Thursday, July 10, 2008

Salou, 2008

Hi again. Well, our week in Spain seems a VERY long time ago already - the weather has been truly shocking since we got back - rain, rain and more rain. So much for July.

Charlie's still buzzing after the holiday though, and took some Spanish sweets into playschool today to share with all his friends after 'Show and Tell'.

The holiday didn't get off to the best start really, as Charlie woke up on the day we were driving down to the airport with a really nasty stomach bug. We did think it might be excitement, but it went on and on and on. He wasn't in any pain, and wasn't being sick so we didn't think it was food poisoning - more likely just a really badly-timed virus.

Fortunately he was fine in himself and couldn't wait to get on the plane, but it made for a long journey as we had to stop at virtually every service station on the three-hour drive to the airport.

We were pretty worried, because we were due to fly out the next morning.

We always do our best to treat Charlie as we would any other child, but when he is ill, his heart condition is always uppermost in our minds. Whereas with other kids, a tummy bug would be simply inconvenient, we were starting to wonder whether it would be irresponsible to take him abroad. Dehydration is a VERY bad thing for a child like Charlie, so mixing a seriously dodgy tummy with a very hot country is not the best combination. And on top of everything else, it's always very worrying when he isn't eating or absorbing his food properly, because his need for calories is so much greater than normal.

We really didn't fancy being in Spain with a poorly Charlie - particularly when the only Spanish I know (other than that gleaned from Dora the Explorer!) is Hola, Adios,Gracias and Síndrome del corazón izquierdo hipoplásico (yes, that is HLHS in Spanish). By the way, in case you're wondering, I always print off a pile of information from the internet about HLHS and its treatments in the language of the country we're visiting, so we could flash it at any medical personnel if necessary.

Anyway, the next morning, Chas was quite a bit better - although still not right - so we felt a bit happier about taking him away.

He was SO excited to be at the airport, watching the planes. He was thrilled to bits when we boarded the plane to realise that he was tall enough this time to see out of the window even with his seatbelt on! (Pete and I were just praying he wouldn't suddenly need the loo while the seatbelt light was still on!)

He was absolutely fine on the flight, and stayed nice and pink throughout. We took his little DVD player with us, so he sat glued to Charlie and Lola and Rainbow (what a blast from the past!) all the way there.

As we walked out of the plane, it was one of those glorious holiday moments when the heat just hits you like you've opened the oven door. The sky was blue and the tarmac was shimmering in the heat. Charlie was over the moon - he really loves the heat. The climate really seems to suit him.

The hotel was great and the food was brilliant, although Charlie was on plain pasta and breadsticks for the first few days while his digestion got back to normal.

He loved the beach and the sea, and was particularly pleased that he could run around in just his trunks. In fact, whenever we got back to our hotel room, he always asked if he could take his clothes off and just run around in his underpants because it was such a novelty for him to stay nice and warm without his clothes on.

Splashing around in the pool was another big hit with Charlie - we REALLY must try to take him swimming now we're home because he loves it, and it's a really good exercise for him to do... so long as the water's warm enough.

One of the big highlights of his holiday was spending a few days at the enormous Port Aventura Universal Studios theme park. He was introduced to the delights of Sesame Street and Woody Woodpecker and really loved meeting the characters again. He's still a bit of a speed freak and had a ball on the rides.

There were some terrific shows at the park... cue a VERY proud parent moment for Pete and me! There was an oriental-style bubble show, with a guy on stage making incredible bubbles - bubbles inside bubbles, bubbles with smoke in, and enormous bubbles that covered him completely.

About half way through the show, a child was needed to go on stage to 'help'... and guess who went up? You've got it! Cheeky Charlie! Of course, that was the moment our camera battery decided to give up the ghost, so we've only got a tiny bit of video and a few pics on my mobile phone, but Charlie was brilliant. (There's one pic in the slide show - it's a bit blurry, but you get the idea - it's Chas inside the big bubble!)

He was so confident, did everything the man told him to, made some pretty impressive bubbles all by himself, and then stood really still and straight while the man covered first Charlie, and then the two of them in the biggest bubbles I've ever seen. As the show finished, the man showed Charlie how to put his hands together and do an oriental bow - and Chas pulled it off perfectly.

The whole place erupted - there were at least 400 people in the theatre, probably more - and they were all on their feet cheering and clapping for our little boy.

He was totally in his element and loved every minute. As he came off stage, crowds of people were coming up to us and saying what a star he was (many in foreign languages, but we got the gist of it!).

It was such an amazing feeling to watch him on that enormous stage, revelling in the spotlight, and to realise just how far he and we have come over the past four and a half years. One of my proudest moments to date!

Anyway - I won't whitter on about our holiday any more - there's nothing worse than people who go on and on about their hols - you'll get the idea from the slide show!

Just a few other bits of news - we finally had the letter from the hospital here in Cardiff with regard to the holter monitor Charlie had at the end of May. We were pleasantly surprised by the results. Although he is still manifesting the intermittent heart block he had before, it is occurring MUCH less frequently now. According to the consultant, the results are very encouraging, and there is no need for any intervention - he will just see Charlie as normal at his next out-patient appointment in September. We hadn't really thought that it would improve - we were just hoping it wouldn't get any worse. We're hoping that maybe it was caused/made much worse by the cardiac catheter in January, and that it will slowly keep improving.

Last important update - Charlie has only SIX more days left at playschool! I can't believe it. It seems like yesterday that I was writing on this blog about his first day there. Time really has flown. I'll be quite sad for him to leave in one way - the staff there have been amazing. We couldn't have asked for more in the way they have all cared for Charlie. So cue another proud/probably weepy moment next Tuesday when Pete and I go to Charlie's 'Special Morning' to watch him be presented with his Special Book - a record of all he has done while he's been there. Pictures will follow in due course!!

Then all that's left will be his Pirate Party next Thursday. He has his dressing-up costume all ready! And then he breaks up for the summer... and then comes school! How exciting!

Hope you like the slide show - check out the candy-floss picture... I think someone overdid the pink colouring!

Bye for now!

1 comment:

Abi said...

Hi Alison,

Looks like Charlie had a great holiday! He look so grown up and very ready for school in September!
Brilliant news that his 'heart block' has improved. We might see you at the LHM summer meet? My husband ( aka my taxi driver) is away that weekend so I have to find a lift from someone , maybe Corwin's much loved Grandpa!

take care
abi x