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Tracey Devereaux reaches turning point

The doctor brought coloured pens to the meeting with us. As an artist he makes a great doctor. Actually you know what? Make that a GREAT doctor.

I'm sitting on the balcony at my brother's place listening to the rain and drinking a beer and feeling a sort of peace for the first time in two weeks.

Tracey has come through her latest op with flying colours, and while I know it seems like I'm celebrating victory at half time I also don't care because there's been so little to get excited about lately and I think the whole family needs this.

Last night Tracey underwent her third major surgery in two weeks. It feels like months. It feels like a lifetime ago we were waiting in the drive through at KFC when Tracey clutched her stomach and muttered in the understatement of her life, "Oh, that doesn't feel right."

But let's look forward, not back. The fact is the doctor who went over her current condition with us this morning used the word stable - that wonderful, wonderful word I will never again associate with horses because it's needed far more in hospital waiting rooms.

In the latest op they've taken a lot of Tracey's bowel, and the 90cm left is highly inflamed and in poor shape. I just Googled how much bowel she started with and nearly lost my newfound confidence - women have an average of 7.1 meters. But 90cm is enough. The doctor told us even if she needs another op and slips below the critical 60cm mark, there is still the option of feeding Tracey by drip for the rest of her life. Seems like a small price to pay for being able to experience birthdays, Christmases, engagements, weddings, Fathers Days, and all the other really important milestones this family has coming.

"The situation isn't hopeless," the doctor told us today. We must have looked disbelieving because he paraphrased, "It is not without hope. We're still only dealing with the one problem."

What he meant was that some bowel had died in Tracey's stomach from lack of blood, which is why they had to get in there and set things right. When that happens it can cause organs to fail. But it didn't. Which is good in much the same way driving through a speed trap under the legal limit is good: before we got there we weren't aware how bad things could have gotten.

We're back to square one though. She's staring down the barrel of a minimum of two weeks in intensive care so it looks like I'll be calling the ICU waiting room home for a bit longer - I wonder if they'll let me hang some pictures?

I've received messages from people saying they sympathise because they had a loved one in ICU, but a lot of them are talking months of this. They might be able to imagine what it's like for me but if two weeks feels like this I can't imagine how frazzled they were by the end of their ordeals. I'm almost too scared to drive because it feels like I might have a breakdown waiting for a set of lights to change.

So to revisit the V8 Supercar analogy I touched on with my last post, they've managed to pull us out of a spin and grab control of this careening machine yet again. Only now we're belting headlong towards the next tricky corner.

But I'm not as worried about that now because A. I suspect I might justifiably be a little drunk, and B. they finally appear to have a handle on things.

The trouble is we don't know if we're near the finish or merely half way. But with any luck the checkered flag is just out of our line of sight.

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