Precious Moments

Last Thursday Gary paced the rooms of our house trying to shift pain which he put down to indigestion.  It was bad enough that at one point he was on the kitchen floor writhing in pain, but he also took himself off to work the next morning, not having managed to get any sleep.  His second-in-command sent him back home.  He still thought he had indigestion.


It wasn’t until around lunch time when he was doubled over in pain, barely able to talk, that I made the executive decision to take him to A & E.  I say executive because he was refusing to go anywhere and had only just allowed me to phone the GP for an appointment.  I have never seen Gary in so much pain.  Ever.  So when the nurse asked him to grade his pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and he answered ‘around a seven’ I felt like kicking him.  I immediately explained to the nurse and any one else who would listen that my husband was in a great deal of pain, and the level was waaay greater than seven.  They must have taken note (or maybe they noticed that Gary was still unable to stand straight, let alone talk) because they immediately gave him some pain relief and we were seen by a doctor fairly soon after this.

Bearing in mind Gary had felt a generalised pain around his tummy area, we were both quite surprised when he very nearly propelled himself into orbit when the doctor examined (read poked) his right side.  We all knew what this meant, and it was confirmed when blood tests showed high levels of infection.  It was his appendix.  He was transferred to another hospital and given both morphine and codeine over night.  We are not sure why the decision to operate was deferred until the next morning, but it was.  When the surgeon operated he did not find an infected appendix but a gangrenous, dead one.  Gary’s abdominal cavity was filled with pus.  He was in theater for over four hours.

I saw Gary briefly with the two little ones on Saturday, but he was still woozy from the op.  Nik, my lovely friend, who dropped everything to do anything which needed to be done, looked after the little two so I could spend half an hour with my husband, whilst her husband kept an eye on my older three and their own two boys.

We were expecting Gary to be out the next day (at this point we knew nothing of how the surgery went – he found that out during the morning rounds on Sunday), but in light of how nasty the operation had actually been the surgeon wanted to keep Gary on IV antibiotics over the next twenty four hours.  If his blood test showed no infection he would then be allowed out.  I spent the entire afternoon with Gary thanks to our lovely friends Leah and Jonathon, who looked after the little ones.  It was so incredibly wonderful to be together again, we didn’t stop giggling the whole afternoon 🙂

The next morning the blood test came back fine and Gary could leave.  By this time I was getting texts from him begging to come and collect him.  He wanted home and he wanted home RIGHT NOW!  Fortunately he didn’t have to wait long and Mum and I went up to collect him.  He came home barely recognisable, having lost his appetite along with a few inches of weight.  The first couple of days he slept for most of the day and night, but Wednesday came and he began to eat more and seemed in less pain.  Thursday he declared himself out of pain, and ready to join the land of the living.

I can’t begin to express how supported we both felt as friends in the UK, Northern Ireland and around the world were lifting him up in prayer.  The surgeon said it was a very nasty appendix, but was completely no nonsense about the whole thing.  He was the perfect consultant for Gary to be under.  Gary’s first nurse was a Christian, and a very musical one at that, singing worship songs softly to herself.  Food was at the ready anytime, and we had so many offers of help, we literally were not in need at any time.  There were many blessings to be found in a potentially life threatening situation and we are so grateful for the incredible care Gary received from our NHS.  From the moment we arrived at A and E to the moment Gary was discharged the care was excellent.

The rest of the week has kind of tottered along, without a huge amount being achieved.  But Daddy’s home and that is all that matters for us.  The last couple of days or so I have been roping Gary into a bit of home schooling from his bedside, helping B5 with her reading and A7 with her maths.  He’s such a trooper! (Actually, I suggested it because he was going stark raving mad, having to rest all day long.  I thought it might take his mind off it 😉  )


So each day the little ones managed reading/phonics, writing, spelling, maths, science as well as continuing with their rain forest learning.  And playing outside.  Lots of playing outside (glorious weather at the moment).

T has done a lesson of maths each day, a whole unit of chemistry (which he will send off for marking tomorrow), and lots of reading around the subject of chemistry.

L has done a maths lesson each day, worked towards her African jewellery party and completed three different art lessons.

