Friday, 12 August 2011

Bumming around with a CADD

It has taken me until my 57th year to wear a bum bag, but the penalty imposed by the fashion police is that I now have to wear one for four days.

Woe betide the mugger who makes a beeline for this particular item though, thinking its bulk conceals a wad of dollars, euros or sterling. What the aspirant thief would instead find is a rectangular box with push buttons, an LCD screen, flashing lights and a payload of noxious chemical, in this case cytarabine: the sort of stuff that the nurses wear protective glasses to handle but which is currently being fed into my body on a daily basis.

The box is a CADD pump or "continuous ambulatory delivery device" and its function is to deliver a measured dose into my PICC line every twelve hours. As the Americans say: "do the math". This handy little (well "-ish") machine frees me from the necessity of hauling myself over to the hospital for a shot of cytarabine at 1am over four days.

The CADD was set up, attached and its basic workings explained to me yesterday. I have now spent nearly 48 hours in its company and am less self-conscious about it than at the start. Dressing and bathing are a bit of a challenge, but not insurmountably so: the lines from my arm to the pump, for example, are of sufficient length to allow the sensitive device to be kept clear of bath or shower water.

We even went to see the last Harry Potter movie last night: my wife, the CADD and I, although the pump was not eligible for a pair of 3D specs. Terrific movie, by the way, and containing a wonderful exchange between Harry and Dumbledore in a [spoiler alert] sort of anteroom to the Celestial Realms. It went something like:
Harry: "I suppose this is all happening in my head?"
Dumbledore: "The fact it's happening in your head doesn't mean it's any less real, you know".

OK, so the last line wasn't in the film, but my wife heard it from the seat next to her.

My faithful bladder woke me up in time to hear the reassuring sound of the pump doing its work in the small hours, but otherwise my sleep was deeper than the previous night.

After another excellent breakfast at the hotel (choice of streaky or back bacon, readers!) a rather quiet day has ensued. Apparently the crack team of East German germ warfare technicians made a cock-up in their bunker deep under Tottenham Court Rd and delayed mixing up my etoposide in their nuclear reactor for a wee while, so I have had a bit of waiting around. Enough time though for me to chat to fellow patients and blog and for my wife to get her hair cut and go window shopping.

I have also seen a consultant today.
Good news: lack of funny reactions so far most likely means that the cocktail of three drugs I am on until Monday is likely to be manageable in terms of side effects.
Not so good news: on Monday the Evil Melphalan struts on to the stage, his 30-minute entry threatening to bring in its wake a state of what Mad Magazine used memorably to call "Inna Labonza".

Oh well...

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