Never let it be said that we lead a quiet life. This past week has certainly proved that.

It began when I made contact with St Nicholas Hospice – something I had been hoping to do for a long time. And, as I had hoped, they were extremely helpful. Their efforts have helped to ensure that my pain relief package actually works. Far better, in fact than I had expected. Which means that after several weeks in bed, I was finally able to get up and move around the house and sit down. And that’s something I have been struggling to do without pain for weeks.

But I’m reminded of the old proverb ‘when one door opens another closes’ – though I may have got that wrong. Because soon after my lovely cousin Birte arrived poor Rosemary started to feel very ill. And that got worse. Much worse.

Matters came to a head when Rosemary wanted to get out of bed after a long rest. Putting it bluntly, she couldn’t. And after a struggle, lasting several hours, all Birte and I were able to do was to get her kneeling on the floor. For her, that was supremely uncomfortable. For us, it was intensely frustrating.

There was nothing left to do but to call an ambulance, despite Rosemary’s protests. We also put out a call on the Hitcham support group, which was answered by two strong gents, who were able to lift Rosemary on to a chair. I am eternally grateful to them.

When the ambulance arrived, the crew were grateful too. It turns out that Rosemary has a high fever and also some injury on her leg. To my huge annoyance, the very expensive thermometer we had bought for precisely this kind of situation had simply not registered the fever.

It quickly became clear that Rosemary needed to go to hospital. But getting her downstairs was going to be a considerable challenge. I’m happy to say that the crew met that challenge admirably and she was soon on her way to West Suffolk.

At the time of writing, she is still there and my lovely cousin has had to go back to Israel – after caring for me, wonderfully, during her stay. As it turns out, I will need to care for myself for the next few days, and as it turns out I will be able to do so.

For the last few days we have been facing up to a nightmare of potential possibilities. The worst of them was batted out of court this morning: Rosemary’s physiotherapist confirmed that she will be able to manage our stairs. That’s just as well given that our bedroom is on the first floor! But we now face a peculiar situation where each of us needs to care for the other.

It’s very lucky that we have the Hospice team to support us. They have been absolutely brilliant. With their help I have been able to contact social services and to ensure that they are aware of our situation which means that help will almost certainly be available as and when we need it. Realistically I don’t think we will need a lot, but it is possible that we will need a carer to come in, perhaps a few times a week. We won’t really know until our experiment in shared caring has gone on for at least a few days.

Through all of this, we have benefited enormously from the help of friends and neighbours. Something it would be churlish not to acknowledge. I am hugely grateful to them all.

But now a new adventure begins – and we will have to see how it turns out.