Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Are you sitting comfortable... then I'll begin!

I've had a better day today, sickness wise. After a horrendous afternoon I rang the chemo triage nurse and got some different anti-nausea drugs, and although they didn't kick in until this morning, I did get a full a night's sleep after the vomiting ceased - there was, after all, nothing left to bring up!

So this morning I woke up to tea and toast, and took the pills, and didn't move for a half hour. That seemed to do the trick, and I managed to drive down to my mum's, go shopping for mouthwash (to prevent the dreaded ulcers) and seaband things, which I have to say are fab! I had a few visitors, and have even managed to eat dinner - so all in all, doing okay.

Monday was interesting. My dad took me this time, and stayed until after lunch when I got hooked up/plugged in. The line hurt this time, but not enough to warrant moving it, so eventually I learned to cope with it. Given that one of the woman opposite (P) was in agony despite tons of oralmorph(ine), it put my sore wrist into perspective.

Funny, all the different perspectives/attitudes of both patients and staff. Opposite me was J, a lovely 72 year old woman with cancer in about 3 organs, and she never stopped smiling - well maybe between bouts of vomiting, and when the doc said she couldn't go home, but otherwise she was as cheery as you get, and we had such a giggle. P was in pain, as I said, but still managed to join in with J and me as we tried to keep our spirits high - she hardly complained and it was me buzzing the staff every five minutes in the end on her behalf because she didn't want to be a bother! And then next to me, in my old bed from last time, was M who never stopped complaining! "I'm terminal," she kept saying, except she bloody well isn't at all! She had one tumour and it's already been cut out, and is on follow up treatment!!!

M did end up keeping us in fits of giggles if for all the wrong reasons. When dinner arrived she kept licking her lips and saying how wonderful the food was. "Better than Chester," she said. "That was awful." J screwed her face up to me, and said, "God help them there then!" and p winced the same reaction across through her spasms!

All M's stories began with such promise, and then ended on a downward spiral. There was baby talk, and comparisons of morning sickness, so M tells us she had 4 wonderful pregnancies, with not a hint of sickness. When she had her first, she told us, there was a girl opposite who had the most beautiful baby you ever saw. "I said to her, what a beautiful baby you have, and she started crying. Turns out she was only 11, a slapper full of make-up, and I wouldn't have minded but my baby looked like a chimp... ugliest thing you ever saw. She was bent double breech. You'll see her if she comes in later - still an ugly thing she is!" She went on to tell us about the fabulous family pony who came into the house and had carrots.... and then nearly killed her daughter! And then about the RSPCA who she gave money to for years for all the work they do... until she "found out they murder animals for no good reason!" Talk about material for a novel - eat your heart out!

By 4 pm I had everyone in my bay on ginger beer, and the sickness was abated for the most part. Sadly, lots of people had a diccie tummy, so the loos stank of god knows what, and everyone was vomiting. Lovely. But the ward was short staffed this time, and I thought they're going to kick me out if I keep this up! Later on, J, P and M, all complained about the night nurse - that demonic woman from last time. Apparently she made P cry, so it wasn't just me she didn't like. I'm afraid I made a complaint about her on all our behalves, even though P was so frightened and didn't want to be victimised. So I told the day nurse that too! Turns out the woman is a bank nurse, and that evening, no one was asked to leave a jug in the loo!

My friend, Sue, was also in again, who I met the first time. Once again her chemo got the better of her and she was brought in with a high temp and the most horrendous mouth ulcers that left her without any consonants. But she cheered up a little, and after 15 minutes or so, she was sitting up and we chatted for a while. It really helps, I find. You start off too sick to talk, but end up coming around a bit (well not always, but mostly! My friends say they'll leave me till I feel better, but I say no, come and then I will feel better! And if I'm screwed, so be it, but at least we'll have tried!).

