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Val Cousins
05.30.01
South Creek, Norfolk, England; chrisandanne@aol.com

1935 / Class of 2000 / Type: IgG Kappa / Diabetes, hypercalcemia, anemia / Died May 30, 2001

Partner of Anne Boswell who is writing this for me.

Val (as he likes to be known) grew up in South Creek in 1935, the eldest of 4 boys. He was a choirboy from age 9 until age 18. From age 18 he was in the army from Oswestry in Shropshire for his 6 months training. He then became a sergeant major. When he left the army in 1957 he went to work for the air ministry working in engineering, he left there in 1965.

Val then became a wagon driver for Eastern County’s farmers, leaving there in 1968. He again went into engineering at Fakenham in Norfolk, leaving there in 1973. He moved house to Cornwall, where he became engineering manager until 1974, and then he moved to Keighley, West Yorkshire where he was still an engineering manager.

Val then decided he wanted a change of career and opened a shop, a grocery shop. His shop was in Steeton, West Yorkshire. A new supermarket opened in the area, and Val lost a lot of business and had to close the shop. Val then started a new line of work: he became a taxi driver, and after a while he was promoted to Manager where he was to look after the hiring and firing and all the bookwork. He did this while still looking for work. He stayed there until 1996, which is when we moved to Norfolk.

Illnesses:

  • 1980  Meningitis: Val collapsed in the house, whereupon an ambulance was called. He nearly died.
  • 1986 Diabetes diagnosis: Given tablets.
  • 1998 diabetes out of control: Prescribed insulin.
  • 1998/9 Val’s eyesight went, which left him blind; poor circulation in legs and hands due to diabetes.

Health has gone down hill ever since we have moved to Norfolk with one thing or another.

Diary of diagnosis and treatment starting early November 2000: 

Val was getting confused, slurring his words, sleeping all the time. We were getting very worried about him, went to the Doctors and saw the Nursing practitioner. I told her my worries, as I thought he was going senile, and she said she would have him assessed.

Val was still getting worse, so I made an appointment with the Doctors. We had to see a local Doctor. When we went in the surgery the Doctor looked at us as though we were something he had brought in off his shoe. He then looked at Val, asked him some questions, and said it was due to his diabetes. That was it, but I knew that there was something else.

Saturday 11th Nov: Val stayed in bed all day, as he was very ill. Saturday evening, Val was still no better. He was so upset, as he didn’t know what was wrong with himself and he was still very confused, slurring his words and very sleepy.

We decided that we should call the doctor out, as we were all very worried about Val’s condition. The Doctor arrived, went upstairs to see Val, and the next thing we knew was that Val had to go into hospital, as the Doctor was very unhappy with his health.

Sunday, Val was very ill. His mind was not with us at all. Stayed until 3:30 that day but there was no change in him. He was just lying there with drips and tubes everywhere. The Doctor did not come to see us that day.

Monday, there was still no change in Val. Again we stayed until 3:30, and did not ask for the Doctor, as we didn’t think it was serious.

Tuesday, again no change, although the Doctor came to see us today and said to Val that some bone marrow was needed from him to do some tests. (I then knew it was cancer.)

The Doctor then took me to a side room where she spoke to me. I asked her what was going on, and she said she was going to take some bone marrow from Val as she thought he might have cancer of the bone and would let me know tomorrow. I just thought of the inevitable and I just went home and cried all night.

Wednesday, I got up from my bed at around 8:00. I felt very angry with our family Doctor as I thought that with Val being Diabetic and always having tests they should have spotted it earlier. Anyway, I rang the family Doctor and asked to speak to a Doctor about Val’s condition. The receptionist then said she would get Doctor Harris Hall to ring me back in 15 minutes, but later the receptionist rang me back and said that the Doctor would not talk to me without Val being present. This made me even angrier, and made me blame them even more. I then decided to ring them back and said that if the Doctor were not going to speak to me I would take legal action.

Still no reply, so I decided to go into the surgery and confront the Doctor myself. Surprise, surprise: the family Doctor was just about to phone me. We went into a room, where I asked him what had happened to Val and why. He then spoke to me and tried to reassure me about Val’s condition.

I then went to see Val. I arrived at the hospital at around 12:00pm and as there was still no change in Val, I asked to see the Doctor.

When she did arrive she took me in to a small room and said she had the results. Val had Myeloma, cancer of the bone. I sat there and cried and cried. She said that the cancer was spread quite a lot through his bones. She also explained that his calcium level was quite high, so he was put on a drip of salt water to try to lower this. This was the reason why Val was confused and slurring his words. He was also very anemic and had to have a few blood transfusions—I think it was 14 pints in all. Val was very ill and she said that the next few days were critical. It was a matter of wait and see, and that they were doing everything for him. I went home feeling very weak and despondent.  

I didn’t sleep very well that night, but was looking forward to seeing Val the next day, Thursday. I got to the hospital at around 12:00 pm again. I didn’t know what to expect, so I stood outside the ward, not daring to go in. I heard my name called, and it was the nurse. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her that I was frightened. She then said to go in as there had been a change for the better. SURPRISE, he looked really well! I could not believe it. “Hello,” I said, still surprised. I couldn’t believe he was back with us.

Friday already: got to the hospital around the same time today. Val was still well, although he was still having his saltwater drip and more blood transfusions.

Saturday, and Val has been in hospital a week now. Val looked even better today. He even got out of bed and ate some lunch. I did notice that he was very quiet today, also still on the blood and salt water drip.

