Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A certain death from cancer loomed large

The pain, the pain
Six years ago today and it was a Tuesday too, I was wheeled into hospital by my partner, in excruciating pain and unsure of whether I had the hope for respite or not.
As we left home, he suggested I take a change of clothes just in case I am kept in hospital for observation, but all I did was take a change of underwear and I did not even take my trusty little notebook.
Before this, I had seen my doctor and the people at surgery, I was on painkillers that did nothing to kill the pain and this was my second referral in the space of a week.
To a bed, I was led
My left foot had taken on an otherworldly life of its own, something innocuous as a summer affliction of athlete’s foot was browning, oozing, serious and killing me.
The consultant internist came down to see me and he had no doubts in his mind that I was not going home that day and he came to the decision within minutes that they had a bed for me upstairs.
To him, I was a sight he had seen many times before, a bit of neglect, ignoring a seemingly little thing, wishing and hoping it would go away with the encumbrance of religious presumptuousness that a miracle is more efficacious than what medicine can offer, we expire almost unsung having fought a fight of failure and foolishness that gets rewritten as a fight of faith.
The iniquity of my stupidity
I knew better, yet it took a long time for me to be re-schooled to an alternative, I was about to die of stupidity if smarter people had not arrested me with palliative care at first, whilst I traversed the realities of the Kubler-Ross 5 Stages of Grief as applied to disease. I was in denial, in all my pain and suffering, I was still in denial that I was at death’s door.
I was settled into a bed on the sixth floor in Ward B at the Onze Lieve Vrouw Gasthuis in Amsterdam which doubles as a teaching hospital and if I could look in a particular direction, I would have been able to see my apartment block from my bed.
Within the hour, I was wheeled out to a theatre where my blood pressure was taken at all extremities to determine whether my condition was diabetes related, I guess we all knew, it wasn’t, it was just the need to eliminate other variables.
Some morphine, an intravenous drip to address a fungal infection, I read up later that it was to treat fungating tumours, that was the first time I realised I probably had cancer brought on by another diagnosis I had received 7 years before.
It is now history, for to tell a story
The more we learnt of my condition, the more it was clear that I could have died anytime from when I arrived in hospital to a maximum of five long weeks, if I had received no treatment at all. Phew!
Six years ago, I had cancer, six years on, I am telling my story like I have done many times before of the amazing wonder of medicine, the good fortune of landing the hands of competent medical staff, of friends far and near who stood with me in my most trying times, of getting to the point of acceptance beyond which I could begin to see a future.
Each day after I left hospital on the 9th of October 2009 has been a blessing beyond compare and I am thankful for each opportunity to speak of hope beyond adversity, of life, of love and of kindness, of knowledge, truth and understanding that we are all stories of the amazing force of humanity.
Blogs from the 23rd of September, 2009 to the 9th of October, 2009 were written when I was in hospital.


No comments: