Monday, 15 August 2011

Melphalan Monday

Last night as we were walking back to the hotel -from a very nice meal at a wonderful and absurdly reasonable South Indian restaurant that I used to lunch in 21 years ago in the days when lunches were not despised as the preserve of wimps and which it was extremely pleasing to find under the same management after all this time - a mere youth, whose voice, emanating from the safety of a passing car, was clearer than his good sense, insulted my bum bag as if it were a mere frumpy and outdated fashion statement.

Unluckily for him I was in time to vaporise him to the four corners of the known universe with a swift blast of Yobba Rays from the weapon recently authorised for inclusion in such bags by a secret NHS committee.

I wish...

In reality the pump within the bag delivered its last dose of noxious substance to me in the small hours of this Monday morning. Having done its duty, the pump was disconnected from my PICC line by a nurse this morning and, the bag no longer being around my waist, I have stopped listing to the left. The only reminder of of the pump's activities is an itchy rash on all four limbs from the cytarabine, for which I have been prescribed antihistamine tablets.

Today was Melphalan Monday and in the dreaded stuff went on a 30-minute drip this morning. Looks just like all the other chemo; actually they have all looked like water or even GIN, readers. I now await more concrete evidence of its presence in the form of digestive upsets and possible mouth and throat sores, although I hope to have avoided, or at least mitigated, the latter by consuming three ice lollies and two chocolate and raspberry McFlurries before, during and after the infusion. For some reason cooling the mouth at these stages is of appreciable benefit (and, even if they prove ineffective, they were yummy).

The mcFs were suggested by another WM patient who is some days ahead of me in this process and whom I had the great pleasure of visiting on the top floor of the main hospital this afternoon - my, what a view you get from there! West London spread itself before me: therapy in itself.

It was really good to see him and chat over our several experiences with treatment as well as talk of other things. He has done extremely well, all things considered, and tells me that the fact that he has conquered the oral effects of Melphalan is a source of wonder to the care team. Good on him and his wife and I hope he is able to be discharged home really soon, as he wishes.

Our daughter came up today and we went out for an Italian meal in a small restaurant in Goodge Street, where I may not have had Yobba Rays at my disposal but did have sufficient British pluck to have a pair of customers moved on from the terrace, where they were smoking. The restaurant management, being relaxed about things, allowed them to carry on indulging their unpleasant addiction at the rear of the premises, so it was only a partial victory. In the interests of a quiet life I thought better of mentioning to management that smoking in either location was illegal.

What a prig I sound! Don't care. It went some way to easing the frustration of having my laptop start failing to, er, start this afternoon, having worked earlier in the day. Having fiddled about I can persuade it boot into a "guest account", which will at least enable me to watch DVDs while I am in hospital. I may be able to organise a swift repair tomorrow at one of the many techie places based on or around Tottenham Court Road (London's Mecca for geeks), but frankly my time for organising this and seeing it through is now very limited. A bit like sitting on a time bomb.

Although computer issues can be infuriatingly all-consuming, tomorrow there is even more important work to be done. I will be getting my stem cells back, the valiant little fellows!

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