Wow what a marathon yesterday turned out to be. It felt very long!
As you've seen from yesterdays blog I had a fantastic morning with Andrea and the boys, and the transfusion of the first unit of blood started not long before they left.
That all went fine and was complete by probably about 2 o'clock with no adverse reaction.
Before commencing any treatment the nurses check the cannula in my hand which is how they feed everything into me. They do this by injecting some saline solution into the cannula and making sure they have a good flow, with no pain or leaks.
A check of the cannula before the antibody treatment began showed that the one I had was leaking and as they can't afford to get the chemotherapy drugs on the skin or into anything other than directly into a vein, it was decided that I needed another cannula fitting. This was probably about 3.30.
A wait ensued whilst a doctor could be found to do the job. The nurses often do it but one of my fellow patients on the unit is going through a very rough time so they have their work cut out and I'd rather they concentrated on those that need it. The poor soul has had ITU staff and senior consultants in attendance for the last couple of days so sounds in a bad way. It's a reminder that so far I have been lucky and how things can change so I'm keeping my whits about me.
A junior doctor turned up about 4 and promptly began the process to cannulate my left hand to replace the cannula in my right. It helps to alternate hands and give them a rest for a few days as the cannulas normally last 3-4 days depending on use.
Well the poor girl really struggled and she poked and prodded my veins for half an hour without success in drawing blood and I have to say it was bloody uncomfortable at times. I do actually have good veins which are clearly visible and stand out like train tracks when they apply the tourniquet so she had plenty to aim at!
After two false throws she thought she'd had success with her third dart and a small flush of saline appeared to go in OK, if a little slowly.
Thankfully the nurse that came to prepare me for my treatment later did the same and to our alarm my hand started swelling. The junior doctor had clearly missed the spot again and the cannula was injecting into my flesh rather than a vein, which could have been rather nasty!
A call went out for her to come back and try again and I sat waiting for another hour dreading the sight of the same doctor returning. Just before 6pm I was relieved to see the familiar face of Johannes, one of the registrars that has been dealing with me since my admission, at the door carrying the tray full of utensils to do the job.
I told him if the left hand was difficult, to take the old cannula out of my right and go for it there again, which he duly did. Good man, he hit the bulls eye with his first shot and relief was felt all around.
After my Macaroni Cheese supper my treatment finally began about 6.30 and was the same stuff I had last Saturday over the course of 5 hours. Thankfully, because I'd had no reaction last week they were able to increase the rate to virtually maximum from the off, and maxed it out after a short time. It still took till 10pm though and then I had to have another half hour of saline to flush the line through and get all the good stuff inside me.
So I'd spent much of the day laid on my bed and by this time my legs were itchy and irritable. I was glad to get up and about at last and made a few trips to the kitchen to stock up the fridge in my room with goodies and stretch my legs a little.
Thank God for the WiFi service and Sky Go that I was able to watch my beloved Leeds Rhinos progress to the next stage of the Super League play offs and I hope my shouting at the laptop screen enthusiastically didn't disturb the other patients too much.
All I have planned today is the second unit of blood for my transfusion, so I have my afternoon and evenings TV viewing planned. Before then I'll be Skype-ing Andrea and the boys to get a match report from Tom on his second game of football and Sam on his mornings rugby training.
Then I have a few days rest with no more steroids and no more chemo until Thursday so hopefully things will remain as they are. Still feeling fit and strong and my spirits are as good as they've ever been. I'll let the nurses look after those that are more in need than me and I wish my fellow patient all the best in turning things around.
Thanks again for reading.