Posted by: glenswatman | February 22, 2012

20120111-21 SPAIN Post chemo problems

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SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY – John arrives with our new oil filled radiator, picked up at a neighbours sale for €5 (£4), had I realised he was walking with it I would have driven to pick it up but he doesn’t seem the least bit phased.  Claire & Malcolm also pop round so we all chat together whilst Steve tries to rest in the bedroom.  I figure he will get more peace if we go out so drive Claire & Malcolm to Mercadona car park where Eddie is parked up with the Aussie family.  They have one or two questions about how some things work but generally seem to be well settled.  I give them the fan heater in exchange for the convector and a few other things they have no use for.  We all head to Times Square where everyone has a good feed at the buffet.  Steve has asked me to be back before 2pm when he plans to go to the bar to watch Liverpool so I leave the others eating and head home.  No bar for Steve as he is being sick and only just about makes it to the sofa to catch the appalling match on line.  Suarez refuses a handshake then Liverpool loose abysmally.   Friend Paul comments on Facebook that Steve would have been much the same as people at the pub dashing for the loo to be sick!  Jen & Jeff have suggested a few remedies so I head to the pharmacy and pick up some electrolyte solution but they only have orange flavour and this in itself makes Steve feel sickly.  Claire & Malcolm call in late afternoon to say they have been out with Jeff & Jen showing them where to buy things.  Unfortunately Steve really isn’t up to company so they don’t stop long.

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SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY – It’s really cold outside, been down to freezing overnight, and not much warmer inside even with the 2 heaters in action.  Steve lingers in bed whilst I go round to ask the Aussies not to come round to see him.  Steve’s not eating much but when he says he fancies rice pudding I oblige by making one as the shops are all shut on Sunday.  He eats a bit and manages to keep it down.  In the evening his headache has receded enough for him to watch a bit of TV.  About 9pm he decides he fancies some cheese straws so back to the kitchen to bake a batch of which he eats just a few.

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MONDAY 13 FEBRUARY – John calls round to bring the frozen food that was taken out of Eddie when I had to race to hospital early last December.  I’ve almost forgotten what we had.  Claire & Malcolm arrive and I suggest a ride out as I want to pick up some ginger to help Steve’s sickness.  After visiting a few stores I have amassed ginger spice, ginger beer, ginger biscuits and most surprising of all crystallised ginger made by Buderim ginger in Australia.  It’s about 2pm when we are finished shopping and we are all hungry so Malcolm reckons another buffet at Time Square would not go amiss.  We get back around 4pm and Steve is up lying in the lounge but not very lively.  DREAM HILLS 7

TUESDAY 14 FEBRUARY – We have to make a 7am start to get to hospital for Steve’s blood tests.  He’s pretty queasy during the journey so it is no surprise when he comes out of the blood testing room in a wheelchair.   He looks terrible so we go to the clinic where we have an afternoon appointment.  By the time we get there he is worse so they put him to bed whilst Dr Rivas comes to see us.  She asks about the problem then half an hour later calls me in.  This morning’s blood test results were good but Steve is suffering post chemo effects and she sends us to the day clinic.  A porter wheels Steve along and at the clinic he is put into a proper bed.  We are surrounded by dozens of people, mainly in chairs, on an assortment of drips.  Every few minutes you hear an alarm go off to say one is finished so there is little peace to help Steve’s headache.  He is put on saline and a couple of small drip bags to help with the nausea.  His headache gets worse but when the nurse puts on a paracetamol drip he has a lot of pain in the vein of his arm, like a dry ice burning sensation.  She slows it down but the bottom line is Steve has to decide which pain he would rather have, the burn from the drip of the headache.  I had thought we would go out for a nice meal for Valentines but this was never much of a proposition with Steve feeling sick.  The whole thing ends up being a cup a soup lunch that they bring around for patients and visitors.  We leave late afternoon and Steve just curls up in the back seat of the car.  Neighbour Dave calls round to see if we want to buy a large pack of frozen bacon for €10, a good deal but with Steve eating so little we probably wouldn’t get through it. They’ve given us some anti nausea tablets and Steve takes the first at 8pm before settling down to try and sleep.

