I came out of hospital on Sunday 29/4, and I reckon I can fairly claim to have a pretty torrid time. Some of the torridness (if indeed this can be a word) is a result of the combination of inhabitants of the room I was put into. I was in a three-bed ward, with two other men. In and of itself that isn’t a problem – I’m reconciled to sharing. However, one of the men was older and very sick (dying, in fact), and really should (in my personal and nursing opinion) have been nursed in a room by himself in order to give him some privacy and more dignity. The other man was quite well, and was only in hospital to prepare for apheresis (stem cell collection). He watched TV until very early in the morning – which I feel was inconsiderate and unhelpful. So, the room was loud, full of activity, too bright and in brief not at all restful. Add to this the peculiar (but seemingly entrenched) behaviour of many of the night nursing staff, who instead of using torches turn on room lights, talk in loud voices to one another in the room, or just outside, and who, instead of clustering activities during the night (for example, collect blood at 6am and take observations then, too) insist on performing them singly (collect blood at 5am, and then take observations at 6am). I was also probably affected by dexamethasone, which made it harder to sleep. And, unlike cycle 1A, I felt much more nauseated. In short, I didn’t have a good time, and was very happy to be out of hospital at 5pm on Sunday. I’m sorry if this sounds like a moan – which it is, I guess. But I think some things are avoidable and where there are, they should be avoided. It is one of the functions of nurses to take responsibility for issues like this. I got a patient satisfaction survey yesterday, and filled it in… I doubt the results will give someone much joy!

I’ve spent the week very nauseated – again, not like the previous cycles. This has been a pervasive and deep nausea which really sucked the life out of me. The drugs I was given – granisetron, cyclizine and metoclopramide, didn’t really help much. The nausea is passing now, thank goodness. Hopefully I can get some more effective antiemetics for next time.

I’ve not done much else, really. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday (today) the district nurses came to take blood and care for my PICC. Pete and I went out grocery shopping on Monday – small thrill! I’ve played with the dogs, read, cleaned a bit, watched the idiot box (selectively, though!) and looked at the internet. I’ve also caught up with a bit of correspondence.

My mind, body and spirit seem to be at a low ebb, though, and some dark thoughts and feelings crowd in from time to time. I doubt that there is anything to this than tiredness, weariness, and a sense of helplessness. Clarifying what is objective and what is subjective helps, as does talking to others. And possibly writing!

Monday to Friday next week brings apheresis, when I’ll have stem cells collected from my blood for reinfusion at a later time. It won’t be a hard week, but will most likely be long and tiring – I’m not looking forward to it too much. After that, all going well, I have until 17/5, when I go back into hospital for a B cycle: yuck – harder than the A cycle, so I’m not looking forward to it, or to the nausea, anaemia and tiredness that come with it.


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