Tag Archives: nurse

Our Thanks for Kindness Shown.

All our friends have been so kind following the progress of Julia on my blog. Actually the only reason I share it is to get visitors here anyway.  Today wasn’t a day I was expecting to share anything but laughs about releasing trapped wind but it’s fair I share the truth.

Julia and I arrived at 3.30 for our 4.00 pm appt. Despite the fact we were meeting with Dr. Hotlips we expected to be alone as Ju was to have the drainage done on her distended stomach. But, rather than pass up a chance to leer, one of my nieces dashed there from work to join us. At 4’45 we were still sitting there and there were still others waiting. When we checked they were all for our oncologist with earlier appointments than us. Somehow the glazed eyed staff had managed to double book everyone and the list was running about an hour and a quarter late according to Dr. Hottie’s nurse. The chances of getting the drainage done today were fading fast and Ju was in pain from sitting.

This morning our own doctor had descended upon us at home to check on us both which meant to roast me about not going very often and to give Julia a new prescription for her morphine at an increased dose AGAIN to try and control the pain. Ju had decided to start them tomorrow.

To our surprise and that of the people before us we were called in at 4.50 pm. The oncologist sat us down and picked up the report from the scan. He told us there wasn’t much fluid trapped and there wouldn’t be a drain. That was a major surprise after what we’d been led to believe by him, the scanner ( sounds better than scan technician) and the MacMillan Nurse. While my niece and I were still taking it in Julia asked whether the welling was then a direct result of the tumour. You could hear the regret in his voice as he answered a simple “Yes”. Taking the bull by the horns at this point she asked whether she’d still be here in August. I’ve suggested that the gap left between question and reply was big enough to run a London Bus through. He eventually replied “I can’t answer that” but his face did.

Julia shows strength and determination on the outside but I saw her diminish in size. Dr McHottie asked if she would agree to go into a hospice for a few days at least to try and get the level of morphine right to control the pain. She agreed and it’s arranged for tomorrow morning. This will be an opportunity for her to decide if she prefers a hospice later on or would rather be at home which is what I’d prefer. No-one knows at what speed this monster will travel now or whether we’ll be able to talk about treatments like radiofrequency ablation which our daughter found. This is a form of killing the cancer by burning it out but can it be done when the evil thing has wrapped itself round major blood vessels?

So there we are. A day we weren’t expecting and one I’ll never adapt to. I want to thank on behalf of both of us all our wonderful friends who’ve visited to keep up to date with Ju’s treatment and who’ve left messages of such positivity to keep us going. Sorry but there’ll be no windy jokes today. xx Hugs to you all.

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The Zombie State

No, this is not a State that’s crept into the Union unobserved in America. I refer to a state of mind and body.

Last night was a bad night with Ju going to bed early because of pain. Actually if she goes to bed much earlier it will be straight after breakfast. She took her normal  morphine dose and lay watching TV which these days give you another kind of pain. At 8 o’clock the pain was worse so I suggested she take a dose of the emergency dose we’d agreed with the MacMillan Nurse. By midnight she was writhing in pain and even the extra dose had done nothing, but since it had been four hours since the other a again suggested another dose. Ju was wary but did so. By one o’clock things hadn’t improved, and though she didn’t want to call a doctor I impressed upon her that it wouldn’t hurt to just talk to one and explain the problem.

She agreed. ( I always said miracles happen) so we phoned NHS Direct where Ju spoke first to the lady who assesses the problem ? after which she promised to get a nurse to call back. One did, and a nice young man he was, very helpful. Before agreeing Ju should take another dose of morphine he promised to speak to a doctor and comeback to us.

At two o’clock the phone rang and it was a doctor. Ju went over the problem again- pancreatic cancer, inoperable, distended stomach, awaiting scan, please help. By now both she and I were getting very tired. The doctor was a wonder. He’s come out and give an injection, but as he was coming from Wrexham it would take a while. Wonderful. At 3 o’clock he arrived was very kind to Ju, gave the injection and at 3.30 he left. Just before he went he gave me an ampoule of morphine and some paperwork to show that if we needed this again we could call the Marie Curie nurses ( who are closer) and he gave instructions to them to inject this ampoule .

