The Lost Days – Thursday

It is not easy to sleep with two arms which are awkward and not comfortable.  It is also difficult as typically in the middle of the night, the scary thoughts come back and all sorts of scenarios play out, including some pretty scary diagnoses.  It is also difficult to sleep with the thought of another scary infusion session to start the day and the possibility of another vein hunt.

So I was still pretty tired and anxious when the time came to head back to the clinic on Thursday and face the next stage.

My appointment was schedule for before the first patient – partly to get the next infusion in promptly and partly so minimise my contact with other patients in the waiting room.

The Dr and I were both fairly quiet as the arm was unwrapped and the IV area examined.  I was willing the line to be open and was very relieved with the Dr said she had been able to flush it.  Again though, it closed in the few moments between preparation and infusion. I lay there, eyes closed, willing it to free, imagining the blood coursing and flowing.  I know it sounds crazy but it is hardly going to do any harm, is it?  Desperate times call for any desperate measure.

Finally it worked and the infusion slowly fed in and my arm all wrapped up again.  My chest and breathing were also checked and I found it a little uncomfortable to inhale deeply, my breath catching a little and my chest feeling a little irritated.   It was time to head back to the lab after checking four or five times what time I was to return in the afternoon.  My brain is having problems retaining details and 3 o’clock was a particularly hard one to grasp.

This was my first visit to the lab when I knew that they were not going to stick a needle in me!  Although I didn’t want to tempt fate, I could not imagine that an X Ray could possibly require needles!  The Lab reception staff met me with the greeting of “Oh Complete Blood Count” and were surprised when I handed them a different referral form.

With Twang Arm in charge and right arm immobilised and now pretty tender and sore it was another challenge getting prepared for the X Ray.  The Radiographer had plenty of opportunity to puzzle over my scar and before long was asking questions.  “Was it a biopsy?”  (A biopsy???????  A scar and lesion that big????), what was the diagnosis (err – all on the referral form) and treatment?  (also on the referral form) and which site was having the chemotherapy??  (try to explain systemic treatment as opposed to localised….).  So maybe I have learned quite a lot in this whole experience.  Glad I can share it!

After the X Ray and a short wait to make sure the image was clear enough to analyse I was free to head home – and I was well in need of a lie down and my morning nap.  Being unwell and the antibiotics were making me really tired, so the best thing is to spend the time horizontal.

I don’t remember much between then and time to head back for infusion 3, but that is probably because I was dreaming for most of the time. We dropped off at the Lab, picked up the X Ray and report and headed back to the clinic.  Red alert – there were children in the waiting room so I was ushered out of the clinic and asked to go and wait downstairs.  It is such a thoughtful and careful environment – the Dr and her PA think of everything and do not want me to run any added risks.  Another example of how extremely fortunate and well cared for I am.

Soon enough, the children had been seen, I was back in the clinic and handed over the huge envelope to the Dr.

She spent a few minutes looking at the images and report.

“I thought I heard a bit of a rattle”, she said!

I had no idea what that meant. She explained.  I was stunned to hear the word “pneumonia”.  Stunned and pretty scared.  However I was a quickly reassured by her analysis.  Pneumonia is treatable, and more importantly, treatable by the GP, although of course Dr W2 would be closely involved in the treatment path.  Additionally, it meant that this infection was not a complex or obscure (or difficult to treat) infection.  There are clear treatment protocols and guidelines for chemo patients with pneumonia, as well as the immense experience of my two wonderful Drs .

So that was the “good” news.   Now it was time to see if the IV line was going to cooperate enough for the next infusion. I could see the Dr looking at my legs again……..  The experience was almost identical the morning – it seemed to work, then clot, and finally with a lot of persuasion it finally allowed the infusion to run.  Again I closed my eyes and imagined everything running smoothly and the Dr said she was also willing it hard to work!

However we knew that the chances of the IV line lasting much longer were very slim.  The Dr said it would come out in the morning irrespective of whether it worked or not.  The fact that the leg would be used was unsaid, but very much on the minds of us both.

Again I was all wrapped up and headed home, arm throbbing and aching and feeling pretty awkward.

Time for a nap. And so to bed.

And that was pretty much what I remember of Thursday – the second lost day.

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