Posted by: glenswatman | May 1, 2012

20120421-30 ENGLAND Steve back in for chemo

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SATURDAY 21 APRIL – I join Claire for a ride to Daz’s new house up at Wibsey to collect the kids.  It’s a nice 5 bed detached overlooking the valley but I can imagine it will be very bleak and wild in winter.  Back home Daniel and I head to ASDA.  Tonight he is cooking fajitas and wants to buy the ingredients.  I also pick up some big pizzas for lunch and extra toppings and followed by mint Vienetta everyone is happy.  Late afternoon Natasha is supposed to be going out to a party but decides not to bother.  Our guests Jane, Richard and his 13 year old son Kieran have arrived and I have a feeling Natasha thinks she may be missing out on something.  Claire decides to go over to Richards for the night.  We catch up on news then Daniel entertains us with his magic card and rope tricks followed by Natasha’s rabbit display.  The meal is delicious.  Jane has brought along a Victoria sponge which we ate earlier then a lemon meringue pie which added to the chocolate bake and ice cream soon has us all full up. I must say dieting in England when you are socialising is pretty difficult.  In the evening the kids retire to their bedrooms whilst we stay in the lounge watching TV.


SUNDAY 22 APRIL – When I take up Steve’s breakfast I see Natasha has crept into bed with him.  This means I have to halve the last slice of lemon meringue pie with ice cream that I was going to pig for breakfast.  When you think about it we are only having fruit with frozen milk so it’s not that bad.  Daniel is still in bed when we leave to return to the studio.  It doesn’t take us long to settle back in; get showered and changed and ready to go out.  Karen & Chris are organising a surprise 80th birthday party for Auntie Pamela over at Low Laithes golf club near Wakefield.  The rooms looks beautiful with table decorations and balloons.  Ian has gone to pick up Mum and Auntie Pamela and they arrive by the back door.  Auntie Pamela is really surprised and keeps looking round to take stock of all the people gathered.  She looks really well and soon takes it all in her stride.  We are sat with Netty & Ian and Karen’s neighbours whilst Mum is with Karen and family and Auntie Pamela.  I head over to second cousin’s Alison and Suzanne’s tables to catch up with their every growing family.  So nice to see the cute little grandchildren.  There is a nice buffet which helps soak up the wine that Netty & I are getting stuck into and worse for the diet cream cake as part of the dessert selection.  Steve copes well but feels a bit weary around 4pm.  When Ian goes to fetch their car he finds he has a huge smashed windscreen directly in front of the driver’s seat.  Steve spots the culprit golf ball just beyond where the car was parked.  Ian goes in to complain but whilst he is there we see the disclaimer notices so he gets nowhere.  The glass company will take 2 hours to come out so I take Mum back inside to wait.  Just after we arrive home I hear the glass company couldn’t get out today so they have decided to drive back carefully and have made it without problems.  Mom and Ivy are back, didn’t really enjoy the holiday as lots of things on the tours were missed out and it wasn’t good value for money.  As soon as Lisa, Mick and Sian arrive to pick up Ivy we leave as Sian has tonsillitis and we have already take and risk today in going to the party knowing Steve’s immunity is low.  Netty & Ian have given me some stuff for the bungalow.  I get the cushions in the washing machine as they have been stored in the loft then find instructions on line for the large microwave, grill, and combination oven and have fun trying that out.


MONDAY 23 APRIL – Today it’s my turn for blood tests in readiness for my hospital appointment next week.  Late morning Steve heads off to play snooker with Richard at Shipley whilst I take Mom shopping in Morrisons and then for some lunch.  Not really impressed with their cafe system.  We call the hospital and they can’t get Steve a theatre slot until Friday so suggest we visit on Wednesday for his blood tests and to complete the hospital admissions forms then go from there to the MacMillan centre for our relaxation hypnotherapy class.  On Friday Steve will have the Hickman line put in then go back on Monday to start chemo.  Not ideal as we had hoped he would be starting it all tomorrow.  In the evening I go to bingo and my £3 stake returns over £7 when I win a double line and then full house and manage to shout out in time to claim it!


TUESDAY 24 APRIL – Today I need to buy Steve some pyjamas and a dressing gown as both were provided in Spain.  His normal nightwear wouldn’t go down well on the ward and he has been borrowing my dressing gown which is a bit girly.  I end up getting him night shorts that he can wear with T-shirts and a nice stripy velour dressing gown.  Mom brings Dad back from respite and he sounds to have enjoyed himself more than Mom did on the Isle of Man.  Mid afternoon we head up to Claire’s where I cook us a dinner for when Claire gets back home.


WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL – Today’s hospital visit starts with Steve’s blood tests.  They complete his admission procedure for Friday which includes questions and listening to his heart and chest.  We are given a prescription for anti biotic nasal cream and body wash, all to be used for the next 5 days prior to Steve’s admission to hospital.  This is to reduce the chances of MRSI.  In the afternoon we visit the MacMillan clinic for the first of our complimentary therapies. I go in first with Jan who teaches EFT (emotional freedom technique).  Sometimes known as tapping you basically tap on 8 different parts of your body whilst talking yourself through the problem area starting with “even though”.  For example I have to say “even though I have got into a habit of waking at 3am I am going to sleep straight through until 8am”.  You can EFT to help with any emotional problem but also for pain and chemo side effects.  It doesn’t make the problem go away but helps you cope with it and if it works will be really useful.  During Steve’s session he mentions pain from his frozen shoulder and gets immediate pain relief and increased movement which is amazing.  We get a phone call later to say all but Steve’s immunity counts are up and even though his immunity is going down they are still happy to commence chemo next week.


THURSDAY 26 APRIL – Well I didn’t wake at 3am but woke at 1am and then slept solid until 7am so I would consider that a good results and will do more tapping today.  I also did some with a mind to stop myself eating snack foods each time I give some to Steve (he needs building up and I don’t) and that seems to be working but goodness knows why.  I spend time on line signing up for Internet freebies, can’t see the catch yet.  We drive up to Sandra and Keith’s where we are spoilt with a delicious 3 course lunch.  Homemade soup, meat and potato pie, then fresh fruit.  We’ve loads to chat about but leave mid afternoon for Steve to have a nap before going bowling in the evening.


FRIDAY 27 APRIL – We’re up at 6am.  The hospital want Steve there by 7am when the anaesthetist does his rounds as he is first on the operating list.  When we arrive there is no bed for him so we are put on the day ward where Steve is given a gown to wear.  His blood is taken and numerous people come to ask questions.  One nurse is working her way down a sheet and asks “do you have any hearing or sight problems?”  Steve says just sight in that he needs reading glasses due to age.  Next question is “have you been incontinent”?  Steve replies yes and I stare at him.  She then asks how he manages it and at that point he asks her to repeat the question and realises she didn’t ask if he had been on the continent!  Think he now needs to re answer the previous question about hearing.  The 8.30am theatre time comes and goes and the day ward cases arrive.  By 9.30am we query what is happening and are told that at the appointed time there was no bed on the ward for Steve to return to so he couldn’t go to theatre.  Sister on the day ward sends a message to say she will reserve the day bed for Steve.  They will try to do his operation under local anaesthetic but if they run into scar tissue from his previous central lines they will have to put him under and then he would need the bed for recovery.  This message doesn’t get through and someone else goes into theatre and is there until 2.30pm.  Steve’s operation is finally done under local anaesthetic which means we can head home as soon as he gets back on the ward at 4.30pm.  What an exhausting waiting day.  The Hickman line has left a couple of cuts, the bottom one has a sort of circle under the skin and from this the 3 dangly tubes protrude and these are wrapped and taped to his chest.  This could stay in for up to 2-years so will save future operations.  In the evening Steve picks up Daniel and drops him at the studio before dropping Claire at the station to go on a girl’s night out and Natasha at swimming.  In the evening I play canasta and rummy kub with Daniel whilst Steve rests.


SATURDAY 28 APRIL – Steve has had a bit of a restless night, obviously very much aware of his new apparatus.  Daniel is not happy to be woken at “silly o’clock”, 8.30am.  He helps me move some stuff at Moms, on Monday she is having a radiator moved and has to empty the cupboard so they can get to the tank to drain it.  It’s unbelievable how much stuff she has in there but I am pleased when she finds me a spare electric kettle – not sure there isn’t a fridge/freezer hidden amongst some of the stash!  Our friend Neil calls round for a chat, he’s off to Scotland next week to an island on a writer’s course but unfortunately his wife Cath has a bad back and can’t join him.  I drop Daniel at home then go to view a sofa bed that has been offered on “freecycle”.  It is in very good condition and the lady will hang on to it until we get the bungalow.