Being sure now that Ju would settle and that she needed nothing I went to sleep and though I woke at five I decided to sleep again until I woke at seven.Guessing Ju would not be up to shopping I  left her where she was and concentrated on giving the girls a treat and turning on the lights of the fish tank and feeding them. I had texted Yvonne last night to say we wouldn’t be shopping so she needn’t rush to meet us. Cruel as I am I woke Ju gently at 8.30 to see how she was and whether she was up to playtime with the girls or not. They generally miss out on a Friday morning as we leave the house early. She decided she was tired but OK and would get the girls out for a while. The phone rang and I picked up the receiver in the lounge meaning to pas it to Ju but it was dead. I passed the one from the hall to her quickly and while she answered it, I went to see why the other one was dead. My suspicions were correct. SOMETHING had bitten through the cable to the plug. I wasn’t sure who’d been the last escapee from the degu cage and out of kindness I was ruling out Saffy, but one of her daughters has really pi**ed me off. This is the second set of phones I’ve had to buy. Anyway, the phone call was from Ju’s sister Mu who said she’d had nightmares about Ju last night and she and John would visit today.

I couldn’t face breakfast but gave Ju a small bowl of Rice Krispies for the rats. I was too mean for Shreddies today and off I went with a coffee to start my mail. 99 messages were waiting and I groaned. Hadn’t I suffered enough? Obviously not. Yvonne sent a message to say she was on her way but the bus was stuck in traffic and could I tell her how her Ma was. I could, I did. By 9.45 I was coming to an end because luckily few had meant a long reply and those people who just needed blog comments were to be disappointed today. Time to get dressed. A few minutes past ten Yvonne arrived and you could see she was worried and upset. Her talk of not applying make-up didn’t ring true. It must be terrible to be far away when something happens and you can’t see how the land lies. I feel bad that I obviously didn’t do enough to dispel her fears but to be honest I was feeling quite zombie like about then.

10.30 and MuJo arrived. I dashed to the kitchen to put the kettle on while they hugged Ju and said their hellos’s. Drinks taken care of I slid out of the room and went back to my computer. John joined me to get away from chatter. I was able to pass him a ruby pendant he’d asked me to get for Mu as the firm I deal with are unbeatable. (For all you Ebay afficionado’s it’s 925-silver-link ). Then, with lunch time fast approaching Mu offered to take me shopping and she could pick up something for lunch at the same time. I love my S/I/L but she drives ahem sedately around 20 mph with traffic backing up behind her. 21 mph and John is shouting “Slow down woman, it’s not Brands Hatch”.  I’m glad the store isn’t far away. We made it safely and I started round. Mu told me to take my time yet started putting things like  a hot chicken and hot sausage rolls in my trolley. I moved faster. As I did, she was catching me up and putting items of her own shopping in the trolley and my space was getting less and less. I called it quits and suggested we left while the food was still hot. Mu dealt with speaking at the counter for me and I just smiled and paid up so I was OK.

After lunch Yvonne had to leave. Mu walked with her to the bus stop while John and I sat with Ju. That lasted 5 minutes till Ju announced she needed to lie down.( I must change my deodorant).Our Doctor rang to say he was upping the dosage of morphine and would write a prescription out for her. Within a few minutes she was snoring away for Britain. Mu returned and said she’s run me to the doctors to collect the prescription. I swear I didn’t say I could run quicker than she could run me but the temptation was there. John said he’d stay with Ju. Off we went ever so sedately again though I’m sure at one point we reached 25mph because John wasn’t with us. What a rebel. She got the right road and turned in and I pointed out the doctor’s car park. I was still pointing at it as we sailed past it and Mu entered the hospital overflow car park. “Where’s the surgery” she asked. I was still pointing though now my arm was wrapped round my neck. I got out, walked across the grass verges, through the doctor car park and down the hill to the entrance. The staff know me by sight if not by voice and I soon had the prescriptions in my hand. Back up the hill, across the car park and over the verge, gasping for breath I reached the car. “I should have parked in that car park shouldn’t I ” asked Mu.

