Friday, 30 December 2011

Hospital Observations

Where the hell do random thoughts come from?

Yesterday I had a little excitement thrown into my dull as ditchwater hospital routine...They told me I could forego the dreaded bed bath and have a shower. Of sorts. When they say have a shower, what they actually mean is they transfer you to this flat waterproof bed and they pour water all over you from a shower that has practically no water pressure. So picture me on top of a giant blue lilo with sides, on top of a supermarket trolley and you're getting the picture. Anyway, off I went on said lilo to the wet room at the end of the corridor.

Once you've got used to baring your modesty to one and all (which let's face it, for us girls, is usually in childbirth), a lying down shower instead of a bed bath is pretty much a five star luxury. So I have my shower, flat on my back and the feeling of hot water running all over me and being able to wash my two week tangled hair was pretty damn good. Relaxed and good to go was how I felt.

So where on earth, when the nurse said she was popping out to grab some towels, did this come from.... I looked up to the ceiling, saw an air vent above me and into my head popped this... if a swarm of bees came through that vent, would I lie dead still, shut my eyes, cover my nose and mouth with my hand and hope they didn't attack me? ....OR... would I sit up slightly, reach out for the Emergency cord that, lying flat was just out of my reach, and risk them attacking me due to unexpected movements? You can see my dilemma. Play dead and hope for the best, or risk attack by moving and calling for help. It was very real you know.

But that's not all... the image of playing dead just led me straight on to this equally ridiculous scenario .....Shit, I thought, I'm lying here on a trolley (gurney or whatever you want to call it), complete with channel along the side of the matress part with outlets at the end to let the liquid escape (in this case water, but could be blood), in a white sterile room all on my own. I could be on a slab in the mortuary, waiting for the coroner while he sharpens his knives ready to perform the postmortem. It was very real; I was there, on that cold slab, just waiting for him to make his entrance, for more than a few moments, I can tell you.

When the nurse came back in I actually heard myself say the words "I'm so glad you're back, it's really scary in here". God knows what she must have thought.

I want to know what the heck leads to these totally random thoughts that just pop into my head from nowhere, just when I'm feeling pretty damn laid back.

Tell me the truth - am I just really weird?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Don't Google 'Snoodle' ....
there are some things you might never want to know

I can't quite remember how it came up. The word snoodle.
But it went something like this.
I have a relentless yearning to get another dog and somewhere I heard of a dog which was a cross between a Schnauzer and a Poodle, which I thought sounded rather cute, but I didn't know what it was called.
That's where Google, or Paul (my personal Google, when I'm not near the computer or if I'm feeling lazy) comes in so handy. Taking an educated (or as it turned out, not) guess, I thought the dog may be called a Snoodle. Shame I got it wrong cos it's actually  called a  Schnoodle- the dog that is
You have been warned, or maybe you've already been there, done that (if you're a bloke)...

Of course if I'd asked my personal Google, I may have got a whole different answer......

Friday, 5 August 2011

See Saw, Majorie Daw..

What does he mean when he says "I want to be 100% sure"?
100% sure the tumour hasn't come back, or 100% sure it has come back?
'He', is the surgeon, who just a few hours ago turned the camera on me, or should I say in me? Don't you know that's my job Doc Derry? I take the pictures round here.

It's that time of year again. Twice a year, pack a bag, take a deep breath, and do a last minute deal with God, yourself or whoever will listen, that you really will stop moaning about the little things this time, just as long as the exploratory check up shows that you're still in the clear.

Its four years now since they found and removed the tumour.
This is pretty much how it went when they told me....

Bad news... It wasn't as cyst as we'd hoped. It's a tumour.
Oh shit.

Good news...we found it early, so it hasn't spread. We'll whip it out next week.
Fantastic. (I'm saying fantastic 30 seconds after being told I have a tumour? Amazing how your perspective changes in an instant.

Bad news... It's a grade 3, that's an aggressive type. It's quite likely to come back.
Oh shit, not so good then.

Good news... It's enclosed by four layers of muscle wall so long as we do regular check ups, it shouldn't spread even if it does come back.
That's good?
It may come back?
Shit, that's bad.

See Saw, Majorie Daw is pretty much how it's been over these past four years. A load of ups and downs.
Tumour out (See), treatment of live BCG (tuberculosis) IN my body (Saw).
Six months normal life, followed by invasive check up and hospital stay every six months.
And so on....

But mostly it's been more ups than downs as I've been well all this time and Doc Derry has pronounced me clear of any reoccurrence at every check up. Until today.

