Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Achtung! Escape is impossible Englander!

Not so Fritz!  

I'm out!

On Friday, just gone, I was released from hospital on weekend leave, I guess that is like parole.  I was visited by my friend Steve, his girlfriend and their little baby Jack, who I hadn't seen yet.  Being a bloke I just thought, hey, he's my mates baby, cool.  My wife on the otherhand went all gooey!  
"A baby, baby!", she exclaimed.  She then used any excuse or trick to remove said baby from either parents grasp and into her own.  Cooing and ahhing at baby Jack all the time (until he cried, at which point he was handed back).
Basically took it easy on the weekend.  Got looked after and spoilt by my wife, who bought me little treats (yay! go treats!).  
On Sunday evening, I was dropped off at the in-laws, where I would be staying a few days, rather than be sat at home on my own.  
Monday I had to go back into hospital, to have blood taken, get the dressing on my line changed (it had started leaking some blood back and looked horrible) and hopefully to have a CT scan to try to determine what was going on with my arm (and for the docs to have some more pictures to play with.  They like pictures).  
The hospital system really sucks when it comes to getting scans etc done.  It is all done on paper and is a bit random.  They give you a provisional day when you will be done and say they will contact you when they need you and then you hear nothing.  Basically, if the consultant has a more important one to do (in their opinion) then they just bump you down the list.  The best way around that is to make sure that your consultant is harrassing them.  The squeaky wheel definitely gets the grease.  Better still, if your consultant is their mate, then that can prove a winner.  One of my doctors seems to have a bit of power over the CT scan consultant (either she has some dodgy pictures of him or he is just besotted with her), as she seems to be able to make CT scans happen pretty quick.  I was sat in my room, bloods had been done, was expecting a few hours wait when a funny little man with an unusual greasy comb over arrived with a wheel chair.  His name badge identified him as Keith (name changed to protect me from retribution from the greasy haired hospital porters union.  A powerful entity, you don't want to mess with).  He collected my notes and I hobbled into the wheel chair (they don't let you walk, but in my case right then, I was happy to be wheeled).  He zoomed me to the CT scan waiting area (here I am redefining "zoomed" to mean trundle at a very slow speed, with pauses for coughing and regaining of breath).
The CT scan waiting area was a breath of fresh air.  Actually it is pretty rank.  I think the walls were last painted their jolly nicotine yellow many years ago.  Also waiting were 2 other people in wheel chairs.  One who looked like they may have slipped away whilst they were waiting.  They were sat with their head lolling.  Later snores revealed they had somehow managed to fall asleep in such a position.  The wheel chairee next to me either was sniffing or sobbing, but they were so close that I didn't want to turn and look.  
Time passed and wheelie 1 and 2 were taken in and after a few minutes came back out, waiting for their miscellaneous porter to come and return them whence they had came.  This meant it was my turn.
I was wheeled in, then asked to climb onto the bed that feeds through the big doughnut that is the CT scanner.  Sadly the line in my arm was no good for use with the machines automatic dye injector, as "the pressure can cause them to explode" (reassuring!).  This meant that I had to have a new canula put in.  I informed the scanner man, who I knew to be the consultant, that I was pretty short of good veins.  He smiled and said that he is good at putting in canulas and not to worry.  After a few minutes hmmm-ing and arrrr-ing, he agreed that I didn't have many decent veins left.  He suggested trying one on my hand, informing me it'd probably hurt.  He asked like I had a choice, but before giving my consent (or not), he had produced a big old canula needle thing and was jabbing away.  After a few jabs, he had a canula in, but the vein bulged up behind it and it was no good, so that had to go.  He apologised profusely and said he normally gets it first time (I'm getting used to hearing that).  Second time was a charm.  It hurt but it worked.  I was left with a nice spurting of blood up my arm, but that just made me feel manly, so was okay (!!).  Consultant man commented that I was very cheery and upbeat.  How could I be anything else, when I was getting holes jabbed into me?  
The rest of the day ticked on.  They came and changed my arm dressing and then time passed and then my doctor came in.  She told me that the tumour had shrunk very very slightly, but they don't normally measure at this stage.  The fact that it is not getting bigger is good but not to worry about shrinkage at this point.  The scan also didn't show any reason why my arm was still swollen.  Scotland yard were still baffled.  She then said that they will take my line out (hooray) and let me go home properly (until Friday).  After more waiting, my line was taken out.  A process I was a bit nervous about, but which took seconds and was pain free (nice change).  I have to report back on friday, to have a different type of line put in (Hickman line).  This cheeky sucker goes in the chest, which sounds a lot more attractive.  Then, assuming all goes to plan, it is my last cycle of RICE.  
So, I've got a few days of normality (kind of), until once more summoned unto the realm of the physician.


Anonymous said...

Hi Richard,
Just to let you know i've just come across your blog and think it's amazing. My mum had non hodgkinds lymphoma a couple of years ago but now after treatment it seems to be all gone. Pray that same goes for you too. thanks for sharing all you're going through. Rosie at innocent

mike said...

Wildman you er Wildman

Thanks for keeping us all up to date, we are all praying to our various deities that the docs sort you out and even the non religious souls have all there fingers and toes crossed.

Keep strong and enjoy the hospital food, it is so yummy. Your mission is to do at least one of these things.

Hope to see you soon

Mike @ innocent

Anonymous said...

Hi Rich

I was so thrilled to be sent your blog - i wasn't sure how to say hi and i'm sorry i haven't until now. Wishing you all the best for the next few days - i will be thinking of you and thank you for sharing your experience - it's a wonderful website. With lots of love, Kate @innocent x

Pikey Paul said...

As ever Rich a very amusing piece of writing. A very evocative insite into the sh!te you have been dealing with these last few months. Thanks for keeping us up to date mate.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rich - your blog is amazing...another of my friends is going through exactly the same as you, I will send him the link to your blog if thats ok..
Sending you lots of love and good thoughts
Beth (at innocent) xxx

Anonymous said...

good luck m8