Barrie turned sixty five this year and started to receive his state pension. But that’s not what made it a tough year.
Warwick’s health started to deteriorate and by the spring he was visibly losing weight and suffering from a tremor in his limbs. Diagnosis was a drawn out process of elimination. His anti-convulsants, nasty tummy bugs, and loss of appetite all came under scrutiny.
After losing a fifth of his body weight and becoming very lethargic he contracted pneumonia a few days after a barium swallow test. During the next month in hospital he sank very low, losing more weight, he was emaciated and frail. After leaving intensive care there was a very dark time when his lungs filled with more fluid and it seemed he wouldn’t pull through.
Lots of friends and family were praying for him. The hospital staff were brilliant. At a very critical time a physiotherapist persisted with Warwick and removed over a litre of fluid from his lungs. That was the turning point. We had never known before that physios saved lives – but in Warwick’s case, they certainly did. He slowly started to improve. Perhaps low level lung infection had been behind his demise all the time. He’d been aspirating; taking fluids and food into his lungs because he was failing to swallow properly. A not uncommon thing with people of his age (he’s 41) who have cerebral palsy.
At this stage he had to be strong enough to have a general anaesthetic to have a PEG tube fitted; that is a small feeding tube inserted through the wall of his stomach. In future all of his food, fluids and medication will be administered through this tube. Nil by mouth for the rest of his life.
He is still weak but back at his own home. He is slowly putting on weight and looking better. He now often greets us with a smile but is still unable to move his arms and legs. We hope physiotherapy will gradually help to him to more fully recover. He’s confined to bed for the time being and may not be well enough to come home to us for Christmas. He needs our prayers.
The overhead of going to see Warwick for a few hours each day has, at times, taken it’s toll on us too, but we have been sustained by God’s grace and our good friends, and we’re in good heart.