25-Jun-2011 – We are never alone on the Roller Coaster! Good Luck Hilary!

25-Jun-2011 – We are never alone on the Roller Coaster! Good Luck Hilary!
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Turns out that being in hospital is like war…

long periods of mind-numbing boredom, interspersed with short bursts of equally mind-numbing terror.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Chemo.

It turns out I have “difficult” veins. I’ve always had this problem and am the bane of all IV-inserters’ professional lives. Yesterday I got in here by about 2pm and at 2:30, three different nurses had tried to put in a functioning IV into my arms and hands in four different places. On the fifth try, we got it to work, but the decision was made to surgically insert a veinous catheter which will have to stay in my arm for about a month. Until the next round of chemo.

That was fun, requiring a short surgical procedure during which I learned that I have a robust resistance to local anaesthetics. Great fun to be lying on a table, with them digging around 5 cm inside your upper arm, dodging important arteries, and suddenly they hit a part that the anaesthetic hadn’t found yet. Four tank-fuls of local anaesthetic later…Gah!

Oh, and no swimming for three weeks. I can lower myself into the pool, but I have to cover the bandage with plastic wrap and try not to get it wet. Fun fun!

This morning, I had another batch of water spiked with a large dose of anti-emetics, anti-histamines and various drugs that are meant to protect the stuff chemo drugs attack and that I need to keep. This kind of chemo kills the cancer but also the cells lining the bladder, and the kidneys and the brain, so as I’ve been having the IV drips of the deadly stuff, I’ve been given small doses of “antidoto” in the form of pills that dissolve in a glass of water to stave of “neurotoxicity”.

I realise they have to tell you these things to keep you up with “informed consent” but really, there are a few things I might be better off not worrying about. They know the signs to watch for and are so attentive that I’m growing in confidence.

Today we had to wait seven hours for a surgical expert to come to insert the “pic” and the next bag of poison was delayed. I am just about finished the second batch, cisplatin, and am having mannitol as a chaser to keep my kidneys from failing. There is a gaggle of nattering Italian ladies chattering away all at the same time, clustered around my roommate’s bed, and I am torn between being slightly jealous of their customary stick-togetherness, and relief that I don’t have to be pestered all day by crowds of relatives. Such an Anglo misanthrope, me!

Every time the nurse comes in and hooks me up to another plastic bag of clear liquid, I ask the same thing: “Che cos’è?” One of the nurses is obviously becoming annoyed by my obsession with knowing exactly what and how much poison they’re pumping into me. When they hooked up the Mannitolo, I asked again, and she said that it’s just “the protocol. The doctor esplain it all!” From now on I will just crane up and read the label upside down and quietly type the name into Google.

The nurse has just come and added another one to the ever-growing stack of plastic bags and bottles of incredibly toxic substances on the little table in the room, all waiting to go into my arm. At the other end of the table, the roommate’s six female relatives are clustered around a little portable DVD player watching home videos. (The three men are all chatting in the hall outside the door.)

There is always something slightly surreal about medicine.

Oh by the way, a little note for people planning on getting cancer in Italy, don’t get it in the summer. The Gemelli doesn’t have air conditioning. I got a friend to bring over a fan (and the weather has not yet reached the Terrifying Italian Summer-On-The-Sun tipping point where even a fan at full blast ten inches from your face is no relief) but I can’t imagine what everyone else is doing. Sweltering I guess. The procedure room where I had the surgery was at least ten degrees hotter than my room. I can’t understand how they manage it, but I’m a northern Celt and we don’t do hot weather.

More gruesome details as events warrant.

H

~

1 comments:

Greg_L-W. said…

Hi, but isn’t chemo fun!!! I’ve been playing this game for 13 years and I’m still here annoying people! I finished chemo 2 weeks ago and so far I won the race – they are killing the cancer faster than they are killing me THEY THINK so now it is on to 20 hits of radiotherapy starting on the 11th. I’m also on Cisplatin but my chaser is Gemcetabine. I hope you don’t mind I just nicked your article WITH LINKS and put it on my health site at: http://GregLW.blogspot.com – you may care to link to help others on The Roller Coaster! One way to safeguard a PICC Line is to use cling film – to bathe or shower! Have an immense amount of fun! Regards, Greg_L-W.
To view the original article and maybe trace others CLICK HERE
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I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

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If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
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Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar. You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help.
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YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62
of: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com DO MAKE USE of LINKS & >Right Side Bar< Also:
Details & Links: http://GregLanceWatkins.Blogspot.com  
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07-May-2011 – good NOT TO HAVE THE FAILING NHS MANAGEMENT!

