together - the first time we've been ever to get away in six years. Thomas the Tank Engine is coming to Butlins and I know a little boy who adores Thomas and friends! I thought Butlins would be an easy holiday for the first with all the medicines and feed and, as I don't drive, we could get there easily by train and then have all we need on site. With everything booked for Easter Monday until the following Friday, I was devastated to hear yesterday that there would be a national rail strike that week. We'd be able to get there OK but the strike could prevent us returning home. I spent ages on the phone working out alternatives and came up with a contingency plan to stay an extra night if necessary. It would add to the cost but no 'spring of discontent' was going to ruin this special holiday!

Before William's transplant I would never have dared book anything any further than a day away. Every time we ever planned anything, he always ended up in hospital and we learned it was better not to set ourselves up for the disappointment. William is doing really well after transplant. The only thing that is causing slight concern is that the bowel that comes through his tummy to form his illeostomy has been prolapsed for quite some time now and has a few sores where the delicate internal tissue rubs on his clothes. [For any new readers, William's colon was removed at the time of his transplant but wasn't replaced. You can cope fine without a colon with the end of the small bowel being bought out through the skin to form an illeosomy] When we were at transplant clinic last week, we discussed the prolapse and our consultant said he felt it was time we thought about fixing it. He asked me to send a photo for him to discuss with the surgeon and then come back to me with a plan. I was surprised this morning to get an admission letter for William to go to Birmingham on 5th April for surgery. The day we were meant to be going to Butlins!

My initial reaction was to call the team on Monday and ask for this admission to be postponed. Then I thought about it a bit more. Being on my own, I can't cope with these admissions without Mum and Dad being fantastic and looking after the girls and they are away for 3 weeks from the end of April. Ellie has her SATS in May and then will begin her preparation for secondary school. It would be awful for her to be away then and miss meetings and visits to the new school. The girls are looking forward to a week with Grandma and Granddad and they're off to their Dad's for the second week of the holidays. If it wasn't for the fact we'd booked our holiday, this admission is actually perfect timing. Thankfully, a quick call and our holiday was rebooked for the first week in August. Thomas won't be there but I think it will be better for William overall as his plaster casts will be off so he can go in the pool and play on the beach.

With the holiday sorted, I'm now planning how I'll juggle work. I have lots of fantastic stories that need working into pitches so I'll get as much as I can worked up and pitched to editors this week. Hopefully, some will be commissioned and I'll be able to do the interviews, write them up and write features while we're away. The 3G reception is pretty ropey at the hospital so I'll have to negotiated an hour or so away from Wills to find an internet cafe if I need file any copy to meet a deadline. A couple of new DVDs will help me win a few hours. For the most of the week, I'll concentrate on my novel. I think one big push during the evenings while Wills is asleep and I'll have the first full draft finished. I can also research some more agents and work out a strategy towards getting a publishing deal by the end of the year. There are two main reasons why I'm a freelance writer. I am passionate about writing and telling stories and the flexibility of freelancing is essential to my life. My work can be worked around William being home if he's unwell, hospital appointments and admissions. I'm lucky this time to have a week to manage the work I have on so I cam make it easier to take with me to the hospital and assess what can be realistically done from there, what needs to be done before we go and what I can leave for when we get back.

I'm pretty confident I can juggle everything and not get behind during the week to ten day stay they've predicted. The girls will be fine for that long, and would have been away for half of the time anyway. I just hope William's bowel settles quickly after the operation so it doesn't drag on. At least our new holiday is several months away so we should all be back on track by then.

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