Friday, 4 July 2008

TGI Friday?

It's Friday and it's nearly 4.30. I went to hospital for 9.30, joined the queue for blood letting. I then waited. Waited a bit more and finally did a bit of waiting. Was then invited in to be drained of the beautiful red life sustaining fluid known as blood. I sat in the chair (imagine an electric chair, but without the wiring. Oh and they don't strap you in. At least, I've not seen it happen) and they fastened on a little strap at the top of my arm and pulled it tight. Then they prod your arm, hunting down the most juicy looking veins. Recently, it has taken them a few goes to get all the blood they needed out of my dried up leather veins, that is, they have had to go prospecting, drilling in extra holes and looking for blood. Not fun. I mentioned this to my current vampire, I mean blood letter and she said, "yes, some of the nurses have difficulty finding good veins but we are too well trained for that. We wouldn't need to go in 3 times". She laughed, I guess amused at the nurse's lack of blood letting skills. This time I thought I was in luck, as the first blood container started to fill up, but then it sputtered to a stop. Oh no, I thought, not again. She withdrew the needle slightly, rooted around for the vein. Ow. She poked and rooted, then tried rooting and poking but to no avail. She look at bit sheepish and explained that she'd need to try again on the other arm. Well, at least two attempts is better than three. I'm happy to have one less hole poked in me. She moved the tourniquet to my other arm, poked some veins, found one that was a bit tender and jammed the spike in. I winced a little bit and she raised a professional eyebrow at the wussbag sat in the chair. The next container filled up, she unplugged it and plugged in the final one and....doh! the blood flow stopped. Stupid veins, I cursed. I didn't want a third spiking, but it was looking like one was in the mail and heading my way. She laughed awkwardly and went into root and poke mode again. Apparently, she hadn't learnt yet that when one of my veins says "no" it means "no". She did the poke and root routine a few times, to my discomfort, finally giving up, smiling unconvincingly and announcing/muttering that she had better find another vein. Whoopee! Third time better be a charm! She found another vein, with her supervisor looking over her shoulder, nodding and pointing and having the occasional vein prod too. "This looks like a good one", she stated and without so much as a "sharp scratch coming" announcement, she rammed home number three. Resulting blood flow: nada, zilch, nil. I started to giggle. I got a dark look. I carried on giggling. She rooted and prodded and thankfully, this time the root/prod method brough home the bacon. The last container filled up and I got a third bit of cotton wool and sticky tape slapped over the new hole. She quickly slipped away with the blood containers and I headed out.

Next, I had to wait around until the blood tests were completed. This takes about an hour. Not sure if it really takes that long or if the blood test people are in cahoots with the car parking people and get a cut of the extra hours car park fee. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but those blood testers all drive Jags and wear hefty Rolexes, so who knows.
When hanging around, waiting in hospital, there are loads of fun things to do. You can see how many people there are that look worse that you do. That can be fun. You can see if you can find the oldest edition of Home and Garden magazine in the pile available to read or just simply sit and make random grunts and squeals and see how many people you can get to move away.
After an hour or grunting and squealing, a nurse ambled by and whispered a list of mispronounced names. Thankfully, mine is quite hard to mispronounced (although she did try, bless her). I followed her, to another queue and was shortly invited in. There I was given some more tablet, but thankfully told that I don't need to keep injecting myself with Fragmin. Yay!

I forgot to mention that I was in hospital on Wednesday too. Tuesday night I was feeling unwell (again) and my temperature was high (38). I theory I should have gone in to A&E that night but being a belligerent git and having not long escaped from hospital and feeling not too bad, I decided I'd go in the morning, unless I got worse. Typically, my wife was away on a course and my little one decided to try and fall out of bed in the night and to wake up later after having a nightmare and be a bit freaked out and crazy. Basically, I didn't sleep too well. Anyhoo, my temp wasn't too bad and I was alriht dropping the kids off to school and child minder. I then zoomed over to the ma-in-laws and she dropped me at hospital. There, I, guess what, that's right, had a blood test (which took two people and three attempts) and then got to loiter and wait around for an hour, see a doctor, get a prescription for some GCSF (as my neutrophil count was below 1) pre-filled injections (so I can do it myself), wait 40 minutes at pharmacy whilst they took the box out of the fridge (or whatever they do) and then got home in the afternoon.

Anyway, Wednesday aside, back to today. As I had been coughing (and still am) they sent me for a chest xray (all clear, no problems), saw my bone marrow was lobbing out lots of immature neutophils, so my counts should be going up and was allowed to stop those injections too. Hooray, no injections for a week or so. I've also noticed that my blood clot symptoms have almost gone. My arm is no longer swollen, my hand doesn't look like a boxing glove and the veins on my chest and neck have subsided a fair bit (although they are still a bit prominent). All good signs.

So, on to next week. I'm back in work on monday, although I have to go via the hospital and give them some blood. Hopefully they get it first go. Wednesday is another blood test and then Friday is chemo number 8, the last one! Oh, preceeded by a blood test, of course.
So, once chemo 8 is out the way, I then get to wait until I feel improved and there will be a scan. This is where the anxiety or scanxiety will kick in. These are the scans that will show that either a) I can rejoin the ranks of the healthy, once again free to mock the afflicted and laugh in the face of danger or b) nope, sorry buddy, primary treatment hasn't killed the critter dead, so it's on to the harsher stuff. Brace yourself Mildred, this may sting a little. So, even though it's a good few weeks away, I can feel the vague hintings of scanxiety a tap, tap, tapping at my door.

A less whingy post next time, I promise!

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