Posted by: glenswatman | May 13, 2012

20120501-10 ENGLAND Harsh chemo and moving into our new bungalow

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TUESDAY 1 MAY 2012 – Back to the rainy weather but I brave it to go down town. Maggie tells me she should get the keys to our bungalow on Friday, do a check on Monday then we can move in Tuesday or Wednesday.  The gas fire failed the safety check and they are now replacing them with electric which unfortunately will leave us a gap in the carpet where the hearth was removed.  In the afternoon I have an appointment at Airedale.  I’ve been having problems retaining iron but it seems that since my blood test in January, when I stopped taking iron tablets, my levels have stayed up and the problem is now solved great news.  Drive to Claire’s and do a bit of tidying up before cooking us all fried egg and chips followed by pancakes with chocolate spread topped by mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Claire, Natasha and I head off to see Steve.  He’s not quite so well tonight, seriously bloated with an extra 5 kilos of fluids including the Asparaginase he has had today.  His evening meal was terrible and when it was cleared away he commented that it wasn’t very good and the girl says “it never is”.


WEDNESDAY 2 MAY – Steve’s not so well, he is sickly and has lots of pains but the Doctor is on his way round.  I can handle alternate days of nice weather and do a walk around town.  Dad is not well at all so Mom sends for the doctor who says the diarrhoea will just have to work its course.  I decide it is better to keep away in case it can be passed on to Steve.  I’ve had a migraine since the dentist on Monday so decide to have a rest as Sandra is going to visit Steve tonight.  I call Steve and he is not well at all having numerous side effects.  He feels so poorly he asks that no one visits.


THURSDAY 3 MAY – We’re not off to a good start, Steve is still pretty poorly, Dad has been sick in the night and I have a migraine – what a bunch.  I do what I can to help Mom and also paint the area in their kitchen where the radiator was moved.  Early afternoon I visit Steve.  He really doesn’t know how to get comfortable, has all sorts of drips going and looks like the Michelin man as he is so full of fluid.  He says his blood is been sent to Leeds in a taxi for analysis as it is too complicated for BRI.  Whilst I am there I notice a red mark on the back of his neck and a rash on his face so the Doctor comes and checks it out and thinks it may be from the chemo.  He is now dry retching instead of being sick and feels pretty sorry for himself which is totally understandable.  Let’s face it most people go into hospital when they are ill, the hospital makes them better then send them home.  Poor Steve goes in when he is well, they make his really sick then send him home to get better so they can do it again.  I meet Nancy in the Lingbob pub run by her daughter Jenny.  We have a nice meal and I catch up her news including the info about Rods death and the hospitals post mortem and “excuses”.  At bowling I stand in for Steve and bowl poorly enough to get a good handicap enabling our team to win 3-1.


FRIDAY 4 MAY – Steve’s had a better night as they gave him sleeping tablets but he’s still feeling grotty and on lots of drips. I have a hunch they will send him home today as the ward is being refurbished over the weekend and the one they are moving to doesn’t have enough individual rooms to accommodate everyone.  In readiness I give the studio and extra good clean using antibacterial wipes on the doors and other surfaces.   I speak to Maggie and make arrangements to meet at the bungalow at 2pm on Wednesday for us to receive the keys.  When I arrive at the hospital at 2pm Steve says the Doctor is due round and they will probably send him home.  Nancy’s daughter Michelle calls in, she works at the hospital, and we have a really good chat.  She ruptured her Achilles tendon last year so we compare notes.  The Doc says Steve can go home but his prescription drugs won’t be ready until 5pm.  I suggest we might as well wait but Steve’s face drops and Michelle notices.  She suggests we go home now and she will collect and drop off the drugs later, quite a detour for her but she is most insistent.  Steve quickly dresses whilst I pack up and by about 3.30pm he is home lying on the sofa.  Mom comes up and doesn’t think he looks well at all, good job she didn’t see him in Spain.  I entice him with different food and drinks plus his cocktail of drugs that Michelle drops off.  He declines a sleeping pill and actually gets quite a lot of sleep – I know as he is snoring like a good un.


