Friday 25 March 2016

Thought Picnic: Nothing matters more than sleeping well

All worked up
Yesterday morning full of anxiety bordering on trepidation, I wrote about the prospect of going to the hospital alone to commence a regime of gruelling treatment I was not particularly prepared for.
The outpouring of goodwill and best wishes with prayers, encouragement and support was overwhelming and wonderful, friends called, messages came and I prepared for my day ahead.
Each time I met a consultant over the last three years, they all talked about new drugs coming on-stream but punctuated everything with the element of cost. There were more affordable mainstream treatments that could last a whole year with significant side effects and that was what was on offer.
The prospect of subcutaneous injections was as terrifying as it could get, hypodermic needles have punctured enough holes in my epidermis, phlebotomies for vampires’ conventions, intravenous chemotherapy, intramuscular injections all those I could abide, but I have always drawn the line at pitching the flab of my abdomen for ingress. Find another place, I screamed when a nurse attempted to administer my nightly anticoagulant through my stomach wall when I was in hospital almost 7 years ago.
All mixed up
The plan was to get to the hospital, visit the pharmacy and collect my medication, then go up to see my consultant before I faced the abattoir, like a sheep for the slaughter, that was the imagery fully formed in my mind.
At the pharmacy, they had mangled my name on the prescription. Can you imagine, drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds and they got that wrong? Anyway, at least, the date of birth remains what it always was and that was fixed. A package containing a bottle of pills and up the stairs to my fate.
At the weighing station, a seat built on a scale, I had lost 2 kilogrammes and my blood pressure though normal for my condition could do with some notching downwards a bit. Time to visit that gym in the basement again.
All loved in
Suspense built up when I was called into a consulting room, “We’re giving you the best drugs on the market.” She said. I was not sure I heard her correctly, but I did not interrupt her as she went through dosage, side effects, emergencies and other protocols. “You seem a really nice gentleman.” She said, towards the end.
When I finally caught on what was happening around me, I asked when I was getting my injections. There were no injections, my terror dissipated in a puff. I almost cried, the relief! Never had one faced the prospect of something seemingly so grave at the hospital to be met with the desire to leave the hospital skipping away.
Probably it was not what I said before but the story in my blood work, the indicators showed the best improvement in 11 years apart from the urgent need to tackle the other condition, it made me a prime candidate for the new line of drugs and that was what I was offered.
All slept well
As I left the hospital, I hopped on a bus that was like an adventure into the wilderness plying the longest route to my destination. I did not even know when the bus was going the wrong way, the driver had to turn around, it did not matter one bit to me.
Most importantly, I had to rid myself of that morbid feeling of vulnerable incapacity that had invaded my zest for life and begin to look ahead to living and living well. In the midst of this, news came that I had been recalled to the place where I had concluded a 25-month contract just over a month ago.
I think it is the support and prayers of my many friends that turned a difficult day into a different and wonderful experience. How did I celebrate this? I got myself an original Tempur® pillow, in everything, nothing matters more than sleeping well. So far, the first night on the new medication, I feel fine.
Thanks for all your messages, prayers, support and encouragement. I’m happy.

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