I met Sue's lovely hubby and daughter too, and in the evening Sue, Michelle (who has same cancer as me) and I were up laughing and joking at ourselves; Sue talking with out consonants, me holding my arm with the pain from the Potassium drip (like fire in your veins), and Michelle all sick and nauseous! We said, "What on earth are we like?" A right old state.

But whatever.

Life goes on, and we're getting through it. We are 35, 38 and 39, and all have kids. And we're all trying to eat right, fight it with the meds, and the mind. And we'll do it.

I didn't take the sedative this time, which is probably why I was so sick yesterday, but my head is clear, and so it's worth it. Better one day of vomiting and a clear head, than a week of fuzzy brains. The nurse said it can react very badly with some people, so obviously I must be one of them. M, of course, adores the blue pills and wanted some to take home with her!

Have drawn my chemo-buddies for you. They make my tummy poorly but the pain in my shoulder abated after two hours of Cisplatin, and the feeling is returning to my left arm, so it is working!!! Hurrah!!! I love my chemo!

Righto. Knackered now, so off to lie down. First lie down of the day! If I feel okay tomorrow, am going to swim a bit, or if that's too easy, I'll tackle the Jacuzzi!


CTaylor said...

So glad you've got supportive and amusing women to share the experience with. I could be wrong but it sounds preferable to being in a room on your own having treatment - lots of distraction around you. You're doing great Lisa and your sense of humour and fighting spirit were never more apparent than in this post. You go girl! :o)

Lane said...

Well done for speaking on everyone's behalf about the demonic nurse cow.

I can't believe you can write a post so enthralling about chemo, but you have! Even in that situation you've got your writer's ears on and I can just picture M and poor Sue.

Well done for not taking the sedative. I hope the nausea eases and the drawing of your chemo-buddies is fab!

God bless ginger beer:-)

Annieye said...

Anyone who can write about chemo with such honest transparency and make it compelling to read as well gets full marks in my book.

I'm glad you're feeling well enough to write and your pain is abating.

Keep it up.

maresy said...

they say laughter is the best medicine, if I were ill, I am sure your writing would make me well, I am sure all your friends on the ward look forward to sharing their Mondays with you, what a ray of sunshine! keep smiling, and healing,you are doing wonderful!!
lots of love xoxo Marion

Ashley Ladd said...

I hope you're feeling better soon. Sorry to hear the chemo didn't settle well with you. But you have such a positive attitude and fighting spirit. My mom went through chemo and she was pretty lucky. Except for dry eyes, she said it didn't make her feel ill usually, and she could put up with dry eyes.

Being a writer, don't we always think of every situation, or just about every one, as fodder for a story? I know I do.

Keep up your chin and the good attitude.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

So glad it's all looking so positive. Less shoulder pain - that's what we want! And yay for sea bands!

Anonymous said...

You are very brave and have a wonderful positive attitude. My mother had all the sickness also. She had a terrible time with it all. I really admire you.x

hesitant scribe said...

ctaylor - it definitely helps if you can have a bit of a laugh, although it's a kind of prison camp raising of spirits, it must be said. Especially with everyone hurling, and looking awful, moaning in pain... You gotta laugh really as the alternative is just too grim for words!

lane - Am such a gobby cow! Just cannot help myself! God bless ginger indeed, and glad you like the sketch!

annieye - looking back over that post it is rushed and a bit garbled, but then that reflects the whole confusion the nausea causes I guess, so letting myself off!

maresy - thanks auntie! Am hoping my writing will make lots of people happy, especially when the novel is done at last! Now there's a goal to pursue.

ashley - chemo not so bad. There's others who are far worse than me so far! The sickness is the worst, but hey ho!

zinnia - oh yes. Sea bands are great, although the skin on my left arm has come back to life - a good thing - but is sooooo sore! So the wrist band is pretty painful, but better than the nausea, eh!

motherx - I feel for your mum, and glad she got through it, as I will no doubt! At least I've had lots of practice with two pregnancies and a lifetime of travel sickness, ha ha!