07-May-2011 – good NOT TO HAVE THE FAILING NHS

The logo of NHS Wales.Image via WikipediaMANAGEMENT!

Hi,

it is 08:30hrs. on Sunday morning and I’m showing signs of recovering from the damage that the utter incompetence of the management of the NHS in Wales was inflicting on me from Friday early evening until yesterday afternoon!

I was up on Friday morning after just on 4-4.1/2hrs. sleep and just as I was going to bed again tired I was called into the Royal Gwent just before 20:00hrs.

It took around 4 hours to ascertain I had a very low platelet count at 34 when petechiae was plain to see and recognise for anyone trained. It was also then apparent that anti biotics were required and the suggestion of a transfusion was made.

The decision was taken to watch and wait on the platelet count and decide based on a new set of bloods in the morning – they were taken and they showed a natural improvement in the platelet count to 39.

Still no anti biotics.

Due to crass and incompetent management no bed was found and I was forced to spend the night in a standard office chair in a side consulting office!

Not unsurprisingly I had no sleep whatsoever.


FINALLY more than 12 hours after I had come to The Gwent and the decision was made that I would have to stay a bed was found – that was 24 hours without sleep – not that it was due to unusual sleep times as I had got up at just after 09:00hrs.

The medical staff have been great up to Doctor level but then  above that in the food chain the system just collapses with more and more management and less and less results.

Read the YELLOW CARD and it is clear Velindre take the situation seriously yet clearly the Gwent’s management care little and do less. How can my treatment so far be seen as other than harming my survival chances which are pretty ropey anyway!

Eventually a porter is found and off we set on the great trek – what no ox waggon!

B6 is the Haematology Ward on the far side of the hospital off of the same staircase (same wing) as Maternity.

Here is the bed/room:

It looks very appealing after so long without sleep or food!

Unfortunately it is not a great deal of use as my petechiae is clearing and really all I want is to see the Consultant get my antibiotics and LEAVE.

There is absolutely no way this visit to hospital has been other than damaging to health and clearly as far as management is concerned the service is attrocious. They couldn’t run a bed and breakfast facility let alone a major hospital – it reflects the entire idiocy of the way Government is run with its massive over staffing, obscene feather bedding, Politically Correct crapology and over paying of top end staff – They are CLEARLY not fit for purpose and incapable of doing their job at any price!

Even were I staying the inconvenience of considering sleep starts with I have eaten nothing of any substance since Thursday as just as this started I was going for a shower before food and then to bed – That was yesterday afternoon!

Further since the room has no door (it is away being fixed!!) and is off of the main ward corridor – there would be little chance of sleep – particularly in view of the fact that the room is directly above the back road to service the hospital overlooking the dustbin / waste area, which is noisy.

You will note also that the sunlight is streaming in and consider how lightweight thin curtains would fail to help!

It is now 11:00hrs. and I’m waiting to see the Consultant in the knowledge that the pharmacy shuts at 12:00hrs. until Monday!

Do enlighten me in what way can my visit to The Gwent be seen as anything but seriously deleterious to my health!

It is no fault of the staff I have seen and it is entirely unfair of their employers to leave them to deal with my very rational and presented anger at such a level of utter incompetence on the part of the management of the NHS in Wales.

Is the aim to kill patients to make savings?

I still have not seen a specialist in this field – I have seen no Oncologist nor a qualified Haematologist – that the service is so far supplied by variously experienced nurses – whose only ranking is to all look like cleaners in their new and hugely costly uniforms all colour coded for insiders and the hell with the patients!

