Saturday, 13 February 2010

Pre-transplant procedures

We came back last evening from the Royal Marsden where many of the important pre-transplant procedures were carried out. On Wednesday I had a PET scan after which about 9 vials of blood were taken for testing. I had an ECG and chest X-ray to confirm I was fit enough for the central line insertion after before going to talk to a doctor. By this time I was starving – nil by mouth because of the scan – but staff brought sandwiches and hot drinks to the doctor’s office for Ray and me. I was totally exhausted with all the procedures plus lack of food and drink but fortunately we did not have to drive back home. Staying at Jonathan’s meant only a short journey and everything was done for us and they were both so welcoming.

The following day, Thursday, we had to reach the Marsden by 8.30 a.m. Again nil by mouth but this time I had to prepare for the central line insertion and the bone marrow aspiration. One of the theatres was not in use so we had a long wait and I was getting so thirsty. At first I wasn’t sure whether I would have to have another general anaesthetic but it was decided I should have a couple of locals and sedation. I was very relieved as it takes me so long to get over a general anaesthetic and I can’t afford to be too unwell in the days leading up to hospital admission.

As I wasn’t taken to theatre until after 2.00 p.m. Ray had my lunch but once I was out of theatre I had the usual problem with my low blood pressure so I didn’t get back to my room for a while. Fortunately, they had an on-call meals service and my really nice meals officer, Darius, promised me he could do me an omelette in 8 minutes. I don’t know how much reviving tea I drank but I needed every drop. To be honest this procedure of the central line insertion was the one I had been dreading most. Then I was taken by wheelchair to have an X-ray to ensure the line was in the correct place. The corridors were so clean and shining; it was amazing.

The other amazing aspect which I had also noticed the day before, was that the X-ray waiting room was empty and contained only 6 chairs. I went straight in, no waiting. Can you ever imagine that happening in Southampton? Soon it was time for dinner and I had ordered this earlier, not really thinking I would still be there. I was able to leave at about 7.30 having received reassurance that the line was inserted correctly and we were back at Jonathan’s by 8.00 p.m.

The following day the line was flushed and checked and we were able to come back home. Everyone was very friendly, busy and efficient so I have much more confidence now. My platelet count and blood pressure are still low and I won’t be able to do half of the things I should before I go in but perhaps I am not going to be able to wrap up my life nicely and tidily – perhaps my life will go on as untidily as everyone else’s.

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