C has continued her reading of War and Peace, completed a maths lesson each day, worked towards her Jane Austen newspaper and completed one more lesson of Here To Help Learning curriculum.  She submitted the first chapter of the six chapter book she is writing, and we are both very pleased by the results.

Together we have also done Bible each day, read Pride and Prejudice and studied African geography in depth.  Not too shabby, I guess 🙂

Today we are catching up on house work which has been seriously lacking over the past week 🙂  I do hope you all had a great week and you are heading towards a fun filled weekend with those you love.

Weekly Wrap-Up


  1. What a week! I am so glad that your husband is safe and sound. What a blessing. I hope next week is much less eventful ~ LOL.
    Prayers and blessings, Dawn

  2. Thank you to everyone who has been there for all of us over this last week. It is a real blessing to know we have friends who will do whatever it takes to help out. Thank you also to all you prayer warriors around the world who have lifted us up in your prayers. And a massive thank you to my wonderful wife who has been looking after me so well and making sure I rest (I’d probably be back at work by now). She is a huge blessing to me and our kids. Love you!

  3. So glad that Gary is home and life is returning to some normalcy.

    (Andy can understand some of what Gary has / is going through. We remember it very well – I was 8 months pregnant with D during the week of our oldest son’s birthday. I will say it did bring us even closer as a family during that difficult time. And from your posts, I think it did to you all too. )

    Sending hugs 🙂

  4. I’m amazed that you got any schoolwork done at all after the weekend you had! I’m so happy that Gary is feeling better and I’m sure that your little girls are loving having Daddy’s help with their schoolwork – what a treat!
    Sending you all ((((())))).

  5. What a week indeed! Praying for continuous strength and health and rest for you Gary. What a wonderful family you have!
    Claire, you’re just an outstanding example of love and service and devoted spouse! What a great example you are setting for all your lovelies.

  6. What an amazong story. I laughed when I read that Gary put his pain level at 7 because it reminded me so much of my husband who also rated his pain at 7 when he had broken his leg in a swivel break on our trampoline. I had trouble getting anyone to understand that it wasn’t really a 7, even though Steven had difficulty talking. I have never heard of a appendix in that bad a condition. He must be some tough a guy! I am so glad he is home and things are going back to normal. What a trooper!

    1. Thanks Phyllis. He is much better, but does get tired very easily. I think it is frustrating for him not to be back to normal straight away.

  7. Oh my goodness he is a tough guy. Glad you made him go to the hospital. My hubby had a similar episode and I had to call the ambulance and he had gull stones. And to think you still got some school done? You are amazing!

  8. Batman is going through some pain things, and I’m trying to get him to understand the pain rating scale, so it’s been an interesting experience.

    I’m so glad to hear he’s doing better (and I quite agree with the going stir crazy while resting, so good idea you had).

  9. Oh how scary! So glad he’s doing better and he’s at home and recovering and resting. It’s great that you have such a wonderful support system to help you.

  10. I’m so happy to see this update and that Gary is resting well at home. You had quite the week. We continue to pray for your family and for Gary!

  11. It’s wonderful that your husband is feeling better. It’s so hard when a member of the team is down!

  12. I’m so glad you got him in when you did. I’m sorry not to have checked in here sooner this week – but I’m very happy to offer up a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for your whole family, and all the friends and support God has put in your life!

  13. So glad to hear Gary is on the mend and you are all enjoying spending time together. Bless you 🙂

  14. I am so glad to hear that Gary is doing better. That must have been such a scary time, but the Lord is good and He certainly put His hand on Gary and kept him safe through the whole situation. Praise Him!

    1. It was certainly scary on the Saturday, waiting for the operation to come to an end and not really knowing why it was taking so long.
      Alls well that ends well. Thank you so much for your prayers <3

  15. So glad that you made that executive decision! You were right to trust your feelings on that. I hope Gary continues to make a swift recovery. It sounds like he uses the same pain scale as Naomi – she’s had sepsis multiple times and almost died of pneumonia last summer, so her ten is most people’s unimaginably agonising, on the brink of death, three billion. If she says it’s a seven, I know we’re going straight to A&E. I will pray for Gary’s recovering from the surgery and for all of you recovering from the shock and worry.

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