We stopped at the chemist near home where they also know me well and within a few minutes my order was filled. Mu had gone ahead so I walked home clutching my hope for tonight.I gently woke Ju and asked if  she was well enough to come through as her sister was about to go.  MuJo wished us goodbye and promised to see us next week. That left just Ju and I. We sat companionably for a while then about 4,00 pm she had to go back to bed. I understood as I knew how tired she must be feeling. I started to watch a Move to the Country programme on the TV knowing my favourite antiques programme was on at half past. That was it. I woke at 5.15 just after it had finished. I went to see that Ju was OK and confessed I’d nodded off. “I know ” she said, “Mike told me.He even kissed you on the forehead and you didn’t move.” My brother had called to borrow a bucket as he’s cleaning the house he’s moving out of soon and he’s off to a new flat in the Midlands. No more Bro at the weekends to banter with. How I hadn’t woken with him here I’ll never know. So, I watched a quiz till six and then came back to my mail for the day.I feel like a zombie now but know if I go to bed too early I’ll be up and working at 4 am tomorrow. Still. I usually am no matter what time I go to sleep. A built in alarm clock.

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Error Report.

We started today by taking a prescription request to the doctors and collecting the prescription I’d requested Monday. My drug tray is updated every Thursday so the stocks must be maintained. After leaving the doctors I knew we needed bread and OK i needed cigarettes. Before you ask, I haven’t given them up because I haven’t really wanted too and yes, I realise my illness is exacerbated by smoking but I’ve been at it a long time now. I’ve tried hypnosis and all that got me was a reasonable sleep for half an hour. Anyway back to the plot. The brand I smoke isn’t sold where we live so we decided to pick them up with fresh bread from Flint and perhaps go for a coffee.

Walking round the supermarket someone threw herself at us and we were delighted to see a young lady we first met some years ago who we haven’t seen for a long time. It appears she’d been to the cafe and actually left her phone number there for us as she wanted to bring her daughter round to see us. This young lady was fresh out of the army when we met her and she’d just had her baby. She had just moved to the area and knew no-one, it showed. She looked quite lost that first day and you could see what a wonderful mother she was from the way she interacted with the baby. Julia took quite an interest in the baby while I smiled from a distance having not got used to being near strangers . As we were leaving I passed Ju some money to pass on for Mum to buy the little girl a gift from  us. She was so taken aback and it proved to be the start of a warm friendship whenever we met. It hasn’t happened often but each time we’ve noticed huge changes in the little girl who now attends school.

We paid for the shopping and went for coffee remembering to take a box of sweets for the cafe staff who are great with us. There really are some wonderful people around and it’s nice to acknowledge them. After coffee it was a dash home to have lunch and prepare for going out for Ju’s scan. I hadn’t seen the appointment card for this but knowing we’d seen Dr. Dreamboat last week and he’d hoped to get an appointment this week I was happy. We lunched and I watched an antique programme got my coat and prepared to leave. I’d suggested going early so that if there were no delays we’d have time to sit with a cuppa before going in. Coats on we headed to the car.

“Ju, it’s definitely two o’clock for the scan” I asked as we got in the car. With a sigh of exasperation she opened her bag and pulled out the letter. “There see, doubting Thomas” she said ” two o’clock Wednesday 20th Feb.”  I must have looked stunned for a moment as she asked what was wrong. “It is Wednesday isn’t it?” she asked. It didn’t take me long to point out she’d got that much right at least but that I didn’t fancy sitting in the waiting room for two weeks. On a more serious note neither of us wanted her to wait another two weeks in the pain she’s currently feeling. So, as we headed back out of the car and I thanked her for the outing, I suggested I go to the chemist to fill my prescription and she phone the oncologist and see if he could get the appointment moved up. It turned out that was up to us so when I came home from the chemist we phoned the scan department and explained the problem, emphasising that Ju has cancer and a prolonged wait would mean very much increased pain. They promised to ring us back if they could find a cancellation. Sure enough ten minutes later they were on asking if we could go next Tuesday evening. We grabbed it.

The Macmillan nurse called this evening and I disappeared after quickly making sure Ju would ask about the treatment after the scan. She assured us Doc. Hotlips would act very quickly after the result and if it turned out to be fluid causing the distended stomach he would probably drain it in a matter of days.( I’m reliably informed they can’t drain it by giving the patient a tap on the head). She said if he wasn’t quick enough she’d see if it could be done in  a hospice by another doctor. That’s a real comfort knowing there may be another option. It may be done in the day or it may mean an overnight stay as a lot of the body’s salt and other minerals could be lost and Ju could be very tired. The bad news is this may be a recurring theme. The good news was Ju managed to stay up until 6.30pm because she hasn’t eaten today and that meant I saw an episode of the Big Bang Theory. Cup half full !!