SUNDAY 29 APRIL – Back to the continuous rain.  Steve is happy for us just to hang out in the studio.  I make us pasta for lunch then we watch the real story movie “Tea with Mussolini”.  Seen it before but since then we have visited the hill town of San Gimignano where the story tells how the women saved the towers by tying themselves to them.  We leave at 6.30pm for the hospital.  Steve is in room 12 (the Dawn Stuart room) a single room with en suite and TV.  Tonight they will be checking his blood and giving him fluids ready for the chemo tomorrow.  He gets a drenching in the bathroom as the taps and toilet are controlled by waving your hand over a key pad and he is stood directly in line of vicious tap when it fires.  His chemo friend Cameron is in room 1 so not only will he be able to talk to but also have someone to chat football with.  It’s a little strange returning to the studio alone.  I don’t put the TV on but can here numerous channels on everyone else’s.


SUNDAY 29 APRIL – It’s another rainy day; the weatherman was not wrong when he said the showers were dying out – to be replaced by constant rain.  This is already the wettest April on record and I believe the only one we have been in England for during the last 15 years – hope it’s not our fault.  Steve’s breakfast looks pretty disgusting.  I’ve been told that wheatgrass is a great cancer preventer; it’s an expensive powder (£7 for 200gm) that you sprinkle on food.  It has turned his porridge green and he needs extra sugar (I’ve already added all the honey we have) to make it palatable.  Today it is 1-year since William and Kate got married, we were in a small town in India watching it on our room TV.  They are showing a documentary about their first year then a movie about how they met etc and both are surprisingly good.  Around 6.30pm we head off to hospital where Ward 7 has room 12 ready for him.  It’s a single en suite complete with TV showing snooker so he will be fine.  Tonight they are going to do blood tests and some fluids before the MTX tomorrow.  I leave when visiting time finishes at 8pm.  Seems quite strange being home alone in the studio as all I can hear are the neighbours TV’s.


MONDAY 30 APRIL – Today I have an appointment at the University dental hospital in Leeds with a view to finally getting to the bottom of my tooth pain.  I catch the 9.31am train (£5.05 off peak day return) and in 25 minutes alight in Leeds.  I’m early so plan to follow the Rough Guide walking tour almost to the hospital.  City Square opposite the railway station is famous for the huge horse statue but looking further there are numerous nymphs and loads of old BT phone boxes and lovely art Decko touches inside the Queens Hotel.  Without the guide I would have missed the raised petanque court along Infirmary Street. A nearby cafe lends boules for free but today the only people on the court are the bronze statues.  At Park Square there is a huge Moorish style building.  City Hall is a massive building but unfortunately you cannot get inside so have to be content with walking round the exterior.  Millennium Square is busy as they are putting up a big screen ready for the Olympics.  City Museum is closed on Mondays so I continue to the hospital.  The dental unit has some amazing display cabinets with enough old equipment to chase you away.  I’ve accidentally come in the back entrance so most patients won’t see these.  Through a friend Jane she has got me this appointment at the teaching hospital.  Treatment is free but you are technically used as a guinea pig.  Lily calls me through, she’s in her last year of studies but due to my friend in high places I get the teacher Steve to oversee my treatment.  I explain about the German dentist in Spain being unable to numb the area and they are also mystified. In fact Steve cannot understand why a German dentist would work in Span when the wages are much higher in Germany – does make you wonder.  They x-ray then drill out the old filling to find it is really a simple problem.  An old filling had cracked but unluckily the crack led straight to an exposed nerve.  Steve’s a belt and braces kind of guy so first coats the bottom of the cavity with something to stop any future sensitivity before doing the filling.  They have used a nerve numbing injection so not only is the left side of my jaw numb but also my head.  I continue the walking tour and am suitably impressed with the market, having visited previously with my head down to shop.  It’s a totally different experience visiting this way and looking up at all the superb architecture.  Unfortunately I now have a headache so head home.  Steve calls and is doing fine.  In the evening Claire drops Natasha at swimming and we both go on to visit.  He’s been watching snooker all day but also had a visit with Cameron.  The food has been fine, cereal, fish then lamb curry meals.  At the moment he is on the heavy duty 24-hour chemo so cannot leave the room, it looks rather strange as it is green like lime cordial.  Different chemo planned for tomorrow then once he has been flushed thorough and is well enough he can come home.



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