Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Chemo 6 begins.....but not without frustrations

There are times when things go smoothly like clockwork and there are times when they don't.  We're in a non-clockwork time zone at the moment...

...The frustrations started yesterday, when I tried to share the day's blog on Facebook.  The Facebook website wouldn't load.  I put it down to a busy server, and thought no more about it, although I was surprised to find the same problem when I checked before going to bed and again this morning.

....More frustrations at the hospital today.....

Steve's appointment had been pushed back from 9.30 until 12 noon as a result of not being cleared for treatment until late yesterday, after the order for this morning's chemo drugs had been made. This meant his chemo would not be ready until noon at the earliest.

We planned to arrive at the chemo suite around 11 am to get his supply of Emend anti-sickness drug which has to be taken an hour before chemo is due to begin. However, we set off later than planned, having wasted time trying to sort out my Facebook access problems, to no avail. I ended up sharing yesterday's blog update via Steve's Facebook page, which was working fine.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, there was a long queue of cars waiting to get in to car parks 1 and 2, so we headed straight for car park 3, only to find an even longer queue.  So long, in fact, that it blocked the road leading to car park 4. 

With time passing and no sign of the queue of traffic moving, we did a U-turn and headed off to another hospital in the same complex to see if there were any parking spaces available in that area. No luck there either, so out of the hospital complex to search for somewhere to park on street - again, in vain.  

Back into the hospital complex and on to car park 5 this time, via a different route.  Only two cars in line at the entrance, so we got in the queue and waited.  It was a long wait.  Even when we reached the front of the queue and used the "chemo" parking ticket, the barrier would not go up.  We waited for a vehicle to exit hoping this would allow us in, but the ticket still wouldn't work. 

By this time, quite a few more cars were waiting behind us, so we couldn't go forwards or backwards. Steve pressed the call button on the entry machine, and explained the problem.  At last the barrier lifted and we found an unofficial nook where we could leave the car and head off to the chemo suite, arriving just before noon.  So much for getting there early!  

Although Steve chemo drugs had arrived, he was unable to start treatment until the pharmacist arrived with the Emend anti-sickness pills - so another 15 minute wait before anything could happen....

Emend pill safely inside, the chemo nurse arrived to take Steve's bloods to cross match for another transfusion.  To our surprise, he's going to be given three units of blood next time as his haemoglobin level has dropped to 8 (below what it was before the last transfusion three weeks ago).  

The nurse inserted the cannula for chemo, hoping she could use this to take Steve's blood sample for cross matching. However, even after three attempts she couldn't get enough for a cross match....so off to get the standard blood sample needle and then try again in the other arm this time. Success at last!

An hour later and the pemetrexed chemo started bang on time.  As usual, there was a delay between finishing one chemo drug and starting another, in this case carboplatin. However, that chemo had finished by 2.45 pm and we had high hopes of leaving the hospital shortly after.  

In the event, it was 3.25 pm before we left the chemo suite, after more waiting to be unhooked, have the "Red Book" filled in and get details of tomorrow's transfusion appointment.  As it's three units of fresh blood this time, it will be an early start ....in hospital at 8.30 am.  If we are out by 5 pm, we will count ourselves lucky!  

Not looking forward to it, I have to confess.  I imagine Steve will sleep quite a lot of the time. I may have to take myself off for a walk - sitting for 8 hours without a break numbs the mind and other parts of the anatomy, even with several good books!  Still, if last time is anything to go by, Steve will feel much better afterwards.

And I must keep reminding myself:  THIS IS THE LAST CYCLE OF CHEMO!  

Post script - Facebook problem seems to have sorted itself out, so all being well, I will be able to post this blog update myself :-) 

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