Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Happy to report that I slept soundly, waking to a beautifully sunny morning, although rain is on the way this afternoon, they say…

I was conscious though of a sense of nausea that reminded me that I needed to take the anti-emetics given me by the hospital as well as drink some cool water. I had one pill of ondansetron left, a drug that I have taken previously to good effect. Its rather futuristic name has a strong aura of effectiveness.

 Capt. James T Kirk armed with an early version of the ondansetron.

I then swallowed a couple of pills of the second drug I have been given with which to battle the waves, called domperidone. I expect to continue this for another couple of days.

Dom Pérignon, not domperidone – too much of this will of course induce nausea.
Named after a French Benedictine monk of the 17th/18th centuries who introduced several improvements to the creation and storage of champagne, e.g. putting it in stronger bottles.
Those things done the next therapeutic task was to inject myself with G-CSF. The particular type I have been prescribed, Filgrastim, needs to be kept in the fridge, so the manufacturers recommend that you take it out of the cold and allow it to reach room temperature before injecting: it is less painful that way. The only complicating factor this morning was that the cat wanted to climb up on my chair just as I was about to do the deed, but in the end all went OK.

I have been reading up a bit on the causes and management of the nausea that is such a frequent companion of chemotherapy. One source, The Mayo Clinic in The States, mentions that the likelihood is higher in those under 50, from which I take some encouragement. There is also a significant psychological component, so that managing anxiety about feeling or being sick can be a powerful prophylactic. Previous experiences of feeling unwell can also heighten such anxiety to the point where history is more likely to, er, repeat itself.

I have also been nauseated in a different way by the current allegations that The News of the World engaged a private investigator after the disappearance of the unfortunate Milly Dowler in 2002. The story is that this individual hacked the murdered schoolgirl’s mobile phone and that journalists also deleted voicemail messages from her phone’s inbox, fuelling the sadly mistaken belief of her family and the police that she might be still alive some days after she went missing. The allegation is also made that this may have disrupted the urgent police investigation by destroying important evidence. If these allegations are well-founded, then we have to ask what certain people have in lieu of a normal conscience or moral compass. My mind has been filled for much of today with the thought that they should be sentenced to clean the pavements of our capital city with their tongues.

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