Gladlee of Guernsey

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Friday 28th March,  Kilifi to Dulwich

As it turned out, we did hire the jeep but didn’t make the safari trip, Nigel had become increasingly more ill, with a constant headache and was disorientated and a bit confused. We therefore booked him on a flight back to the UK and Julie dropped him off at the airport before returning the jeep. Nigel went to Dulwich and immediately got an appointment at King’s Hospital, they took one look at him and decided to keep him in and operate within a few days. Julie meanwhile went back to Kilifi to pack up the boat for a few months, all the electronics had to come off and be stored in Daphne’s attic, sails removed and stored and all the other usual ‘wintering’ jobs. Julie got a phone call from Nigel’s mother, Jo, who asked her to come home immediately as Nigel really was not well. Julie therefore booked a flight by telephone straight away from Mombassa to Nairobi, then the BA flight to London. On arriving at Mombassa airport and going to the ticket office, she bought a ticket as planned only to find that the flight had been cancelled. It turned out that more than one flight had been cancelled so there was quite a backlog of people trying to get to Nairobi and many with connecting flights. However Julie could not persuade the officials that she was desperate to get on the next flight and had to wait her turn only to eventually arrive in Nairobi just as the BA flight took off. Of course having booked the flights by phone, she didn’t actually have a ticket, so nobody was interested in helping her or putting her up in a hotel for the night etc. So she went to the BA office which was just closing and managed to persuade them to sell her a ticket for the flight that had just left … no doubt the money went into somebody’s pocket, but it didn’t matter – she was in the system and got a hotel for the remainder of the night and managed to get on a KLM flight in the morning going to London. After all the hassle she was only 12 hours late arriving in London and Nigel was settled comfortably into a hospital bed. The surgeon was surprised that the tumour had grown so quickly.

They operated on the Tuesday and removed as much of the brain tumour as possible. After a couple of weeks recuperation, Nigel underwent six weeks of intensive radio-therapy at the Marsden Hospital in Sutton, the speciality cancer unit but it became increasingly obvious that the tumour was still too aggressive and we were just gaining some time. He was suffering from dysphasia and was finding it difficult to string a sentence together so conversation with him was quite difficult. During this time many people visited, including James and Iris from Germany, Robin and Alison from Wakefield, Kevin and Alison, Tony Wildig and the Wood’s family.

Tuesday July 22nd, Wellingborough

We travelled up to Julie’s parent’s house in Wellingborough for Julie’s 40th birthday.  Unfortunately Nigel didn’t take the travelling too well and needed to take a couple of sleeping tablets and ended up sleeping right through until a quarter to midnight on the day…. Meanwhile Julie and her parents did pop out for lunch with her brother and family but a rather subdued affair.

We returned to Dulwich and Nigel continued on various tablets but gradually his health deteriorated. We had a lot of support from the local hospice who were always on call and willing to help, and McMillon nurses who came and did night shift when Julie and Jo got too tired. He died on 8th September.


Bon Voyage Nigel



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