Monday, 13 February 2012

Zapping and Fires.

Hmm, throughout our whole saga, I don’t think anything has gone without a hitch, and our visit to the hospital last Monday for the mapping scan and wotnot was no exception.

Everything was going very well and we got there safely, without a hitch, oh, apart from some old bat pulling right out in front of me along the main road as if I wasn’t there, but at least now I know what my car horn sounds like, although I think she was deaf because she didn’t even acknowledge that I had bibbed her and called her a stupid fecking cow.  I did think about getting out of my car at the next convenient stationary moment to give her a good telling off, but there weren’t any, so I had to follow her for a few miles while Ady and I were discussing her lack of driving skills, and how close I was to hitting her and how clearly my brakes are working well although perhaps I ought to check the tread on my tyres now. And then she turned off...well, it was more of a three point turn off actually, down another road. We gave her a final ‘silly cow’ comment coupled with a glare, and then carried on with our journey. Half a mile later, we had forgotten the incident had ever happened, until now that I am writing this blogette bit and I am going through all the events of the day in my mind!

Oh that’s right, it had been snowing over the weekend, and we did have a bit of a panic on about getting to the hospital at all, but my brother in law said that he would happily take us in my sisters 4WD, so we did have a back up emergency plan, but in the end, the roads were clear and we didn’t need them and actually, the bonnet of her car is much longer than mine, so probably would have hit the old woman with one foot in the grave and another on a banana skin who pulled out in front of me earlier, so every cloud and all that.
We got to the hospital in one piece, and so had everyone else so it seemed. Not a bloody parking space in sight! So we dumped the car on double yellows along with loads of other people and went in for our appointment. We have got this piece of paper that says we have free parking in the oncology bit that we leave on the dash board although I think we have to see the parking attendant to get some kind of weekly ticket or something when radiotherapy starts.
We signed in at reception, and they told us to go around the corner and wait in the seats by MacMillan. We were just on our way, and in front of us were a load of worried looking official people and a few nurses. There was also a bit of a burning smell.
One of the nurses went to the fire alarm and pressed it and the next minute, we are turned around and told to leave the building! Can you blood believe it !
Everybody started coming out of different doors, all wondering what was going on and quickly realising by the smell, that there was an actual fire.
Ady said to me “This will be something to write in your blog” and I thought, “Bloody brilliant, I must make sure I take notes” until various cancer patients in mid treatment were being brought out in wheelchairs, dressed in gowns with blankets over them. Then I forgot about my blog. I had to hold back the tears as I watched some clearly very unwell people being taken outside in the snow.
Why they couldn’t have moved them to the other end of the hospital in the warm, where they weren’t evacuating, I don’t know, but it made me very sad and humble.

We all had to stay outside for about half an hour while the fire engines turned up and did their thing and then we were allowed back into the main waiting area bit while all the side rooms and off shoots were checked.
The bouncers, guarding the doors to the rest of the hospital were all menopausal women with facial expressions of self importance doing a very important job. We were not allowed within a foot of their door.
Once the firemen had given the all clear, and the electrician was called to sort his wires out (which was the cause of the fire), the bouncers facial expressions immediately changed back to soft, gentle approachableness as they let us through and they went back to their secretarial roles.

We made our way round to the Macmillan bit where we were told to go and waited for our turn.

The people in radiotherapy are a nice bunch. They are all very cheerful and seem happy in their work.
Our first appointment was in the Quiet Room.
This was a chat with one of the radiographers about what was going to happen and the side effects to expect. Ady also had to sign the agreement form.

I hope Ive got this next bit right. Ady is going to have 52.5 Grays over 20 fractions.
The fractions meaning the amount of times and the grays meaning the amount you get....I think...

We then went to see a chap who was very nice, and had a chat with him. This time, Ady had to have a wee and then drink 500ml of water. He then has his radiotherapy about half an hour later.
They want your bladder full to minimize collateral damage. If your bladder is full, it lifts up and out of the way of any zapping, nearly, some of the bladder will get hit, but if your bladder is empty, then it will sit exactly where they want to zap the prostate bed and then he really will be buggered!

So after drinking his water, he went off for the mapping scan and tattoos. He has one tattoo on each hip and one in between his winkie and belly button so when they set the machine up, they know where to aim.
At the moment, the scan is with some rather brainy people who are probably good at physics and maths and they are working out where to shoot. We were told that this bit is a complicated process with angles and such like to take into consideration.
Ady will lie on a bed, and he has to go all floppy while the radiographers put him into position. Then this machine rotates all around him, stopping at each hip to have a blasting session and it stops above him to blast straight down through. With that bit, the radio wave things have to go somewhere, and unfortunately, that will be through his arse. Another pounding, the poor sod, and this is where we might get some problems. He also might sail through it...we will see.

So that was that, and they were lovely.
We then went off to speak to the receptionist about travelling expenses because thingamy from the government told us we could claim.
We were delighted to discover that we can have 10p per mile. YAY, so that means we get £1.75 each way. Better than nothing I spose, but what pissed me off, was that on the way home, I thought I would fill my car with petrol. I realised mid fill, that I was filling my car up with bloody expensive deluxe petrol. Bugger, so that is our travelling expenses gone already. The man in the petrol station told me it will be good for my engine and make my car run better. I can’t say I have noticed myself.

Just before I go, the benefits people wrote to tell us that Ady is not entitled to DLA, so I wrote back and said “I beg your pardon?” so they have written back and said OK we will think about it again and if you don’t hear from us in eleven weeks, then ring us.
Well, I wont be doing any such thing, I will just report them all to my new chum at Iains place. So there!

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