It's not Monday – The Bangles got it wrong

How low can you go

So this is Emma, Bridget’s daughter, writing an update, as I know people are wanting to hear how things are going.

Today is Day 13 post-transplant. Upon diagnosis, when we found out all about the stem cell transplant, we were told that the whole process takes about three weeks – with the second week being the worst. They were not lying!

Things were going very well – almost too well, and Martin and I were hoping that she might be the third person in 6 years not to get an infection post transplant. Unfortunately that was not the case. First of all, when her neutrophils plummeted to 0.0, so did her platelets – to 10. Two bags of donated platelets (thank thank, thank you, donors) made a huge difference. Then yesterday morning when I arrived, she had a slight cough. By lunchtime it was a full-blown cough with accompanying blocked nose and painful sinuses, and by the evening she was burning up. Since then it’s been a rollercoaster of high temps, reaching 41.2, then down, then up, and on we go. Chest X-ray and CT showed nothing sinister, and the results of viral swabs and blood cultures are still pending. She was started on one antibiotic, then a second, and today a third – in an effort to cover all bases. Her PICC line has been removed, as it has been in 2 weeks. One of the nurses said that 9 times out of 10 it is the PICC line that is the cause of generalised infection. Her CRP, the infection marker in the blood, has doubled in the last 24 hours.

Wet socks to bring down the fever

Despite all this, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The registrar this morning said that he expects her neutrophils, currently 0.0, to start rising in the next 24-48 hours. This will mean she finally will have some white blood cells to fight whatever infection is currently running wild. So right now, she sleeps a lot, and we sit, and wait. And eat a lot of biscuits.

I’ve learnt a few things this week. I’ve learnt that my mum is even tougher than I thought. I’ve learnt that I’m tougher than I thought. I’ve learnt that my mum swears like a sailor when she’s really ill (yes – even more than usual). I’ve learnt that it is a gift to be able to care for my mother. A gift I will always treasure. It turns out that time together is always precious, even if it’s under the most difficult circumstances.

And in between the fevers, I check to see if her inimitable sense of humour is still intact. I’m afraid I can confirm that it is.

I’ll post again in a day or two, when I hope things will look a bit brighter. Thank you all so much for the messages of love and support coming in from far and wide. Although she is too ill to answer them all right now, I know she will reply once she feels better. I read her all the messages as they come in and she likes to hear them, so keep sending them!


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  1. Sue Jones February 9, 2019

    I don’t know your mother, Emma, but I’ve been moved by her blogs about her illness, and similarly touched by your post above. What can anyone do except send the support of warm wishes for positive outcomes and speedy recovery. I send all that as well as good wishes for continued strength to you all, particularly Bridget, through this ordeal. Filakia.

    • admin February 9, 2019 — Post Author

      Sue, thank you so much. I read Mum your message and she is touched and grateful for your kind wishes, as am I. xxx

  2. Sam Thomson February 9, 2019

    Hi Emma,

    I have been following your Mum’s blogs and I can see where you get your writing abilities, sense of humour and strength of character from!

    May those white blood cells show themselves very soon and come and start doing their job.

    Sending lots of love to you Bridget and to you Emma and all the family.

    Thinking of you


    • admin February 9, 2019 — Post Author

      Sammi, thank you so so much. I’m so touched you wrote. Mum woke up this morning with no temperature so fingers crossed we have turned the corner now. Hope to maybe see you soon – Maz told me there might be a reunion brewing 🙂

  3. Kitty February 9, 2019

    Oh Emma ❤️

    That’s beautiful. I’m so, so glad you’re with her. I wish I could be, but I’m coughing, Isobel is running a mild temperature and Jacob would not cope with his nana being so poorly at all. I’m simultaneously so proud of mum, and you, and yet so terrified.

    Big hugs to you and Martin, and of course huge virtual ones for mum. She’s amazing. I love you both very much.

    Kitty x

  4. Harriet February 9, 2019

    Hey my darling Ems…Hat here! What an ordeal/adventure you are all going through. This is an amazing, moving, inspiring blog and I just know that it is not only contributing to your Mum’s recovery but is also helping others in so many ways. Inspirational…healing has a coat of many colours, and this blog is particularly vivid. Hope Bridget turns the infection corner soon and that things improve apace. Meantime, go easy on the biccies and dream of all the good times ahead. My love to you all xxxxxx

    • admin February 9, 2019 — Post Author

      Hat my darling, thank you so much. The blog is a very therapeutic process, as is all writing, and writing it all down helps Mum understand and accept everything that’s happening.
      Much love xxxx

  5. Jenny Hemans February 9, 2019

    Hi Ems,
    You and your mum are amazing and I wish I could send you some sleep and a really decent cup of tea. Big hugs and lots of love to you all, Jen xxx

  6. Jo Purchase February 10, 2019

    Hi Emma, beautifully written and very informative. So sorry to hear that Bridget and all of you are having such a tough time at the moment!! Please give her my love and best wishes to you all. Hoping she turns a corner very soon. Xx

  7. E M Hardie February 10, 2019

    Thank you for your update Emma. As one of Bridget’s TA friends and a former room mate I am heartened that she has not had a sense of humour transplant as well as everything else to cope with. May Buddy gain a little strength day by day with your care and that of the medical team supporting you all. Love and hugs to you all. Meg x

  8. Sarah February 10, 2019

    Well done Emma … you are spot on about her strength and yours and how precious these moments are. You are helping Bridget in so many ways, she knows. So eat the biscuits and try to tell funny stories … she will soon be back beating you at some game or other! Sending love and hugs to you both Sarah x

  9. Barbara Johnson February 10, 2019

    Sending lots of love to you all, come on Biddy, get them white cells working! xxxx Bobbie/Barbara

  10. Elleanor Morgan February 10, 2019

    It was great to visit Bridget today to find her sitting in a chair and telling us all about what she can recall about the last two days. In particular the hallucinations which sounded as if she had been on an illegal substance! What a storyteller. We had a most enjoyable afternoon and took with us a feeling of being in awe of someone so fearless and courageous. Emma this is a great blog which will keep her followers enthralled. I feel privileged to know your mum x

  11. Eileen Hurley February 10, 2019

    Thankyou Emma for keeping the blog going and giving us all an update. Thinking of you all as Bridget’s journey continues. X Eileen

  12. Barbara Boffey February 10, 2019

    Thank you Emma for the update. Poor Bridget – she is really going through it – but she is such a strong lady and will come through this. I will come and see her and share with her my experiences of India as soon as she is well enough (and I have got rid of my cold germs!) Sending lots of love to your mum. Barbara x.

  13. Pip February 12, 2019

    more sweary than normal?! Bloody hell! she will get kicked out of the hospital if she isn’t careful. I will not get mushy despite the fact i can’t read any of the blog posts without crying – I hope she knows we love her and are thinking of her. I’m glad you are there Em (also because i know how much you should have been a Doctor) and that you and Martin have got support with the “other friends” keeping you fed and generally taking care of the carers! It shows what a woman Bridget is – I know about the swearing and the stubborness and was relieved she managed to eat some crisps because i know her love for the Kettle chip is strong! As for the sense of humour – thank f**** for that! Pip x

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