Tuesday, June 9, 2009
My first week off work
Being self unemployed is odd, last week I was a dad who had just had chemo and was surrounded by his family as Wendy's dad and partner had come to stay too. Now black Monday was done and it was Wendy and I at home, the girls had gone to school and this was a start of a 'normal' routine.
Western Park had told me that anything out of the ordinary warranted a phone call, so a sore throat and upset tummy lead to a couple of hours being checked out on the day case unit. The tummy passed, thank fully and I was prescribed some anti-biotics for my throat. It was stressed over and over that I had done the right thing and I was not to hesitate in ringing if I was worried about anything.
I felt like my chest was going to burst open and a furball jump out and run across the floor. It was Wednesday afternoon and I'd given up and gone to bed for a snooze, little did I know the pain was going to be breath taking and my temperature was going to jump up to 38 degrees. Anything over 37.5 the hospital wanted to know, having just got out of bed I decided (as I am a fully qualified doctor(not)) to give it five minutes and see if it dropped any. Surprisingly it didn't, I can tell you're shocked by that!
"Mark's coming to take you up to hospital, I'll sort the girls and if I can I'll be up in a bit". Mark's great in an emergency, very calm and not at all flustered, just chatting about his day and the weather. He was pleased to be asked to give me a lift as it meant he got out of doing the tea! It also involved him in something useful rather than just calling to make small talk he seemed to want to help and he did.
Due to the time the day case centre was shut so I was admitted to a ward, glad I did an overnight bag now, I was bed c in a 6 bed bay. One guy went home during visiting and then there were three of us left. A nursing student had been taking my observations and detail when a Doctor came to see me, listened to the symptoms and decided as the pain was in my chest that another ecg would be a cautious thing to do. More flipping bald spots on my chest now, I'd rather have needles stuck in me, oh you're doing that as well great thank you!
Wendy called up, Shelley had been able to call and bring her up and said she'd put the girls to bed. Mark called up to pick Wendy up and then it was me and two blokes in a big room with very little to do. Small talk was the order of the day, reading and wondering whether this is my life from here on.
When I went into the day case centre on Tuesday I came out feeling lucky. There was an elderly lady who hadn't eaten or drunk for quite some time, she looked really uncomfortable. Earwigging, as I do, it turned out she'd come with her some in the ambulance from somewhere in Derbyshire and then were going to have to be transfered to Chesterfield as there was no beds in Western Park. I felt incredibly blessed as I had had a 20 minute bus journey to get here and was going to be going home the same day.
Thursday morning was like that too, a reasonable nights sleep, considering I was in a big room with two blokes. That doesn't sound very good but you know what I mean. Breakfast was great, Westerns food is brill, I hope you never have to try it but take my word for it! then it was waiting for the doctors to come and see me and discuss what happens next. My temperature had gone down and was stable and the pain was reducing. The doctors decided that subject to a chest x-ray they would then think about allowing me home. As with any group of people in Sheffield a conversation started up between the three of us, partly from winding the cleaners up and chatting with the nursing staff, but mainly from a natural air of openness which seems to exist oop north! Eric was in because his blood was as thin as water, not sure how that works but I think that was a lay mans description and Geoff was waiting to go to St Luke's Hospice which is a cancer care home. Eric explained that he had terminal lung cancer, he'd found it three years ago and they'd operated successfully but it had returned to a greater part of his lungs. His humility and acceptance of the situation was humbling, here's me with a furball which touch wood can be cured and I felt like a bit of a hypochondriac next to Eric. We talked for a good hour or so about family and friends and cancer. I can see how and possibly why people get so wrapped up in it, it is such an all encompassing disease, but I am determined not to be one of those people. I am not a number.........I am a free man.
I had my chest x-ray just before lunch and then it was more waiting. Lunch was good, again great food and yet another reason to be grateful for being me. Another guy got admitted to the ward and he looked like he was concentrating hard on something, it turned out he couldn't keep anything down, nice during lunch! But the poor bloke kept getting asked by the orderly if he wanted anything to eat or drink, I suggested a sign which he smiled at but shut his eyes again to either feign sleep or to keep down what ever was left in his stomach.
Wendy arrived having done a morning shift looking shattered, she'd not slept the night before, to the extent that she'd watched high school musical 3 in the middle of the night! She did bring a treat though from starbucks which was lovely but I felt really guilty as the sicky bloke kept opening his eyes and looking round!
Literally two minutes after Wendy left to go and get the girls the nurse came and said I could go home! She wasn't aware of the x-ray results so a short wait for a doctor to confirm any findings and then I was free! The reason for the pain, they think the chemo has started working on the furball. Come on the chemo! I can cope with pain if it means I'm going to get rid of this bar steward sooner rather than later.