Wednesday, August 11, 2010
In and out and back in then back out
Ok so the heart had taken a bit of beating but the head was feeling great, I was tired, well probably knackered is a better description! Then the pain started, it just felt like my nephew Jacob had tackled me and was sat on my chest. (Jacob's 17 but 6 foot three or so and a great rugby player) My breathing was strained and moving from one position to another was bloody painful. It felt like my rib cage was being crushed and I couldn't do anything about it.
The sensible thing to do was ring Weston Park and see what they say but I was loathed to do it, I'd only just come home and it was only Tuesday afternoon and I'd arranged with mum to take Wendy and me to a little cafe in the peaks. I could almost taste the millionaires shortbread as we drove to Weston!
The thing with turning up unexpected at Weston is the nurses and the rest of the staff all ask "what are you doing here?" they all care and they take an interest in all their patients. So as we walked along the ward Wend and mum looked at each other as though the favourite naughty student had just turned up again!
I had another bed on a ward in the corner next to the loo, not the best place but makes my midnight wanderings shorter! I was monitored and prodded and listened to and monitored some more. I just wanted to be at home with Wendy just chilling out and relaxing before I had to have another CT scan on Thursday. This scan would tell us which way we were going with my treatment plan and how the cancer was responding or if it was responding. This was the last thing my emotions could cope with and it was with silent tears that I opened a book Wendy had bought me and I lost myself in someone else's adventure.
Guy Greave had been just another bloke working in just another cube farm in Scotland when he decided to go and live in Alaska int he woods and build himself a log cabin and survive the winter alone. It was a gripping read and really well written, when I was a boy I remember a book in which a boy goes off to the woods and builds himself a cabin. Since then I've always wanted to build one, the book showed the boy digging a foundation and filling it with stones, cutting the logs and then laying a floor of bracken. He did it all alone. Guy Greave ended up getting help from locals and using their knowledge, tools and even dogs. It was how he succeeded, the local knowledge was invaluable and it led to amazing friendships. The only fly in the ointment of the book was he left his wife and kids, not permanently but for a year. Through choice, his own free choice. He wrote of how hard it was and I believe him but I still don't understand, leaving for such a period of time for something which could easily have killed him. Oh well it's a great book and it got me through a difficult couple of days.
I had already got an appoinmtent for the CT scan booked for the Thursday and as much as I wanted to go home the pain hadn't gone fully, so it was decided I stay in Wednesday night and then go home after my scan. All being well!
It was the first time I've looked forward to a scan, waiting in the waiting room it was also the first time the scanning staff had been late. Having asked at reception a member of staff came round and told me I should have been waiting somewhere else, even though for the prior six appointments I'd waited in the same place as today! Oh well, I'm only itching to get home.....
A couple of days at home and then it was back in Sunday night so they could asses my blood's suitability for harvesting stem cells at 6am Monday morning. Fun fun fun. To be honest other than being nervous about the harvest it was the easiest visit to Weston I've had. The only problem was being away from Wend for another night but as there were to be no surprises or chemo then I thought it'd be easy peasy lemon squeezy!
And we all know what thought did..........Blood taken, results back and all systems go. Over to the Hallamshire and get hooked up to the machine which will remove my blood, not all at once, seperate off the stem cells and then give the blood back to me. Simple, well it would have been if my hickman line worked as it should! It turns out that my body in it's infinite wisdom had recognised the line as a foreign body and was trying to block the end of it with what could be described as a clot. This clot was acting as a valve allowing liquid in to my body but then covering the tube and stopping liquid going out, not going to leak to death then!
So back to Weston park having not done the harvest, annoyed and worried that the line is faulty or in the worst case scenario it'd have to be removed and replaced. Wendy was resigned to another night home alone and I had to get used to another night of Weston food. It's good but nowhere near as good as Wendy's. They used the hospital equivalent of drain cleaner to clear the blockage, four hours after pumping it down my line they drew it back, it kind of looked like they'd cleared a bloody drain too. Lumpy and full of part dissolved clot within inches of my nose as they drew it through, lovely, but at least it was working. Result.