Friday 4 December 2009

More chemo but not worried

The early bird, I was

It was exciting as well as the fastest time I have been in and out of hospital; it was all over in just an hour and much really was done.

My appointment was for 9:30 in the morning, which was early, I had to set my alarm for 8:00 AM and after 3 “snooze” knocks, I was up and out of bed in 15 minutes.

I had to get my wounds paraphernalia that is the Mepitel silicone film dressing, the absorbent material and the bandage. I have never said that the bandages are self-adhesive, the nurses love those bandages, it means they do not have to fiddle with sealing tape and there is no danger the bandage would suddenly come off.

Quick to the point

With the bus and the tram, I was in hospital by 9:23 AM and within 5 minutes I was called in by the doctor, the consultant oncologist is away in New Orleans on some peer junket as these very senior people and wont to and I have met this youngish affable doctor before.

I hobbled on my crutches to his office and chatted about my condition, the condition of the wounds, the sudden occurrence and disappearance of dysentery over the last week, the couple of time I was so nauseous I was sick in the toilet and my sometimes itchy hay-fever eyes which he thought might be related to the chemotherapy.

The doctors usually require a nurse to do the bandages, but I am already a dab hand at doing them myself, I wanted him to see the condition of my two feet in the hope that I could persuade them not to put me on another course of chemotherapy.

I got out my scissors and snipped of the bandages and he was quite impressed at the technique first and then the condition of my two feet.

Six courses were prescribed

The minor detail I did not have about my treatment was that normally for Kaposi’s Sarcoma six courses of chemotherapy are recommended – my heart sank, but for good behaviour, if that count he has written in my notes that maybe I be let off after the fifth – it would all be well, I am quite hopeful.

The fact was I thought an assessment was done each time to ascertain the efficacy of the chemotherapy before offering another course – you learn.

Immediately after that, appointments were made for Christmas Eve for another date with the oncologist and the Monday after Christmas for the fifth course of chemotherapy, the fourth course is on Monday.

The trick of a prick

They also needed to do a blood check which was quite an express service, I got my number, I was called and I did not have to wait be get to see the nurse, as I pulled up my sleeve the veins are glowing ready for the needle prick, before I knew it, the cotton wool was on my skin and we were ready to say good bye.

She hoped I had a wonderful day, I wished her a rewarding day which gets quite slow in the afternoons and she was going to be there until 5:00 PM.

When she mentioned the weekend, I hoped she would make the best of it and before I knew it I was talking about my guest from Stockholm who had contacted me through my hospital season blogs, who became friends and is now visiting.

The nurse also blogs about embroidery and I found myself giving her the address of my blog page, I hope I get to see hers if she leaves a comment on my blogs.

The compassionate priest

Then, one final thing, I had promised myself that on days without chemotherapy I would visit the catholic priest who came to my bedside when I was in hospital, so after he attended to patient, customer, parishioner – really what do you call someone who sees the hospital chaplain?

He invited me into his office, offered me a drink and we chatted at length about so many things, I kept in mind he had an appointment in 30 minutes and really, I do not want to take up his time on a seemingly social visit.

I however learnt that it is rewarding for the priests too to know that patients they have seen before are recovering well and though there are dangers of getting emotionally involved the situation is a priest cannot really be apathetic in their ministry which is one that should thrive on compassion.

The hospital parish

A hospital might well be a parish, but the parishioners do not have the essential quality of permanence as you would have in a local community, they come and go, they are old and new, they are ill or well and mostly every time, they are different.

One interesting insight in our conversation was about the professionalism of doctor that do not necessarily have to be empathetic and the caring nature of nurses who are involved in the everyday treatment and recuperation process – the latter do always get the chocolates or flowers but the former, go home sometimes with bottles of wine as gratitude from their patients.

My visit to hospital was no doubt very pleasant and fulfilling, it is however another wonderful course of chemotherapy on Monday again – Thank God always.

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