The Nurses are Coming. (cue Benny Hill music)
It’s taken a while but it seems that I’m entering the intended chemotherapy routine.
The lack of communication is sometimes irritating but I’ve got a handle on that now. There are two things going on, medical intervention, and the things I'm responsible for. The medical intervention is obviously critical, but my responsibilities are important as well.
The stuff that I call medical intervention goes a bit like this.
Day 1. First Friday. Morning appointment at The Headland Unit at RCH Treliske. The department is very Covid secure. Mask at all times, a buzzer entry system, register (name, D.O.B, 1st line of my address), wait in spaced out waiting room. And relax. There’s a TV which is usually on with volume! Your dedicated nurse (a different one each time) calls me through to the ward, (name, D.O.B, 1st line of my address), wash hands on arrival, hand sanitizer, ear hole temperature check, all the Covid questions.
I’m taken through to a bay with a whole load of wipe clean reclining chairs. In this ward I get tubed up, (name, D.O.B, 1st line of my address) a line is inserted into my port-a-cath (implant), various medications either injected or pumped in over the next 90 minutes. I’m the lucky one, the chap next to me is tubed up for 6 hours! I’m disconnected from the pump and given an ice lolly (I get a rocket lolly). This is not for being a good boy it’s to restrict the blood flow to the mouth because I get a mega dose of a drug that, as the medication courses around my body, can cause serious damage to my mouth and gums. I can taste it and it’s revolting.
Almost done (name, D.O.B, 1st line of my address). I’m disconnected from the pump but another pressurised container (PresCo) is connected to my implant that slowly pumps the revolting flavoured drug into my body over the next 46 hours. Various tubes, clamps and regulators are taped across my chest. I didn’t sign up for chest waxing but it’ll all fall out eventually. (name, D.O.B, 1st line of my address), I’m given a bag full of must take, should take, may need to take drugs. I remind them that I need a community prescription and the necessary stuff to remove my PresCo. I’m given a final check and I’m sent on my way. This whole process, with waiting time about 4 hours.
On the way home I call the GP surgery (name, D.O.B, 1st line of my address), to make an appointment for my routine blood test prior to Day 13 of the cycle. (You’re 17th in the queue)
I get home and due to my vague capacity to take my medication correctly I set up my pill boxes. Morning, noon, evening, and night. 3,2,2,1 for 3 days, 2,1,1,1 for the next 4 days then 2,1,1,0 for 7 days.
Day 2. No intervention but I have to carry my PresCo around with me Kinks style, “All day and all of the night”.
Day 3. The community nurses arrive to remove the PresCco (name, D.O.B, they know my address), 15 minutes later they're gone.
Days. 4 to 13. No intervention. Just keep taking the drugs.
Day 14, Morning blood test then at about 10:40 I have a phone consultation in preparation for the next merry-go-round.
I also have to keep up my side of the bargain.
1. Organise fortnightly blood tests
2. Double check medication, community prescription for PC removal
3. Take the pills
4. Use moisturiser on hands and feet at least once a day preferably morning and night.
4. Look after my diet.
5. Take the pills (don’t get angry, it’s a steroid side effect)
6. Stay active
7. Fit kitchen, slowly.
8. Sleep when I need it even if it is during a visit. Going to bed is always best.
9. Keep excellent oral hygiene, mouth ulcers are a real threat. (some people get hospitalised)
10. Don’t tire myself out too much in the first 5 or 6 days when my chemo is at its most powerful
11. Take the pills
12. Speed up with the kitchen
13. Organise a 5 mile walk, weather permitting.
14. Write my blog updates
See! Nothing to it really.
Here's my proposed next walk,
Meet at Lerryn Carpark at 10am. Thursday the 29th October.