Last week on Monday evening, I got a call from Hammersmith hospital saying they had a slot free on the magical mechanical stem cell machine and could I get there for 9.00am Tuesday. I checked with Ma-in-law who would be driving me and she said yes, but we'd have to leave at 7 (2 hours, not bad for a 14 mile journey. We love you traffic).
Monday, 20 October 2008
So, I get there. Unfortunately dropped off at the wrong end of the hospital but my hobbling is improving and I hobbled it ok. I meet the docs and nurses, all seem a nice bunch and then see the machine. It was definitely circa 1985, lots of spinny bits and relays. Very retro!
They entered my details and it recommended me being attached for 5 hours! The nurse operating it looked a bit bemused and said it didn't normally ask for that long (I just knew it was part of the conspiracy to make everything take ages in hospitals). So, they hooked me up from my Hickman line to the machines output, but needed to put a canula in on my arm for the machine to take blood. Okay, fair enough. At least until I saw the needle they were going to use. The nurse walked up holding what looked like a knitting needles older and bigger brother. I looked at it and wondered what was he going to do with then, when STAB! It was in me. I yelped like a guide dog that has misjudged the traffic and just bounced off a bus. It was huge but thankfully it had found a good vein.
So, 5 slow hours pass, each of which the nurse had to remain with me, checking me and the machine. I leave, with the warning that if the stem cells collected are not enough or of a high enough standard I may have to come back the next day. I started to deflate, but crossed my fingers instead and left.
I got home and began to slip, slide and hobble out the car when my phone rang. It was the doc from the hospital. He said all was good, in fact I had produced 4 times more than needed. Hurrah! Go stem cells!