Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Temporary fix

Tuesday was a brilliant day.  You see everything is relative.  Two, possibly four years ago, if I had visited two hospitals in one day, had blood taken and a CT scan during which a cannula was inserted and dye put into my body, I probably would not have written that opening sentence.  So why the change?

For several days the swelling on my neck has grown.  On Monday both sides were affected together with my left shoulder.  My throat was constricting.  I think most people would find that disturbing if not frightening.  I didn’t think I could wait until the chemotherapy started on Thursday so my oncologist arranged for a prescription for steroids to be made up for collection by us on Monday from the hospital pharmacy, when we came in for the bone marrow procedure.

I know this is only a temporary fix but by this evening a lot of the pain had subsided, the tablet which was stuck in my throat had gone and the swellings had reduced by about one third.  I am ecstatic.  The swellings were pushing up into my jaw line so it was difficult to move my head.  I am writing this late at night on Tuesday and I think the effects of the steroids will mean I shall not sleep tonight but at least I don’t have to fear that my throat will close up altogether.  Of course, now I am hoping that the chemotherapy will continue the work as I know the steroid effect is not long-lasting.

Today I had blood taken by someone who was being overseen by a more experienced nurse and she didn’t get the needle properly inserted into my vein, but the older nurse just manipulated it slightly and the blood could be withdrawn.  Sometimes they have to find a new vein.  They were very apologetic but actually they had not caused me much pain so I told them about my bone marrow treatment the day before which was the least painful I had experienced.  They wanted to know who carried it out and when I told them, they said that the nurse was working in the next room but she would be pleased to learn of my comments as usually it is quite stressful.  I know I moan about the General and needless to say the parking was difficult, but I have had some excellent treatment this week.

Then it was off to the Nuffield for the CT scan.  There are quite a few different types of CT scans depending on which part of the body is to be looked at and not all require the patient to drink a liquid prior to the scan.  The practitioners were actually very competent and I didn’t have to have the cannula inserted into the back of my hand  (very painful) as has occurred quite frequently in the past – something else to be grateful for.

With all the different procedures going on, I hadn’t had the opportunity to consider my neck, but I suppose if it had been as painful as it had been recently I would have done.  By the time we reached home I was delighted that the swelling has reduced even if it  is just for a short time and relieved that a few more medical appointments were behind me.

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