Tuesday, 7 May 2013

... but it pours!

Home I went on Friday 26 April.  I had not had my second chemo and was in a lot of pain from where my tooth had been extracted. We had a quietish weekend as I did not feel up to much, although we had some short trips out.  I had a slightly raised temperature on Sunday and I had a niggly pain near the site of my drain.  I could not take Oromorph because the morphine is dissolved in ethanol (a type of alcohol) and one thing you MUST NOT DO when taking Metronidazole is have any alcohol because it will cause fierce prolonged vomiting. The Metronidazole was making me feel sick anyway!
By 03.00 on Monday 29 April, the pain in my side was unbearable. I prowled the house for a while, discovered I had a fever so rang the Oncology Ward at the Big Hospital. The result was another summons to the Oncology Ward. By some premonition I had repacked the hospital bag on Sunday morning so we were quickly ready to go. The journey in went by in a blur of pain and nausea.
I was admitted to the triage room, where I was once again cannulated, bloods taken and a large syringe full of antibiotics administered. (There is a pattern developing here.) I felt so ill, I lay down on an examination couch and fell asleep. A nurse spotted me and hastened back with a pillow and a blanket, it felt heavenly.
My slumbers were disturbed by samples of tummy fluid being taken ( I will draw a veil over the mess on the floor and the todo with the dressing, except to say Mr G had to talk them through the procedure!)
As soon as my bloods showed that I was not neutropenic (have no or very impaired immunity) I was taken to the Women's Bay and shown my bed. I got straight in clothes and all!
Monday passed in a blur of doctors, consultants, nurses, my Big Hospital Macmillan Nurse and health care assistants taking observations. I was finally given some better pain relief and by tea time was feeling more like Ali.
On Tuesday 30 April, I was nil by mouth from 9am as I was scheduled for an ultrasound scan. This was to see if my drain was infected. If it had been, I would have needed an operation to remove it.
My blood pressure has recently become so low that my hypertension medication was stopped last week. I was put on a saline drip to try to boost my hydration as I felt like a 'crisp'.

After I got back from my scan ( showed nothing of great concern) I got a piece of good news. A CA125 test had been taken to check on the effect (or not) of my first chemo session. To my delight I discovered that the blood marker had reduced from 1100 to 480. I was so pleased I nearly cried as I had felt so ill that I thought the chemo had had little effect. 

On Wednesday 1 May, I was told I could go home as long as my bloods and cultures were ok. While I was waiting for the results my consultant came to see me. She agreed I was doing well and that I should be able to resume my chemo, not on 2 May, but on 9 May giving me time to build up some resilience and strength.
She also agreed that I could have a permanent line fitted. This enables medicines to be given and blood to be taken without the need to stab me with needles! I shall be talking to the nurses on the Chemo Suite at the Little Hospital about it on Thursday.
Here ends the saga of six days out of eight spent in hospital. The silver lining is that I will never again be afraid of needing to go to the Oncology Ward at the Big Hospital. I am now very familiar with the staff and the routines. I also discovered that a volunteer brings a minibar round once a week, with such things as port, Baileys, brandy and savoury and sweet nibbles. This just goes to illustrate the very different nature of an Oncology Ward where people can be inpatients for long periods.

I'm under no illusions that the rest of this run of treatment is going to be smooth. The reaction of my body to the first chemo does not bode well. However, now I know the Oncology Ward and with my line (once sited) enabling speedy delivery of meds and blood taking, things will be less frightening and more comfortable.