WHAT IS WRONG with a simple block of embroidered badge saying >STAFF NURSE< or >WARD SISTER< or >NURSE< or >HEALTH CARER< or even >CLEANER<
Too simple I guess when EVERY uniform has an embroidered badge showing they are NHS Wales in two languages – I just might have twigged that but what competence are the different colours?

I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar. You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help.
.
YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62

07-May-2011 – 02:30hrs. MAU NEWPORT! Well I’ve Seen The Doctor!

07-May-2011 – 02:30hrs. MAU NEWPORT! Well I’ve Seen The Doctor!
Hi,
well having come in at about 20:00hrs. Finally all tests done cultures etc. and the results are back and FINALLY, although I knew I was doomed to stay, I have JUST seen the Doctor.

02:30hrs. and I have actually seen someone qualified in my field!

They have however finally cleared the waiting room:

A young lass who gave her name as Minna, probable Persian or Arab (actually Iraqi/Pakistanni parents), pleasant and as with all other treatment I have had she was thorough.
I gather my platelets are down to 34 – The Consultant Haematologist has been suitably woken/annoyed ;-).
The action plan is put me onto an anti biotics for the possible infection, seemingly from the mouth/teeth as clearly the imune system is somewhat stuffed and having trouble coping with the normal infections that flourish in the mouth!!!
As for transfusing, since the normal range of platlets is around 150,000 to 300,000 expressed as 150 to 300 and mine are now down to 34 the plan is to leave well alone for the rest of the night (what little exists) keeping a watching brief and then do a full set of bloods in the morning.
Once the new bloods are through then the decisions will be made!!!
Meanwhile back at the ranch and they are trying to find me a bed – that will no doubt keep half a dozen managers occupied! I gather I MAY get a bed but failing that they will put me on a trolley.
This is in the NHS where in Wales the blithering idiots in the so aptly named National ass for Wales have squandered £1Billion of health service money.

I note even the discredited half wits in the Welsh Lib. Dims. stated in their election leaflet:

Labour and Plaid are wasting a staggering £1Billion in our NHS.
They’ve wasted money shuffling bureaucrats around instead of focusing on the real problems.
This money should have been spent on healthcare – wasting it is a disgrace.

Not least of the stupidities has been rebadging The Gwent area NHS from the meaningless Glan Hafran Trust to the even more foolish Aneurin Bevan Trust – rebadging EVERYTHING – so just imagine the cost of that.

They have even produced an entirely new uniform for all the nurses right across Wales – they are ugly beyond belief!

Imagine a nurses uniform top that is firstly too short for the width of all too many of the nurses!
Secondly what idiot would design a nurses uniform that could ONLY be removed over the head!

This of course is prone to destroying any effort they may make to have a hair style, but far more concerning, do the idiots who designed them expect nursing staff to cut their way out and throw them away if they become contaminated with let us say blood, faeces or vomit!

Did anyone do any joined up thinking?
I am also aware that many of the nurses have found the new fabric used causes rashes.
The NHS quite clearly, like so much else in the over blown and over pasi public sector Kleptocracy of QUANGOs needs root and branch pruning reducing the useless levels of management and political nere do wells and apparatchicks by at least 50% to start with.
How can we expect a decent health service when it is dragged to its knees, not by medical requirements but management incompetence and political interferrence.
Oh well I gather I am considered quite unwell – it is astonishing that after 4 hours sleep last night I was awake at about 09:30hrs. And it is 03:00hrs. And still no bed.
The medical side jumps through all the hoops and delivers to the best of the equipment and manpower available.
Yes there ARE more managers feeding off of The NHS than there are beds – it is those excessive managers who believe that the best way to improve the service is to pay ever higher salaries, perks and pensions to managers and fund it by out sourcing basic secretarial services to Indian companies via Irish sub contractors – you couldn’t make it up could you!
OK no bed is likely to be available but they can give me a trolley in the open trolley bay!
I wonder how many wards the managers have closed this weekend to fund their salaries and pension contributions.
We have decided that since bloods will probably be somewhere around 05:00hrs. to 06:00hrs. I’ll stay in this consulting room and if very tired I can doze!
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar. You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help.
.
YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62