Friday, 26 June 2015

Some chalk stream magic then back on the Chemo Wagon!

Well I am sitting here waiting for my 3rd bash of chemo with the wonderful doctors and nurses trying to kill the cancer without actually killing me. The good news is that in the latter part of the 3 week cycle between treatments I do feel a bit more normal so this time I achieved another goal, yes thanks to Rosalind's driving I got back on the chalk streams. She drove me to Durrington and I spent an hour or so walking the Stonehenge Fishery beat. I had rod in hand and I did manage to cover a few fish but they were busy nymphing and I was on the top fishing a dry (not having read the year book and realised that nymphing was allowed on that beat). Eventually after an hour or so, the pain and discomfort drove me back to the car for a rest. Then we went to the West Amesbury Fishery and I had another bash just fishing the short stretch up to the log book container. It was the middle of the afternoon so there weren't many rises but it was so nice to be there that I shed a tear! Eventually we retreated to my daughters home at Andover, saw the grandchildren, had a lovely meal and Rosalind and I got to sleep on the IKEA bed we had erected earlier in the year. (See my earlier post on 26th February 2015 for a hopefully humorous account of putting it together). I had hoped to fish the next morning but in spite of a good night decided I was not really up to it so we headed for home.
Me on the Stonehenge Fishery
Yesterday I had my pre-chemo check up with the doctor (a pretty one) basically I think this is to confirm I am still alive and able to cope with another round of poison! I also get to report what I notice is happening to me and can ask questions.  So I mentioned, dry sticky eyes (Doc: to be expected will prescribe drops), dry skin which the district nurse had already prescribed a huge bottle of cream for. Then I discussed my pain control which following advice from my daughter-in-laws I am getting better at. Basically I start with Paracetamol, then if needed step up to Tramadol, which I usually take prior to going to sleep. If pain is still keeping me awake I have 5ml of morphine which usually knocks me out. I avoid using morphine if I can as it seriously causes constipation, especially the 12 hour pills! Morphine also gives me an out of this world feeling which I am not keen on (is that what is popular with junkies?).
Then I asked why removing all or part of my right lung wasn't an option? She said it was an option in some cases but that it was a very major life changing operation that had to be assessed very carefully in determining whether it was appropriate. I also asked if the date of my 5th chemo session could be put back a couple of days so I could attend the family reunion at Center Parcs the first week in August, she said that was not a problem.
Anyway back to the chemo session. A lovely male nurse had 3 attempts at fitting a cannular in my arm, joy of joys, each time the vein collapsed! That has only happened once before (in A & E), so he sent for reinforcements in the form of Ming a lady nurse from China, fortunately she hit the spot in my other arm (now I know why I have two) first attempt, hurray! So now I have the machine clicking away next to me as it meters the various liquids into my arm. I have been given a sickness suppression pill and right on time a nice lady came round with sandwiches and drinks. Finding myself sitting a cold draught from the ceiling AC unit I asked if it could be switched off, which it was. One of the nurses, Jo said she put it on because she gets hot. I then told her how to adjust the angle of the slats on the blinds so they reflect the suns radiation out of, rather than into the room (our English summer was occurring that afternoon). She was impressed! As a building services and air conditioning engineer I loss count of the number of times I had to show people how to do that, so much so that I even produced a wall poster explaining what to do that went up in DWP buildings all around the UK.
Eventually after two lots of chemo and three flushes I was ready to collect some eye drops from the pharmacy and head for home after four and a half hours of being looked after. For my American and other overseas friends let me explain that so far none of my hospital stays, treatment or medicines have cost me anything. This is because all of my working life I have paid a thing called National Insurance to the government. So I don't have to personally worry about funding my care. It might have its faults and it certainly has its critics but from where I am it certainly has its benefits!  It is interesting that the same consultants treating me also treat the "private" patients!
Well the chemo is keeping me awake so I am trying to wear myself out finishing this post I hope you find it interesting and I do enjoy your comments. Bless you!
PS This has not been proof read by Rosalind, she's asleep so please forgive any typos!

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