I went into theatre this morning, naturally a little anxious and apprehensive - nothing new there. But soon as I saw my lovely anaesthetist, Dr Willie Sellers, I felt at more at ease. He has a wonderful bedside manner and has been present at every cystoscopy I've had since diagnosis. We chat about our kids, music, food, drugs, travel, anything really to keep my mind off other thing and he's a real good guy. Gives me just a tad of sedation (sometimes none) and humours me every minute of the horrible invasive procedure.
Today he even let me put my own drugs through the needle thing (canula?) that he'd just stuck in my hand. Apparently that's a first in Theatre Two.
Big needle in my hand.

Then I'm on the operation table in theatre - it's quite weird being awake in theatre and you can really see what goes on. Today they were chatting about Willie's tasty flapjacks that he'd baked and brought in and politely mentioning that next time he might want to use rice paper to bake them on, as the greaseproof paper which had stuck to them wasn't very tasty. Oh and his daughter is getting married in Hackney next month. And yes, I am on christian name terms with Dr S.

Brief interruption from writing now, as dinner has arrived. Well I say dinner, it's 5.15 in the afternoon for god's sake. What's dinner doing here? And more to the point, do you call a measly wafer-thin tuna sandwich and two crackers with 20grams of cheese dinner? I don't. That's afternoon tea. But I'll save it for later as I suspect there's nothing more coming till tomorrow morning.

So, back to theatre, they are still chatting about the greaseproof paper not being very digestible, and then one by one they go a bit quiet and are all looking at the monitor. This is the bit where you wish you'd had a general anaesthetic and were oblivious to any ominous blobs on a monitor. After a pause, he told his theatre staff that he was going to take two biopsies.
So, as I was awake I asked him if he'd seen anything nasty.
This is the bit where he didn't say there was another tumour, but he didn't say there wasn't. He hummed and ha'ad while looking down his microscopical camera lens and then back at the monitor and said:
"I just want to be 100% sure". and that's pretty much all I got out of him.
But I'm thinking 'does he want to be 100% sure of what he suspects (that the tumour has come back), or does he want to be 100% sure that it hasn't come back'. But I got no more out of him other than the biopsy results take a week and so if I hadn't heard from him by this time next week to assume it's good news. A week eh, won't be looking forward to answering the phone then.

So the big question is, right now am I a glass full, or a glass empty kind of a girl?
Don't he infamous 'they' say your frame of mind is supposed to have an effect on the Big C?
There now, I almost said it.

I won't be going home today, as having the biopsies means an overnight stay with about two litres of fluid an hour being dripped through my body. Not to mention breakfast at five thirty am.
Come to think of it, I'll probably be well up for it by then.

Drip, drip, drip, two litres and hour. And a room with a view. What more could a girl ask for.

Monday, 1 August 2011

I'd like a Leica, but if not,
one of those nice new TVs'll do...

We found ourselves in John Lewis in Kings Rd today, for no other reason than to get out of the heat and have a bite to eat. But although the view from the sixth floor cafe is pretty spectacular, a chicken sandwich was a whopping £8.95, so we wandered down to the fourth floor camera department, going past some pretty massive flat screen TVs on the way, one of which I commented didn't have a very good picture for the price tag of just under 2 grand. Paul laughed, but as he laughs at most things I say, I didn't find it particularly unusual.

After ruling out buying a Leica and its cheaper Panasonic cousin we headed out past that aforementioned blurry TV. Paul stopped me, handed me some plastic glasses and although I realised what was coming, I didn't realise what was coming. 

When you get to my age, there's not really that many totally new and mind-blowing new things left to experience. Laugh if you must, but I have never seen a 3D film, never been to one, seen a clip, or worn those funny glasses. Bloody hell - WOW, WOW, WOW, it is a total new dimensional experience, if there's such a thing. There was a part when the footballer kicked the ball 'out' of the TV and I instinctively ducked. And a man walked in front of me right through some snowflakes that were drifting in my direction. Good God, no wonder babies are born with blurred vision; imagine if you came from the dark womb to full blown colour 3D. You'd pop straight back in.

The only downside of the whole experience was when the lift arrived to go downstairs, a woman stepped out thinking it was the sixth floor, so I said to her that she could always stay on the fourth floor and take a look at the amazing 3D TVs. I was still quite giddy from the whole experience. She looked at me quite disdainfully and said without a hint of humour, "I've already got one" and stepped back in the lift.  There's your Sloane Ranger right there. She was probably heading to the sixth floor for that £8.95 chicken salad sandwich!
I had to suppress my smirk, when she got back in the lift, which proceeded to descend to the ground floor. Duh, not so smart now, are you lady?