Monday, 1 September 2008

Still in hospital!

I've been in hospital since my last post. In that time quite a lot has happened. A quick summary:
* Dark thoughts of doom (not fun)
* 3 days of chemo (details later)
* PICC line in my arm
* Arm the size of an elephant and the colour of a babboons bottom
* Coughing till I'm sick
* And.... hospital food!

Got here wednesday and was scheduled for a PICC line being put in on friday. This is a tube that starts at your elbow, goes inside veins, along your chest and empties the other side. Having it put it was like being the sausage skin when then the sausages were being made. My arm was already swollen so i think he needed to give it some extra gumption to get it in.
Later chemo started with the Rituximab and a quick infusion of one of the other drugs. All ok.
Saturday was the 24 hour infusion day. Unfortunately when they put in my line they only had single ones whereas I need two, so they had to use the canula in my other hand. Basically this chemo drug is pretty nasty and so they have to load you with masses of fluid and another drug called Mesna, so it doesn't start messing up your bladder and kidneys. Yummy. Now, here's the rub. Getting about 12 litres of fluid means that it has got to go somewhere. They dont want it settling in your body as a)that leads to bad things and b)makes you look really silly. The solution? Everything you drink and everything you pee out has to be measured and checked to make sure its balancing the fluid going in. So, picture me now. I have tubes in each arm, going to drips on either side of my bed. A kind of crucifixion set up. I'm not going anywhere. I'm feeling rubbish, due to chemo, mood, energy etc and don't want to do much at all.
So, the infusion started in the early evening and by night I was getting checked for urine production, as i was falling behind schedule. Couldn't be arsed, leave me alone was my productive thought. The response was to inject a diruretic into my line. It was like dark magic from ancient yore! I felt the rumbling approaching. Stomach to brain, erm, sir, I think we have a situation. Bladder here, I have incoming! It took about a minute before I had to slide my butt out of bed, grab a nasty cardboard hospital piss pot and unleash. Unleash it did. Only just got the next pot in place before reaching the top. Good skills prevailed though. Back into bed after. Now, trying to donate to the pot a little sooner. All was ok until the the pee monitor arrived looking worried again. Quotas not reached. We know what happens when quotas are not reached. Brace yourself bladder outer defenses have failed.
I got through my 24 hour infusion, but in this time being stuck in bed, there was a certain other body function that had been neglected but was not about to be forgotten. My second line was removed and I could be vaguely mobile. I stood up and the alarm went off. This is a 5 second bowel unload warning. All other protocols are disregarded. 5..4..3..2.. I hobbled like the wind, dragging my other attached drip with me. Thankfully all attrocities were averted.
Being bed bound so long and received big dose steroids has meant my legs have become pathetic and like chicken legs. Walking ceased to be the natural talent I've had for many years and became a new skill to learn. Very perturbing. Slowly lowering yourself out of bed onto swollen feet that look like skiddoos. Then wobbling left and right to get balance, then performing the nursing home hustle, throwing one disobedient leg forward then the next. This wouldnt be so bad, but I had a cough. This cough began when I changed position radically and each burst got worse until I started to gag and finally be sick. So, I had to time my expeditions so that I could be back and still before hitting the gag zone.
The cough has lessened right off, but still loiters a bit. My right arm is still swollen and red but not as bad as it was. I was sleeping with it suspended in a sling in an attempt to help drain fluid away. Stupid fluid.
There's more, but this post is too long already. I will hang fire, reload some vitriol and engage again later, may be mentioning some of the good points (there have been good points, e.g. my boss visiting with loads of home made brownies and more importantly getting a sneaky 3G dongle to me so I can get online, yay, online again)


Chemo-Man said...

Man, are you going through a gauntlet of some tough crap. But get those thoughts of doom out of your mind and focus on the positives. Okay, that might be hard when you are forced to eat hospital food. Just think of it this way – at least you don’t have to eat airline food.

Mark Iverson said...

Hi Richard,

I'm very sorry to hear you're having such a rough time. Knowing what you're going through makes trading etc. all seem very petty and irrelevant.

Please try and stay strong though - With your positive attitude I'm sure you're being an inspiration to others.

God Bless.