Last week we found out it was all systems go for the radioactive glass bead treatment to attack the tumours in my liver. The first stage of the treatment was on Monday and I won’t lie it was a bit scary for me.
A huge distraction process was organised over the preceding weekend with Saturday seeing us dressed up at the Goodwood Revival and Sunday saw us dashing to Yorkshire and back for a fun drive out. The distraction therapy worked, though in truth I was a bit poorly at Goodwood with a very loose bowel. It is simply awful using the public toilet facilities when you are like that. Anyway it got me over it and we all loved the day. We met up with Carl our son in law for the day and that further helped with the distraction process.
Inevitably though Monday morning came. I awoke with bowel issues again which worried me. We set off for The Churchill Hospital in Oxford at about 7.15. We needed to be there for 9 to get some blood samples done prior to reporting on the ward at 9.30.
The drive began well but closer to Oxford we took a different route which took us in on the A40 rather than the A44 we have favoured in the past. My stomach was in knots and hurt and I needed the toilet and then we hit stationary traffic on the A40 ten miles out. I was getting stressed, worrying about being late and knowing I needed the toilet. I was mentally and physically in a bad way. Peanut turned around cut across country and rescued the day by picking up the A44 and getting us back on track.
We arrived at 9.30. I asked at Bloods if I should check on the ward or just get my bloods done first. Bloods, she said. First though I needed the boys room. Ten minutes later I was much better – now I was merely stressed. You pick a number from a machine to take your place in the blood queue. It reminded me of taking a ticket at a posh delicatessen. It was efficient. I yanked off two numbers in error. More stress. Don’t worry said the nurse and I felt better. The Churchill Hospital has an air of calm about it. It emanates from the quiet efficiency that seems to pervade all elements of the care there. The doctors and nurses seem to have time for you. Things seem to get done when they say they will get done.
My tummy was better and my mood was better. My number was 66 we were up to 64 and two rooms were taking blood. This was good. I got called in quickly, but not before Peanut had rejoined me after getting the car parked, I was calmer with her by my side.
I asked the phlebotomist to use my left arm. I’m hard to bleed. Better veins in my left arm. She got blood in one attempt and I was happy.
Arm in arm we headed to the ward to check in. I was shown straight to my bed. Peanut pointed out it was in Area 51, as the photo above shows. What the hell did the CT scan reveal we pondered?
Now was the long wait, but at least we were there, checked in and good to go. I sat in the chair by the side of my bed and Peanut stayed with me while we waited. About two in the afternoon they thought. Meanwhile a reassuring efficiency surrounded me. A Doctor came to see me, not any Doctor, a very beautiful young Doctor. I liked that. A Radiologist came, not any Radiologist but the Superintendant Radiologist. Nurses checked my blood pressure regularly, not Health Care Assistants but a real nurse. Another nurse fitted a cannula. It wasn’t easy they succeeded on the fifth attempt. That’s a lot of “sharp scratch” before we had success. Then some fourth year students examined me after the beautiful Doctor had asked if they could. It was a given really.
The stethoscope came out. They tapped my chest and stomach, they prodded. Questions were asked. The time passed. I made my joke to them about Area 51. They laughed politely and I appreciated them for that.
Then they were gone and it was me and Peanut again. She gave me one of her special smiles. A smile that says a 1000 words and each word is special. Her smile empowers. I’m not alone doing this, it’s no longer a case of being brave it’s a case of being one half of a great team. Time to man up and do this for the both of us.
They came for me. Peanut would have to go now. I could not see her till the morning. She went to her daughter The Elf in Banbury. I kissed her goodbye and manned up.
Formula One fanatics wheeled my bed to theatre. A slight wait outside. But all very efficient. Clinically efficient. They wheeled me in and slid me onto a very hard operating table. Covers were draped over me. They gave me a mild sedative through the cannula. It stung slightly at first. This cannula was not my friend. There was prodding in my groin. Another “Sharp scratch.” It was sharp.
It felt uncomfortable but no more. I was very relaxed. I let myself drift in and out of sleep. It was easier that way as I had to stay very still.
From there I went for some kind of nuclear x Ray while they checked the small dose of radiation they had applied. It was done.
I was back on my ward and feeling a whole lot better than when I entered the hospital wracked with tummy cramps. I phoned Peanut to tell her all was good. I told her I love her like I meant it. I always mean it.
Cottage pie came. It was good. I had been nil by mouth from ten in the morning. The cottage pie was good.
Next day I had weetabix, porridge, fruit juice and tea for breakfast. I had another CT scan and then we were done. I had to stay at the hospital for twenty minutes after the scan, so we had a coffee and a pie.
We headed home. Part one of the glass bead therapy done. Mrs P at the wheel getting me home safe. The world is just fine.