Friday, 4 September 2009

S-L-O-W, S-L-O-W, quick, quick, S-L-O-W .............Cycle 3, Day 4

Last night was fun - Katie and George prepared the evening meal: bruschetta for starters and spaghetti carbonara for the main course. Jolly tasty it was too!

Back to hospital today for a Velcade top-up. This is usually referred to as the "short chemo day". It should be re-named S-L-O-W day.

Question: What do you do in hospital when you have read the newspaper, discover that you have forgotten to swap out the book that you finished on your last visit for something new to read, and are bored looking at old magazines from 2007 and 2008?

Answer: Do some primary research into how to waste a day in hospital by logging events until you get home...

If you don't want tedium ad nauseum, look away now - otherwise, read on (these are the edited highlights ; I've left out the really boring bits...)

Leave home.

Arrive at hospital for 11 am appointment; buy newspaper.

Shown into the room to be used for today's single shot of Velcade which takes 3-5 seconds to administer, once the "all clear" is given.

Charlie arrives and takes blood samples for testing; explains that they are short-staffed, so someone else will be along to do the rest of Steve's obs. All being well, blood test results should be back around 13:00.

Charlie pops back to say the lab's equipment isn't working. Samples will have to be couriered to another hospital for analysis. The results should be back around 14:00, so order lunch...

Lunch arrives.
Nothing happens for two hours, then several things happen in quick succession.

Charlie brings news that half the tests results are back; white blood cell count is fine - we breathe a sigh of relief.

Afternoon tea and biscuits arrive.

Another nurse, Viola, arrives to do Steve's obs (weight, temperature, blood pressure, blood gasses - all fine). Steve eventually gets to drink his rapidly cooling tea.
A different nurse, Kelly, introduces herself and asks us what's happening? We explain that we are waiting for Velcade to be given, once the final blood tests results are cleared.

Nothing happens for the best part of an hour

It's over four hours since the blood samples were taken but, at long last, Charlie appears fleetingly at the door, gives us the thumbs up and says "all go!" We await treatment in eager anticipation - not long now!

Nothing happens for the next 50 minutes - we are getting twitchy: the Velcade will be time-expired in about an hour.

16: 15
After checking with Charlie on the phone about how to administer the trial drug which is new to her, Kelly arrives with the Velcade. Rather than use a quick saline "flush" before and after chemo (which is what usually happens) she sets up a saline drip for 5 minutes, administers the chemo for another minute (rather than the normal 3-5 seconds) re-starts the saline drip for another five minutes and disappears.

16: 25
Kelly returns, dismantles the drip and removes the cannula.

Escape - at long last!

Arrive home nearly seven hours after setting out for this "short" chemo session; not a single parking space left in the street but, all being well, the wardens will have knocked off for the weekend, and we take a chance and park on the double yellow lines....

What a way to waste a day.....

Moan over - I know the staff are doing their best. It's just that time is so precious; days like today - when it slips through your fingers - are very frustrating. Hopefully the weekend will be a bit more productive, creative, and/or sociable, before I have to re-start work on Monday after a long break over the summer.

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