This will be the last post on Brenda’s Blog. As some of you may know we planned as usual to make our trip to our home in Nova Scotia. Ten days before we were due to leave Brenda was admitted to the Hampshire Clinic for the treatment of an infection. We got her well enough to make the trip, packed up our seventeen day’s worth of TPN and made the trip across the Atlantic.
It was great to see Brenda’s Mom and our friends in our little community of Hubbards. During the week Brenda handled the final stages of the appointment for a new Chair for the England and Wales Cricket Board. How could it be a holiday without a phone clamped to the side of her head. That settled, we relaxed into a pattern of meeting up with friends and a trip to Halifax to see cousins with aid of a wheelchair. Midway through the second week I became anxious about a change in Brenda’s behaviour. A call to England suggested that it might be a problem with her kidneys. Her condition continued to deteriorate and by the time we made the return trip home she was pretty confused, shaky and frankly hard work.
A plan was put in place for me to whisk her down to Basingstoke and we were there by Monday lunchtime. A scan revealed the problem with her kidneys, and I received the shocking news that this was likely to be the terminal episode in the sad saga of her cancer. Teddy arrived from Oxford and spent the night with her in what was to be a marathon stint of ten consecutive nights.
On Tuesday we left Basingstoke and Brenda was admitted to the Hospice in the Weald for end-of-life care. When we arrived, she was at a low ebb. Thirty minutes into her stay she had a haemorrhage. With that staunched, a fairly shell-shocked Doctor informed us that it was likely that Brenda would lapse into a coma and probably take her leave within twenty-four hours.
So began a twelve-day stint of round the clock visits. Teddy taking the nights and the rest of us filling the days. A change of medication was prescribed instead of the oral morphine that had been the mainstay of her being able to function. Two days later it seemed that Brenda’s kidneys had slowly cleared the poisons that were clouding her mind. What a joy it was that she returned to us.
Whilst the staff kept Brenda pain free, the constant output from wounds in her abdomen were the main cause for concern in keeping her comfortable. Time after time the dressings would fail, the changing of them causing her pain and distress. These wounds have been with us for a year and very few people would have been aware that when she made it up to London it was with a patchwork of wound bags.
At this stage Brenda’s old University friend Jeanette, aka ‘The Bomber’ arrived from Ontario to add to our number. It was a great fillip, and I shall be eternally grateful to her for this initiative.
The time passed and we maintained our vigil. Then yesterday there was gear shift. A doctor told me that we were back to the day one scenario and that time was most likely to be short. Teddy and India both had some alone time with Brenda and Bonzo was able to snuggle up to her feet.
Jeanette volunteered to take the night shift and I left Brenda with a kiss. At about ten to three I got a call from Jeanette to say Brenda was ailing and that time was short. I jumped in the car but, arrived shortly after Brenda had passed.
Jeanette and I spent some time with Brenda and she explained that the nurse had urged her to keep talking to Brenda as the end approached. ‘I talked to her about paddling in your Cove in Nova Scotia saying that we were all there including Bonzo swimming in the water.’ With this image in her mind, she took her leave.
After a teary morning we have been mooching about texting and messaging friends and relatives. I opened my Facebook and the image at the top of this post popped up on my feed. You keep paddling Brenda. Thank you for our life together and the impact you have made on this world.
Brenda Trenowden 15th July 1967 – 29th August 2022