Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Hicks In Town and 24 Hr Chemo Marathon

So I'm sitting at the in-laws with a cheeky glass of red (purely medicinal of course!) and a bowl of freshly made pasta (the sauce was made from fresh tomatos home grown next door, deeeelicious) when the phone rings "Its an emergency we need you to get in now".  "Who is this" I asked, just in case it was MI5 and they had finally caught up with my dark past (that's another blog all together, or is it.....), sadly it was just the hospital.  Bed battle had commenced and I had to haul ass to Wexham Park Hospital immediatly to secure my bed for my week-end chemo session.  It was starting to get political!  So faster than a speeding bullet (or the type of bullet with fat ankles, swollen arm and baldy head hobbling like a Granddad) I headed off.

So when I got there, I re-aquinted myself with the room - manky towel hanging on the back of the door, check! Urine sample bottles lined-up ready for action - check!  Hospital entertainment system which for two pounds a day you can watch itv (as BBC 1 and 2 never work and most of its other functions are also bust - hey thats entertainment folks!!) - check!

Slept ok and woken up gently Friday morning 6am with a full blast of the room lighting coming on.  I understood, in those first few seconds, what it is like being an alien abductee.  Thankfully it was just someone wanting to take my observations (blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation and temperature).  They wandered off to their next hapless victim.  I got up and waddled to turn my light off.  I got back into bed, wiggled around a bit to find the nest like space I had made and got about 30 minutes sleep before repeat of previous.  
"Are you awake?", they asked.  I guess any answer is also taken that you are alive, as if you can sleep through the turning on of the LIGHTS you are either blind or dead.  They brought me some weet-a-bix, which is consumed quite happily and then next posse arrived to change my bed.  I stepped into the bathroom and did what people did there, then I returned and hung out for a while.
Around 10ish a porter  magically arrived and told me I was to be taken to the CT scan/XRAY department.  I couldn't see a wheelchair and was happy enough to hobble, as each day my feet got more normal my walking got better.  He stopped me in my tracks, most disappointed.  I had to go on my bed.  I shrugged and climbed onto bed and he took the brakes off and off we went.  You get given right of way a lot more when you're in a bed, it must be said.  I was then deposited at the intervention suite.  I was jovially greeted by one of the team, who announced to her colleague, "look who is back".  She popped out and said hello and it was really cool, I had forgot that appart from the sausage stuffing sensation, the team were a good laugh.  We had a bit of a chat and then I was lead in and sat on a table.  A canula needed attaching as they were going to sedate me.  I was asked, "do I fancy the 3 gin and tonics level or more?"
I always consided 3 gins to be a bit light weight, which was echoed by one of his colleages who suggested 5 would be better.  Anyway, in short order I'm feeling pretty squiffy and I know stuff is going on with my chest and neck but can't really feel anything so just lie there having a look round.   Every few minutes one of the team lean over, smile and say, "doing good".  I'd wonkilly smile back and continue with my random scanning.
The line was in and it wasn't too bad an experience.  It is a lot less annoying than the PIC and it seems a lot more sure.  Held in place with several sutures and not some plastic and glue arrangement.
Chemo on Friday was ok.  Felt fine.
Chemo on Saturday was a bit pants.  After the first two quick chemo drugs went in (1 hour infusion each), I felt totally tired out.  Now it was time to go shoulder to shoulder with the 24 hour chemo infusion.  Alongside it, is fed 12 litres of fluids.  As mentioned before, you need to keep your fluid out matching your fluid in.  I wasn't as I felt poo.  Diuretic time!  Whoosh, that did the trick.  Basically, you are lying there feeling crappy and have to keep getting up to pee in a pot.  Not my idea of a Saturday night (although, I have had some worse ones, but we're going back a number of years).
Sunday and my arms and legs were swollen.  I was weighed and was 4kg heavier than when I started.  Not an ideal sign.  So, diuretics were continued on sunday.  When they checked their records on monday I had passed the require 4.5 litres!  That was pee central my friends.  It requires dedication and resolve!
That about sums it up.  Oh no, the dreaded curse of the cough-cough-puke was back.  What happens is that if I move around to much or get up and go to the bathroom, it is as if a timing has been started.  I can feel it.  I know it has been posted in the mail and is en-route.  I cough a couple of times.  Okay, still got time.  Then again, but for longer.  Lets get moving people!  Then it is cough, cough, cough, gag noise.  Still time to get back in bed and lie very still.  Nope, too slow.  Cough-cough-puke!  Not fun.  The cough now seems to have eased somewhat but so far I have been sick each day.  The most ironic ones, were where I was given a new spiffy anti-sickness drug and within 2 minutes of it going in I was vomiting like a steam driven victorian puke engine with the steam set to full and a raging boiler to boot (sadly, you don't see many of these around today).  The plus side was that the drug made you feel high as a kite, which was tricky when I had visitors as I was more incoherent than usual (and my hands shook like I had parkinson's too)
Still, the 24 hour marathan is done and I am the proud own of a lovely(!) Hickman line.  Gawd bless it.


Liz said...

Hi Rich! Liz Reid here. (Was Liz Ayling, from IIS years ago). Not too sure of blogging and comments etiquette, but I don’t have an email address for you so will just ramble on a bit.

Was chatting to Carole Jennion/Wood tonight on the phone, and was totally shocked to hear that you were ill. Emailed Adrian to see if he had any more details, and then thought to google you. Found your site. Goodness me you’re going through a bit of a marathon.

I don’t really know what to say about cancer, so I’ll just witter on for a bit about other things…. My son Finlay is also 3. He had his first day (well session) at pre-school today. Thankfully he really enjoyed it. I think he was more ready for it that I was for taking him there! They made apple crumble, and played musical statues (good) and one of the boys called him pooh-pooh (not so good!)

Haven’t seen the IIS lot for a while. I think we had our last “survivors” meal in the autumn. Me (and David), Carole and Steve, Anne, Matt, Edel (and Mike). Edel might finally be hanging up her footie boots. She’s been working for a while now for the Civil service. Holidays good, politics….. urm. She went to Fleur’s wedding in Torronto this summer. (Do you remember Fleur?). Carole and Steve are very happy together. Anne is still at IIS. Can’t remember where Matt is working, but he’s still living in Reading.

Anyway, better stop tapping…. Hubby has turned off Star-Trek, so it must be time for bed in our house. Time to turn off Finlay’s light and radio (he goes to sleep listening to the Archers!!!!) Keep up the battle. Do you / Can you do NLP on shrinking the cancer?

Take Care
Lizzie xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard

just wanted to say that for all the right reasons your style of writing has made me smile. Cant imagine the situation youre in so just keep blogging mate.

Also well done with bot book. excellent read and it made me smile too but for all the wrong reasons.

You take care and I'll be looking in to see how your getting on.


Anonymous said...

Good to hear another step has been overcome successfully mate. A few more and it will be beaten.
Your blogs getting dangerous though, I’ve just laughed and shot boiling coffee through my nose,
a new experience I don’t plan to repeat.

Keep fighting


Chemo-Man said...


You're one tough dude.