We have a target, an aspiration, a hope, a prayer which is to get Isita home in about a fortnight. Before treatment starts again we might have a good couple of months of home-based recovery. We can’t be sure it is possible. The doctors say it might be about right, and they are as keen as we are to get her out of the hospital.
Isita herself is desperate to be free, to have fun with her brother and cousins, to eat something, to even swallow a gulp of water without it turning her stomach. Every day something shows that she is a bit better. The return of appetite is a great signal in itself. We, and everyone on Elephant, are all thrilled with her progress.
For her, however, the main effect of the improvements has been to make her more aware of what she cannot yet do. This has been especially poignant as Jamie turned seven yesterday and had a lovely celebration with his cousins at Betchworth. She wanted to be there so much.
Hunger, frustration and anger can be useful feelings , or so we hope. In her they are combined with determination. And so we come back to our arbitrary, slightly vague, but hopefully inspirational deadline. We are not just saying to her that she will get home one day, but one day very soon.
That is why I confiscated the Frozen drinking cup that she had been using to swill out her mouth but also taking sneaky gulps from. Yesterday an over-enthusiastic gulp led to a nasty bloody vomit. We have to be extra strict now so nothing sets her back. She is clever. She gets it. But she doesn’t like it, and why should she?