Friday, 16 July 2010

The Hickman Line is out

The Hickman Line is out but it wanted to stay in. I was glad I had an extra two shots of local anaesthetic, the previous four not being sufficient in such a delicate area since the line had settled into the flesh and a lot of pulling and twisting were needed to remove it. I studied the ceiling tiles but 35 minutes later it was gone.

All this took place in the Minor Procedures Suite at the Marsden where I had previously had my bone marrow biopsy. Cancer is something of a closed world. We all know about chemotherapy as a treatment but before we enter this world either as a patient or partner/carer, we are unaware of all the other treatments and tests which the patients undergo. All around me behind closed blue curtains other cancer sufferers were stoically facing pretty unpleasant procedures.

Behind or alongside so many of us cancer patients are our partners who sit with us and wait in interminable waiting rooms trying to lift our spirits, listen to and remember the advice from doctors and who drive us to our appointments when they are often tired. Those of us who are parents know how we would so much have liked to have exchanged places with our children when they were ill and when it comes to treatments, so often our partners would prefer to bear the pain themselves than watch us go through it.

It is Ray who fields the telephone calls, going into detail with true friends and relatives but fending off the merely curious. This week involved two return drives to the Marsden despite his being tired after coping with my sleeplessness resulting from my tortuously itchy skin. I am so glad he can balance things with running the courses and looking after the boat. Both provide opportunities for his other interests and talents plus encounters with people who are not cancer sufferers or medical staff. When we married all those years ago neither of us could have imagined the situation we would be in now but thankfully those good years have been excellent preparation.

The Hickman Line is out and that is one more milestone to recovery.

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