Monday 26 October 2009

A second course of chemotherapy

The busy insomniac

The neighbourhood nurse arrived a lot earlier than expected; alright I needed an early dressing of my feet because I was to visit hospital today for a second course of chemotherapy.

This disrupted my morning naps which seem to come after drug-induced nocturnal insomnia that I have had since I was in hospital.

Rather than toss and turn in bed, I productively feed my spirit with inspirational and edifying teachings, music or listen to either of the Elizabethan English version of the Bible of the Message Bible in contemporary English.

The most important result of this is to keep ones faith in the ascendancy such that one does not end up hopeless or in despair, in fact, it is impossible to take on that kind of mindset where what you hear and meditate on is encouraging, inspiring and strengthening the will to not just survive but thrive.

The battle is in your mind and if you cannot begin to create new realities with a vivid and thriving imagination, you can easily be swallowed up in your circumstances and never see a way out. I thank God, I have an anchor that keeps my soul from drift – The Psalmist had a lot to say about encouraging oneself out of desperate situations to a winning spirit and mindset.

Excess baggage for the night?

Anyway, beyond the chemotherapy for today, I was also to see the wounds nurse after many consultants observed the condition of the lesions but could not determine what best to do.

When I finally left home for the hospital, I was a bit rushed for time and riding my bicycle took a bit out of me. I was at least prepared for a night of observation at the hospital, if need be, that my rucksack weighed a tonne.

A change of clothes, my mobile phone, the charger, my net book, its power supply, drinks, sweets, medicines and so on, especially considering I had no chaperone. It is one of those times that your sincerely wish you had a companion of sorts – trying to get my clothes out of the washing machine to the drying rack yesterday was such a herculean task on crutches, I never really completed the activity to my satisfaction.

Be reclined rather than seated

The out-patient oncology department was a maze to get to, up the lifts, doors, corridors, signs and a foreboding of getting lost.

The nurse there was in charge when I took my first course as an in-patient on another floor, it is nice to see familiar faces considering, I have literally gone through the pool of neighbourhood nurses, I cannot remember any names anymore.

The seats were setup in such a way that it had a movable back, a movable seat portion and a movable leg portion with foot rests. It could well have been a tumble drier with the tumbling action cut out.

Needles, pricks, tweezers and scalpel blades

The intravenous saline solution was first setup, I seem to prefer all the needles and pricks on my left arm, and it is easier to look away towards the right than to the left for me.

The chemotherapy trademarked Caelyx is wrapped in aluminium foil because it is sensitive to light and attached to the drip mechanism, you can see the red fluid mix up with the saline solution as it enters the body.

I completely reclined and literally fell asleep when the wounds nurse came. Despite what all the specialists had seen and said, she was the first to suggest that she would attack the lesions directly.

Apparently, there was a lot of necrosis or necrotised tissue on the lesions – necro means dead – this was dried up but rotten tissue that needed to be pulled off with tweezers but a good deal was still attached to good tissue and had to be cut off with a scalpel blade. No small pain, all that, but now I know it all has to come off eventually.

New dressings

As a wounds nurse she really knew what had to be done, it was her specialisation and I note that all specialists were ready to defer to the wounds nurse for her opinion.

She is now changing the dressing gauze from the fat-based covering to an algae-based microbial padding which has silver particles that bond with bacteria, killing it and making it ineffective, thereby helping the healing process and removing the smell.

She called my local pharmacy, had an order put in that would be delivered to my home tomorrow. That is one thing I like about our health care system here, the doctor, nurse or hospital can pull up your details, link to your local pharmacy, send the prescriptions and the pharmacy delivers.

I had completed the chemotherapy course by the time all that was done and I now had to contemplate getting back home on my bicycle on rain-drenched roads. I tried laughing through the pain, I did.

I went straight to bed and that was how it was.

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