Yesterday was my very last session of chemo. As is usual for this Granny and her sidekick, it didn’t pass without incident and I thought I’d do a blog post about it all. We arose early, showered, quick breakfast and then walked down to the bus stop at the bottom of the road because it was drizzling and our nearest stop does not have a shelter. So far, so good. The bus we were waiting for is supposed to arrive at 09.03am and then arrives at the hospital stop at roughly (depending on traffic) 09.45am, so plenty of time for our 10.00am appointment with the chemo chair.
I’m an early riser. I always have been, being schooled well as a youngster by my mother that ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.’ This did not work out for me personally unfortunately, and as time has past and I have grown older, my waking time has gradually become earlier and earlier. These days, I’m usually awake and up and about at roughly about 06.00am in the morning, largely depending on the resident crows and their escapades outside. Of course, this alarm call tends to alter depending on the time of year, and this morning I was rudely awakened by loud shouting and chattering from my immediate neighbours in the tree outside at about 05.00am.
Sitting at my desk yesterday, I was suddenly conscious that I was rocking on my chair. It’s a habit I have had since being a youngster and one that I can lay firmly on my Granma’s lap, for it was she who bought me that old wooden rocking chair that instigated this particular habit. Not only that, she was also instrumental in causing my life time love of liquorice via ample supplies of liquorice Pontefract Cakes.
The chair was wooden with a circular hole in the seat where you could presumably place a potty of some description. I was probably safely tied into it via a scarf or some other method to ensure that I didn’t fall out. I can’t remember sitting in it of course, but my mother kept it until her demise. It would have been worth some money if it had not been cracked all the way down the back. I have been able to find a picture on the internet of one which is very similar the the one I had.
The Pontefract Cakes might have been bought in a tin, I am not quite sure whether Bassett’s were around in those days so it’s not certain who made them, but I still enjoy eating liquorice to this day. My Granma is a very hazy memory for me, as she died when I was only about three or four from breast cancer. She spoiled me something rotten or so my mother used to tell me, and I just wish my memories were more clear of her. She was probably already unwell by the time I was born, and my mother and I lived with her during my early years. My father was away serving in the Army during that time, so I suppose it made sense for us to remain at home with Granma and Granddad. This was just after the war had ended of course, when things were really tight. I don’t remember much about Granma’s house either, only the basic layout of it and the back room which we all used most of the time. The front room was never used unless there were guests. It was always kept for ‘best’.
t’s just a good job I have never worked in an close office environment, I would have driven everyone batty with my constant rocking and the trouble is, it’s not until someone remarks on it that I realise I am doing it, so by that time everyone would be heartily sick of seeing me out of the corner of their eye rocking to and fro as I enjoyed my liquorice Pontefract Cakes.
I had a strange birthday yesterday. Spent having yet another new experience sat in a very comfortable chair, being stabbed with needles four times in total on the back of my hands resulting in some lovely blue bruises, (I shall be taken soon for an alien as I will no doubt end up blue all over) and receiving lot’s of different inputs ranging from Steroids, anti-sickness stuff to my two separate chemo’s. K sat diligently at my side, noseying as she always does at everything going on around her.
True to their word, the next day our catheter’s were removed, all cannula’s no longer required were also removed from the back of our hands. One amusing incident with one of mine on my left hand involved my asking the first nurse that visited my bedside to remove it because it had been hurting so much during the night. “What Cannula?” she asked, looking at my cannula free hand. Where was it? It was no longer there! Either I had been so irritated by it during the night that I had removed it myself, or it had fallen out It was duly found on the floor at the side of my bed.
Firstly I was asked if I would like a bath. Would I? The nurse went off to prepare the bath and fill it with delicious bubbles for me to languish in. She then returned and escorted me to the bathroom, where I had to sit down on the hoist whilst she carefully removed my pajamas and fetching knee high socks which you all have to wear to stop blood clots forming in your legs. That accomplished, I was hoisted above the bath, the hoist was then lowered into the bubbles and the bath raised. I was given some wipes with which to wash myself with. My scar, reaching from my belly button downwards was covered in some kind of hard ‘lattice worked’ cover. I was assured that it was okay to get it all wet, in fact the bath would help to ease any pain and discomfort.
The nurse told me to take as long as I wished and left me with a push button with which to summon her when I was ready to get out of the bath. Oh what heaven! It was exactly the right temperature, I felt relaxed and could have gladly remained there all day but M was also due to experience this delight, and so eventually I pressed the ‘nurse’ icon on the button, and she returned to get me dressed. Returning to the ward, I did not get back into bed but instead sat thankfully on the high seat chair next to my bed with a pillow at my back for comfort.
In fact, I stayed out of bed and in the chair for most of the day. I was reluctant to get back into bed, and only did so if I felt really tired. We were also encouraged to slowly walk down to the dining area at meal times to eat, not that I felt like eating anything. I didn’t feel hungry at all. I did keep trying to eat, but the only food that I seemed to be able to enjoy at all was the ice cream and the rice pudding. Everything else tasted dire. I couldn’t drink the tea at all, or any of the fruit juice, I seemed to have permanent acid reflex in my throat and constantly there, and eventually had to ask for some ‘Gaviscon’ to help relieve it Everyone else seemed to be eating some of the meals, but I felt so full I simply couldn’t bring myself to attempt more than a few spoonful’s of anything.
I was at a loss what to drink. I had asked my sister and brother to bring me some of my favourite Grape Juice in, but this just seemed to add to the acid discomfort in my stomach. I told the doctors all about it. It did sometimes happen. The Gaviscon did help. I would just have to stick to plain water for mow which seemed to be the only thing I could drink without making the acid reflux worse. I also began to walk around the corridor whenever I could. Slowly at first, taking my time and holding onto the grab rail that ran all along the length. This I knew should help to get things moving internally which let’s face it, was the mainstay of conversation with every resident on there. Wind. It was as if we had all been filled with it whilst down on the operating table, like so many car tires blown up too far.
Now we were all paying the price. It had to be got rid of, it was the cause of our pain, staff also were preoccupied with the subject as well. Questions were asked. Had we heard any grumblings or rumblings? Had we passed any wind down below? Physiotherapists called with exercises for us all to do to help to get the whole thing moving along. ‘Lay on your back on your bed. Raise both knees up. Slowly rock both of your knees from the left to the right and back again. Try to go as far left and right as you can. Repeat about 10 times.
We also had a very enjoyable visit from a lady from McMillians who was a qualified masseur and who gave M and myself a hand massage and Br a foot massage. We couldn’t have the foot massage as it would have meant removing our stockings which was a task to be avoided at all costs.
Well, I should sleep tonight! I thought to myself after enjoying such a busy and energetic day. Of course I didn’t sleep any better.