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I’m dilated to meet you.

Today the snow was meant to be gone, or at least well on the way to going. Instead when I got up, the receding flow had stopped and a new tidal wave was threatening to engulf us as more and more came down in a steady flow. Because it hadn’t reached a critical level where we live it was decided that I should still attend a 10.30 am appointment at the hospital……or to be more precise at a vehicle in the hospital car park.

By the time we’d dug the car out we were pushing the time a little bit but just made it. The hill was quiet, the road to the hospital was quiet and the hospital car park was quiet apart from some few cars trying to get enough grip to leave. For some reason the car park was built sloping down so it’s easy to get into but not so easy to get out of if there’s any ice. The gritters had obviously been out yesterday but had also believed the reports of no snow today and weren’t prepared. Anyway, we were there and rang the bell on the outside of the wagon that at least sounded as though it would be warm with a generator running. The nurse who opened the door expressed some surprise to see us but invited us in. That in itself was a task as the steps were very steep so Ju and I on crutches felt like Sherpa Tensing.

We were in. The nurse took my name and said they were phoning people to come this morning as it was possible they’d have to give up before the afternoon. All in all, most people were cancelling. She put my drops in without warning me they were sulphuric acid and would burn their way to the back of my head. “Might sting a bit” she added.I was given a couple of pieces of tissue and told to sit in the waiting room with Ju for twenty minutes. The waiting room was where I’d come into the vehicle and had one bench seat that would hold about four anorexics. Ju and I were two of them. After a few minutes another nurse appeared from a different room and said she’d be doing the photographs of the back of my eye, retinopathy. They’re very good at doing these at least once a year if you’re diabetic.

There was a ring on the bell and another willing sacrifice arrived and was taken through to be tortured. I was going to try and mouth to him ” Get away while you still can” but I think the nurse was watching me. I’m not sure as by now my pupils had dilated and my eyes were watering like mad. Three more people arrived that they’d phoned. The first came came out and sat with Ju and I, he called “Right, all together now, breathe out so I can slip in” and he managed it. Luckily for me as the next one came out  groping blindly and zombie like, the second nurse came to say she was ready for me. There was no room at the inn for Ju though so she had to stay on the bench like a substitute at a football match.

I vaguely saw the nurse sitting on a chair and went to take a seat opposite her and found a laptop open . ” Hold on” she said “you sit over here. I was just adjusting it for you”. I moved round to the chair she vacated and she did the same with me. I hope I left hers warmer than she left mine. She told me to place my chin in a device that hung in front of my face and place my forehead against the bar above it. It was a bit of a strain on the neck but I managed it and off we went………nowhere. “Eyes wide please, and concentrate on the blue light” she said. I did. FLASH!!! “Wait” she told me, that didn’t work there’s some condensation on the lens.” I waited while she came round to my side and vigorously polished the lens. As she returned to her seat I drew myself up and placed my chin back in the device but the strain of getting my forehead there was much worse as the chair I was on had been getting lower and lower as I waited. I was praying for this to be over.

Again we were unsuccessful and she had to clean my lens. “Perhaps it’s on the inside “I said “due to all the cold outside.”    “This is a £9000 camera in a sealed unit” she said, “it can’t be on the inside.”!  We had two more failures and I thought my neck would snap she she suddenly announced “I think it must be on the inside. I’m afraid I’ll have to phone my boss. Could you just sit outside a minute please.”  I didn’t dare say there was no way I’d find a seat out there with all the other blind people but I agreed and let myself out. I didn’t have long to wait before she came out and told us all she was sorry but her boss had decided all appointments were cancelled for the day. They needed to subject the camera to heat for at least half an hour. FREEDOM !!

Ju and I carefully walked back to where we’d parked and cleared the new snow from the roof and windscreen. Sitting inside I lit up a cigarette and swore I wasn’t going again until the summer. Ju remarked how odd I looked with such dilated pupils. We headed up the slope of the car park and over the road to my doctors car park to drop off a prescription request then went to the supermarket for a fresh loaf before going home to have soup for lunch and watch the snow were not having fall outside. Late this afternoon it stopped snowing but I’m not taking bets on what tomorrow holds.

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