Warning-If you are/have been/ about to eat. Then maybe leave reading this til later. I will not think any less of you dear
May 15th 10:45.
I have chosen my chair to sit in, in the chemo dept. I have a hot drink to my left and have been in conversation with the chemo nurses. This all looks good to the outsider. What gives the situation away is the fact that nurses have been contacting wards and telling me that I will be admitted in about 40 minutes!
What is going on you may ask? Well to answer this, we need to go all wobbly, use echo effects and go back it time time time time time.
It was decided that after all the crap of the year so far, we would spend a week in Cornwall at SJ’s Mums. Not only to get away from it all, but also I was not sure (after chemo) when I would be able to drive there again. What with it being a 280 mile trip an all.
6th May I drove to Chesterfield and joined the band up there and we played The Anti War gig arranged by the wonderful Chris Parsons. I drove back after the gig and arrived back home at 2:30am. After a few hours shut eye, we then drove down to Cornwall. This is around 640 miles in just over 24 hours, but I felt fine.
The first few days in Cornishland were fine. Then on the Thursday night, I HAD to go to bed at 9pm. I just collapsed. Although SJ and I managed to get out on Friday morning for a round of Adventure Golf (where I retained my crown, competition overrides illness) at Holywell Bay, I was still not feeling great. Again, I had an early night and by Saturday, I could not get up and apart from trying to eat when I had no appetite that is where I stayed.
It was thought that I had a sugar overdose. Due to the fact that Chemo was imminent and there was a chance that my taste buds would ‘go goose’ I foolishly over indulged on the sweet stuff and enjoy the taste while I could.
The sugar OD made perfect sense and although I was worried that chemo could be cancelled due to my high blood sugar, it was thought that this condition would last 3 days at most. SJ wanted to call a doctor, but I did not want the chemo put in jeopardy (ahh Mr Hindsight rears his head again).
I managed to drive back on the Sunday. I was tired, but feeling better than the previous day. By the time I got home I collapsed, which wrote off the rest of Sunday.
Monday afternoon was to be my pre chemo meeting at the QE. I was still tired and I had noticed a slight swelling where I had had my drain put in, but nothing to seemingly worry about. I mentioned to the nurse that I think I had overdone the sugar intake a few days before, but I was fine apart from that, but she said that the chemo could still go ahead, which relieved me obviously.
The thing with chemo is that you have to be pretty fit to have it, as your immune system takes a holiday. But I assumed I was fine.
So, it is chemo day. I was still tired and had hardly eaten for days, but I did not foresee a problem. That is until I saw my chest. The swelling had gone from slight to bubonic plague size tennis ball (without the rats and bringing out of dead) and the surrounding area was as red as a red thing that is very red indeed. When I got to the Chemo Dept, I (understatement alert) thought I better mention it. I was taken into a side room where a doctor looked at it and said that I would need to be taken to a ward. The area where I had the mastectomy had become infected big time. Due to the fact that the drain had fallen out after my last op, I had to have the area drained a few weeks ago. Thanks to my diabetes, there would be the chance of an infection and that is what came to pass.
If I was not so out of it, I may have been concerned. The Chemo nurses sat me in the Chemo room and I waited to be transferred to ward 19. I of course gutted that I my chemo would have to be cancelled, but I felt so groggy now, I just wanted to lie down. When I got to the ward, I was taken for an ultra sound to see how much gunk was in my chest. Once she saw how much was there, she thought she could drain it out, but after a number of needles going into my armpit, this proved futile.
Once back on the ward, it was explained that I was to have an operation to drain it all out and get rid of the abscess that had appeared.
So it seems that me thinking my condition was sugar related was a curve ball. The reason I had been feeling so bad was because I had a lot of crap going around my body.
They wanted to get me down to the theatre (my dears) ASAP but despite the best efforts, from my admittance at 1pm Tuesday until 7am Wednesday, I had still not gone under the knife. There was concern as my blood sugar was going haywire (strange expression, must look up its origins some time) due to the fact that I had been nil by mouth for at 18 hours and had hardly eaten for days anyway.
So…around the aforementioned 7am, I was awoken by a nurse who said that I was a bit wet near the infection and that I should have a shower. I suggested that I would have a shower after the operation, but she was insistent. This is where nurses come into their own. If she had said what was really happening it would have caused absolute panic in me. What she really meant was “Your infection has burst and there is pus and goo running down your body, soaking the bed and worse of all the smell is like the smell of death and you stink Harper!!” I will be forever grateful for her subtly. I went to the shower and saw the damage. This stuff was pouring out of me like a tap. I could see the hole and there was an orrible sucking type noise as it came out. Must admit dear reader, I was shitting myself now and felt faint. The nurse was outside (again making the minimum of fuss and making it seem that this was not unusual) and guided me to the bed where she patched me up and drained an amazing 300 ml!
Poor SJ attempted to take home my pants that I was wearing during my own personal Chernobyl and said that even though they were wrapped in a hospital bag, the smell was the worst smell she had ever witnessed and this coming from someone who used to commute for years. She compared it to The Bog of Eternal Stench from the film Labyrinth.
More on this soon, but needless to say it may take up to six weeks before I now start Chemo.
In the words of Dexys ‘This is part one. Part two soon”
Anyway, let end on something appy