It's been a funny old day. In fact it has been a funny old month. It is exactly four weeks ago today that Madam and I were whisked off to live in the concrete jungle that is the John Radcliffe Hotel in Oxford.
This morning we were told that all being well, we would be liberated this afternoon.
There were a few more tests that needed to be confirmed, medications that needed to be organised and a final visit from the Cardiac team but then we were allowed to leave. The Husband and the boys came to collect and poor little Madam could not quite believe it. Neither could I. I kept expecting a nurse to run after us to announce that another blood test was necessary.
On the ring road we passed the repatriation cortege of Guardsman Michael Roland from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who was killed last week in Helmand province. His body was being taken to the hospital we had just left. Seeing his coffin, draped in the Union Jack, was incredibly humbling. It doesn't compare, it doesn't compare - but I couldn't help thinking that we were bringing our baby home to a new life and here was another mother and father bringing their baby home to bury him.
Driving out of the city into the green of the countryside was... well, medicinal. Arriving home was difficult. We were only here for five days before she was admitted to hospital. It isn't home to Madam and it will take some settling in. We are armed with a bag of medication and a list of hospital appointments over the next month. She is sleeping now in her own bed and I have only checked to make sure she is breathing oh, four or five times in the last few hours... There has been fizz and now there is tea (the first cup in a month - crappy hospital coffee is one thing, but crappy hospital tea is not something I was going to entertain). There have been a few tears but lots and lots of laughter. And tomorrow there might be a headache.
I know I've said it before but since you are all still reading, I'll say it again: Thank You. Thank you for all the support and love you have shown us: from the incredible family we have that have thrown their arms around us and been on their knees for a month, to the dear friends that have cooked casseroles, polished school shoes (yes, really), done school runs, drunk wine with The Husband, visited Madam and I with pyjamas, contraband and reading material. Not to mention the overwhelming deluge of messages - some from complete strangers - which have been the shot in the arm that I needed to get through each day, along with the coffee.
Talking of which, we thought we would get the coffee machine out when we got home and change the fuse, so we could take advantage of it it before we have to give it back to The Favourite Uncle*. You'll remember that it gave up the ghost a few days ago. On examination The Husband declared he had fixed it.
"But you haven't changed the fuse," I said. "You said it was probably the fuse. Do we have any spare fuses? We ought to change the fuse, I can't give it back with a dodgy fuse."
"It isn't the fuse," said The Husband. "See this switch here on the back? For the coffee machine to work, you need to press the ON button."
So there we are. Was never much good with technology.
Once again, thank you for the stickers, the slippers, and the salads, but most of all, thank you for the love. We're home. (Insert "whoops" here).
* The position of Favourite Uncle is not fixed. The title is heavily contested and changes daily, depending on avuncular excellence. Similarly, I have found the top runners in the League of the World's Most Handsome Doctors varies daily in direct proportion to the kind of news they impart.