Tuesday 8 April 2014

VanSel1 Drug Trial Cycle 2 Days 22-23: "Fatbergs" and finding time to eat

Yesterday was hospital day - the last time Steve was required to give bloods for testing in this second, and maybe final, cycle of the VanSel drug trial.  The usual challenge on such days is to find a vein. Yesterday's additional challenge was to find a way around a "fatberg" in order to reach hospital in the first place...

One of the sewers in central Oxford has collapsed under the weight of a giant ball of fat and other stuff - the "fatberg".  A road in the city centre has been closed and traffic diverted around the station area.  

Oxford's traffic system is finely balanced at the best of times; one hiccup and there's a problem.  Yesterday, the start of the two week road closure to remove the fatberg and rebuild the sewer, traffic ground to a halt.  We were late for the hospital appointment and even later getting home again.  

Caught by the local paper's photographer, we are in the second silver car behind the blue van..sitting....waiting...and waiting....

Tied to specific dose times, Steve had no option but to take his trial drugs in the car, sitting in a traffic jam.  Luckily we had both drugs and water with us for emergencies.  We eventually abandoned the car in a side street just within our Residents Parking Zone and walked the rest of the way home. The car's still there (at least I hope it is!)

We have the same problems again today - finding a way around the "fatberg" traffic diversions to get to hospital for Steve's scan, then finding a vein for the contrast dye used to show up everything more clearly on the scan. But there is an added complication - finding the time to eat....

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will know that Steve takes his trial drugs twice a day at set times, usually 11.30 am and 11.30 pm.  He must not eat and can only drink water for two hours before and one hour after taking the dose.  In effect, this means fasting between 9.30 and 12.30 every morning and evening.  

Those of you who have had a scan know that you are not supposed to eat or drink anything (except water) for 2 hours before the scan. Steve's scan today is at 2.00 pm, so nothing but water from 12 noon onwards.  In theory, this means that dose and scan "fasting" periods would overlap today leaving no time to eat lunch.  Oh oh!

Luckily, Steve has a little bit of flexibility about when he takes his drugs - up to an hour's window. Bringing forward his dose times last night and this morning little by little, meant we have been able to have a bite to eat late morning and were just about finished by midday.

According to the local media, traffic conditions in Oxford are just as bad if not worse today, so getting to the hospital will be a challenge again.  The bus companies have worked out a different diversion route after the major disruption to services yesterday, so maybe we'll use public transport instead and leave the car where it is for another day.  

If nothing else, living with mesothelioma has helped put life's other little challenges in perspective.  Right - take a deep breath and get on with it - here we go again.... 

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