Sunday I got to the hospital at around 11:00. Val was very upset I asked what was wrong? He then replied that a nurse had been to see him and had a long chat with him about his condition, she had explained all about the Myeloma so that he can understand.

Val was asked if he knew what it was. He thought it was something to do with his eyes. She explained it through, but I don’t think he was taking it all in. The Doctor said that she would come back Tuesday and chat with him again.

Monday, Val was very quiet. I asked if he wanted to talk about it but he didn’t so I just left it alone. 

I got to the hospital at around 11:00 am Tuesday. The Doctor came back to chat to Val again. I think by this time he had taken it all in. Later that day the Doctor came and told Val that he could go home tomorrow if all was well. He had started on his chemotherapy, Melphalan, and also his blood and calcium level were back to normal.

Wednesday, 15th November: Got to the hospital at around 11:00 am and Val was sat there in all his glory ready to come home and looking forward to it too, just waiting for his medication before we could go home. The nurse arrived with a list of do’s and don’ts.

Thursday: I am very frightened and keep thinking about finding Val in bed not breathing. I keep looking to make sure. I can’t stop crying…

Friday, and I still feel the same. Val is still well and I am making sure he his getting his medication on time.

Weekend and Val is still very well. Also, things are getting a bit easier for me.

Monday 27th November: Val has an appointment for some blood tests with specialist Dr. Deane. She said everything was fine. We made an appointment for next month.

Monday 18th December: Val’s next appointment. He is not very good today.  We arranged for a blood transfusion for Friday, all day.

Friday 22nd December 9:00am: Cromer hospital for blood all day. At 4:30pm, Val’s finished and feels well.

25th December: Val feels well but a bit down, but not too bad a day.

31st December: Val’s in a bad mood today. He said I spoilt his Christmas. I don’t know why he is like this. I am doing every thing I can for him.

Monday 1st January, 2001: Hooray a New Year! I hope it is going to be better than the last one. Val is feeling better.

Monday 8th January: Appointment for the specialist, Dr. Deane, at 10:10. Not too good today, another blood transfusion for Friday all day. We asked a few questions today but did not get any answers. A bit annoyed, we decided to ask our own family Doctor as soon as we can.

Dr. Deane has changed Val’s chemotherapy tablets today; don’t know why. He is on cyclophosphamide for 4 weeks with a break Friday and Saturday.

Friday 12th January: Blood transfusion today took him to the hospital at 9:00 am. Val is not too well today, we told the nurse. He has had his chemo for 5 days now. He is sleeping all day, every day since he was put on this new chemo. I spoke to the hospital doctor today whilst Val had his blood. The doctor said they were having trouble stopping the cancer because of his diabetes. He also said his prognosis was poor, and this was why they have put him on this new lot of chemo and the reason why he is having so much blood.

Saturday 13th January: Val was still no better today, so Saturday evening I decided to get the Doctor out, but Val said no. He is very stubborn but I decided I felt justified in getting him out. Doctor came out and said I should not have gotten him out without Val’s consent. He gave him some tablets for the pain in his bones.

Sunday 14th January: Not much better today. Still sleeping all day and night. I keep checking on him every 15 minutes to see if he is still breathing. I have been checking on him all weekend.

Monday 15th January: Val is a bit better today. I rang the family Doctor to talk to him, and he told me to bring him down to the surgery tomorrow for blood tests and a check over.

Tuesday 16th January: We went to the Doctors at 10:30 and had the blood tests done, then waited to see the Doctor. I was called into the doctor’s room and he told me off for getting the doctor out on the Saturday without Val’s consent and was told not to do that any more.

I told the doctor that Val was getting confused again, and he is slurring his words again. I asked if they had done a calcium test and he said yes. I was then told I was asking too many questions. He said I should not be using the Internet for information. I was quite upset when I got home and cried.

Wednesday16th January: Val is still a bit confused and he is slurring his words. I am worried he will end up like he was before when he went into hospital. We are waiting for the blood results.

Thursday 17th January: Val is in a very nasty mood, shouting at everyone, still confused. Still no blood results. Hematologist nurse rang today from the Norfolk and Norwich hospital to see how things were. I told her Val was confused, and she said they may bring him back in to hospital to get the calcium level back down. Still awaiting blood results.

Friday 18th January: Val has an appointment today at the diabetic clinic for his checkup. Blood sugar was normal. We had a chat with the doctor there. He asked Val a few questions about his Myeloma, but Val was not with us. He had a very far away look on his face. The Doctor asked if Val was alright, and I told him I thought his calcium level was up again. The Doctor asked if Val had had any blood tests done. I said he had, but we were still waiting for the results, so the Doctor rang for them and got them straight away. His calcium level was 7.8. He said it was a bit high, and would fax it to Dr. Deane that day. She may take him in the hospital to get it back down.

Weekend: Val in lovely frame of mind really feeling well! I have not seen him so well for such a long time.

Monday 21st: Val same as over the weekend. I am very hopeful that maybe the chemo is working fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2001: Val still feeling well today, even more hopeful.

====================

Val passed away Wednesday, May 30th, 2001 at 6:00am.

He died peacefully in his sleep. His death certificate was written as cause of death: Myeloma. He was so brave right up until the end. He was well for the last 7 days, still walking to the shop. I miss him so very much: he was my life, and I will never forget him. 

To my darling Valentine, who was my life, and who I loved very very much: 
My life will never be the same without you.
Until we meet again, all my love
, forever.
Your devoted, Anne.


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