SATURDAY 5 MAY – We are woken as the room gets very hot with the sun blazing in.  This makes it easier for Steve to get up, have a bath then after breakfast we walk to the paper shop.  He’s still feeling weak and grotty but it’s a start.  He was cold in bed last night so I walk out and buy a 10.5tog duvet.  Mom then Claire & Natasha call in for a short spell but other than that we have a quiet day.  At night the duvet is too warm and heavy on Steve’s legs.


SUNDAY 6 MAY – Steve’s feeling a bit better and suggests we go up to Claire’s for lunch.  This involves me cooking us all fish fingers, chips and beans followed by cheesecake and ice cream.  It’s good that Steve feels like an outing even if he wilts in the afternoon and needs a nap.


MONDAY 7 MAY – Moms turn to be ill today as she is stricken with sickness and diarrhoea.  Steve is feeling a little better and fancies fried egg on toast for breakfast – not the best idea as he is then sick in the bath!  We meet Claire, Richard and the girls at Cliff Castle for a walk and to check out the museum.  Natasha and Azura spend ages looking at the caged rabbits, as if she doesn’t see enough of rabbits having 3 at home!  The museum is closed, until Spring 2013, for refurbishment so we return to Claire’s where we play Newmarket and President with the kids.  We’re ready to head to Lisa and Mick’s when Steve comes over a bit funny and flops on the sofa.  He’s gone yellow and feels strange so goes upstairs for a lie down whilst I cancel our visit.  After half an hour or so he feels well enough to head home.  Meanwhile I’ve phoned the hospital who say they have kept a bed for him so he can return if he gets worse, if not they are expecting him tomorrow morning.  He manages to eat a bit but decides to have a sleeping pill to help him sleep.  Works for Steve but completely stops me sleeping as he snores all night long.


TUESDAY 8 MAY – Steve is back on the ward by 10.30am.  They clean his Hickman line and take blood samples.  When the Doc visits he talks through the tests Steve needs and they can really only fit in the CT scan today.  They want Steve back in on Monday night to start chemo on Tuesday.  I ask if it will be OK for our Aussie friends Bev and Norm to see him on the Tuesday and he suggests we delay by a day and Steve returns on Tuesday evening.   At 2pm we head down for the CT scan.  During an hour Steve has to drink 1 litre of special fluid which tastes a bit like aniseed.  Like most things it taste very metallic to Steve and even the addition of some blackcurrant cordial doesn’t help much.  One of the 2 CT machines breaks down so it is 5.30 before he goes in.  Back on the ward the blood tests are good enough for Steve not to need to return until next Tuesday unless he feels unwell.


WEDNESDAY 9 MAY – Mom is unwell still so I pick up a few things from town.  On line I buy contents insurance through SAGA getting an extra £20 discount by complete a car insurance questionnaire.  When they hear the details of Mums insurance policy they say they would not even consider offering cover but still knock the price of the contents making it just £25 for £15,000 cover for a year.  This has taken longer than expected so in a rush I put the microwave glass turntable dish directly from the convection oven into the sink and it shatters.  We begin loading the car which coincides with it starting to rain.  Neither Mom nor Dad are well enough to help and Steve is whacked after one trip to the car so I end up doing it on my own.  Up at the bungalow Maggie is waiting for us.  We just have to check over everything, pay a month up front and sign the paperwork.  So much easier than a private rental and no fees for referencing, bonds or deposits.  Steve really likes the look of the bungalow and settles on the sofa.  Maggie has put the heating on but he still needs a blanket around him.   I empty the car then go back for another load.  Claire’s car is still being mended so I pick her up from work then we collect her car, go to her house and load up the things from Claire’s loft.  Back to the bungalow where Harry has delivered the Zanussi cooker (£50), leather reclining rocker chair (£10) and dark wood corner TV stand (£5), all look good.  We unload the 2 cars then return to the studio to load up with the last of our stuff from there.  Claire is a huge help as she is much stronger and has more energy than me.


THURSDAY 10 MAY – I get up early and begin cleaning, working my way through the kitchen cupboards then re arranging the stuff I quickly put in yesterday.  Our friend Andy calls round and collects the cooker, at mate’s rate, and it’s good to know everything works.  The rest of the day is spent cleaning, shopping, popping in to get stuff for Mom who is still poorly and generally chasing my tail!  Steve really hasn’t recovered from his last bout of chemo and has no energy and lots of aches and pains.  He does make the effort to go out to bowling in the evening but arrives back shattered.



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