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WEDNESDAY 15 FEBRUARY – Neither the drips nor tablets have worked as well as expected and Steve has hardly improved.  Claire & Malcolm call round to use the shower and washing machine before heading off towards Murcia.  I’m afraid we haven’t been good company at all.  I mention the bacon and we agree to share a pack, I’m really surprised to see it has come from Stirchley in Shropshire.  Neighbour Dave is driving back to England today to sell his van as part of his packing up to leave Spain properly.  Steve gets up early afternoon and I head off to Aldi to complete his special requests for food.  Claire & Malcolm are parked in the car park finishing lunch, as Claire says “no good arriving in Murcia too early or the car parks will still be full of workers”.  John calls round late afternoon and leaves us with a DVD called “Gap year Grans” all about nomads going round Australia in caravans and campervans.  Sure makes us homesick to get back there.

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THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY – Every urbanisation seems to have a mini shopping centre including a Chinese store.  Today I visit Los Altos mainly to buy a mop bucket but of course find loads of other things I didn’t realise I wanted!  As Mrs Mop I set about mopping our entrance path, up the stairs then the whole apartment and balcony.  Steve seemed to think he would have a long lie in but my flinging the window open and mopping around him gives him a rude awakening.  At the moment he can’t be bothered with anything so I have to continually prompt him to move around a bit, eat and drink.  At least he eats all the cooked breakfast that we have for lunch.  Late afternoon I set out to find a recommended dentist.  They sound good but my appointment is not until next Wednesday morning.

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FRIDAY 17 FEBRUARY – Steve manages to walk out after his blood tests but does need to sit down for some time to compose himself.  We visit Dr Fernandez who explains the 4 weekly chemo is the protocol for over 50’s but given Steve’s health he wants to go either with the under 50’s fortnightly treatments or a mid 3 week gap if needed.  We get his Email address for the bone marrow test results sent direct.  After chocolate and churros to sustain us we visit Dr Rivas.  Today’s blood tests are all normal other than a slight variation on platelets but nothing of concern.  She insists on giving a next appointment for 2nd March even though we try to explain what Dr Fernandez has said.  Steve really isn’t up to full strength so maybe that is also the basis of her judgement. On the way back we swing into Torrevieja and meet Jim & Clare at the Ship bar.  Jim is battling cancer and making the most of his time out but after half an hour needs to go home for a siesta.  Clare drops him off and returns to chat.  They certainly know some of the best places to eat in Torrevieja as we get a 3 course lunch for €4.50 (£3.75).  Steve’s giant Yorkshire pudding is laden with mince, potatoes and 3 different vegetables and he manages to eat the lot.  It’s then Steve’s turn to feel sleepy so we return for his nap.

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SATURDAY 18 FEBRUARY – I’ve decided to make a determined effort to get Steve out of this lethargy and depression and begin by peeling off the T-shirt he hasn’t parted with for many days.  After a bath, fresh clothes and a shave he sits on the roof basking in the sun.  He’s still got a slight queasy feeling and a strange head and aches in his back if he stretches or coughs.  Not sure whether this is from the chemo or lumbar puncture.  Early afternoon we pick up John & Shirley for a drive to Pilar de Horadada where their travelling friends Jim and May live.  Jim met John in the RAF and Jim’s wife is from Singapore.  They have a house in Gnosall plus this one in Spain and a motorhome but now do lots of cruises as well.  Jim had bowel cancer a few years back and offers Steve advice on the chemo side of things.  At the moment they are planning to visit Australia so between the 4 of us we do a good selling job, and in the process it makes us all want to get back there.  After a couple of hours Steve is wilting so we head home where he festers on the sofa watching sport on TV.

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SUNDAY 19 FEBRUARY – We’ve been invited to John & Shirley for Sunday lunch and park on the main road to give Steve a bit of exercise walking the last stretch across wasteland.  It’s such a lovely hot day we sit out to eat, a delicious pork roast and Steve really tucks in.  He seems to have turned the corner and the sickness and bad heads are just about gone.

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MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY –Steve is feeling so much better so in the evening we drive to Torrevieja to meet Couchsurfers Graham & Tana who have a similar travel history to ours.  PJ’s pub is full of Brits and we settle at a table to chat.  They left England sailing of in a yacht and spent a lot of time in Greece before eventually buying an apartment here.  They still have a motorhome and are off to Central and South American next month so heaps to talk about.  It’s an enjoyable quiz with a sheet of palindromes to be done and a quiz with questions called out.  We come about 3rd but have a most enjoyable time.  Shortly after it finishes the pub gets pretty noisy and Steve is feeling weary so we reluctantly head home.

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