Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Three more days done.

On Monday, it was Andy’s turn to do the hospital run.
The girls are loving being taken to school every morning..we might as well cos we are going past every day and they dont really like getting the bus, but Ady’s appointment on Monday was changed to 12.40. Luckily for the girls, I was still passing in the morning  cos I had to give my elderly lady I look after a bath.
The girls were pretty loud in the car and very happy, singing away and making jokes. As I dropped them off, I reminded the about their bus passes for the bus home, and Charlotte happily announced that she had forgotten hers and so I will have to pick them up too.
I agreed to that, knowing Charlotte had probably forgotten it on purpose, but I had other plans!
I think Charlotte was a bit pissed off when Ady and Andy delivered her pass to school later on in the morning on the way to hospital, so she had to get the bus after all!..cheeky little monkey!
Anyway, Andy and Ady merrily went off, like tweedle dum and tweedle dee with my strict instructions about what time to start drinking.  We had completely lost our benefit scroungers freebie parking ticket, so Ady also had strict instructions about getting another one of those too. They left at 11.30, by which time I was back from bathing my lady. I thought to myself, right I am going to have a nice sit down for a minute or two, and relax.
I made myself a nice cup of coffee and as I sat down, I looked around the dining room and noticed Ady had left his blue hospital shoe things behind *sigh*..I tell you, these men are bloody hopeless at times!
Never mind, Ady got some more at the hospital. All went well and on time and they were back home in the afternoon, just in time to have a sleep while watching Dickensons Real Deal, God help us all!....Christ, he will discover Loose Women next and thank the Lord his appointments usually run when Jeremy’s Vile show is on!

Tuesday was Roy’s day. The girls like Roy taking them to school cos his car has heated seats and brilliant suspension, unlike my little Ignis where the suspension is as small as the car and only has 3 doors.
That all went well too although the TV said they were running half an hour late when they were running five minutes. Usually, that sort of thing is not a problem, but when you are trying to time your bladder and piss, 25 minutes makes a huge difference! But it’s no biggie and all went well.
Ady is getting up much more in the night for a wee now, and in fact, last Sunday, he got up five times in the night...I’m flipping knackered!

Now, I get really fed up of thinking two or three times a day “ Oh sigh, what shall I cook for dinner tonight” and then go through a whole load of things that I can be bothered to cook and what will defrost quickly and wishing I had decided the day before so I could defrost the meat in time. The whole thinking process and sighing that goes with it, takes up a lot of my day, so I decided that I would do a menu for the week, so all I now have to do is sigh and think once a week. Everyone knows what they are eating so I am not constantly questioned and then moaned at cos they dont want that and can they have this instead. I refuse to cook four different meals to please everyone every evening, so they get what is put on their plate and like it, unless me and Charlotte want curry, then they others can have eggs on toast.
I am so full of shite that instead of writing for Monday pork chops mash and veg, I wrote ‘Slow roasted pork chops in a rich gravy with tender carrots, creamy mashed potatoes, French beans and petit pois.
And instead of sausages chips and beans, I have written ‘ locally produces sausages (well, Sainsburys is local innit), French fries and succulent baked beans in a rich tomato sauce.
The kids love it and think they are in a hotel and I love it cos I know what I am doing all week now and shop accordingly. I am saving miwyons!

Today was Diana’s turn to do the hospital run. Ady’s appointment was at 10 to 10, so enough time to drop the girls to school, get to the hospital and have coffee and scones. Hmm, do people call them scones or sconns? The spelling speaks for itself to me. Anyway, they had a good run through and even all the lights were green, so Ady has decided that he will go with Diana more often! There were even spaces in the oncology parking area..that’s never happened before!
Ady said it was lovely chatting to Diana and they talked nonstop all the way there and back although I am sure if I ask Diana, she will tell me the truth,and that Ady talked nonstop all the way there and back!
Ady was called in ten minutes early for his zapping and I expect the nurses were really chuffed that they were running early.
There are two zapping rooms, one is LA5 and the other is LA6 and today Ady was in LA6. When he had finished his days zapping, no one helped if off the bed like they usually do. He says it is a really hard bed to get off, so he put his hands on the side of the bed to try and  pull himself up. He didn’t realise there were a load of buttons just under the bed, which of course he pressed while he was trying to grip. The silly bugger only switched the whole thing off and buggered it up so much that they had to get the engineer to come and fix it.
Luckily Ady had been zapped, so he made his apologies, found Diana who was happily watching the news and told her to hurry up cos he had just broken the machine!
They got home safely and I think the radiotherapy is taking its toll now. He has belly ache and is really knackered. At the moment, he is fast asleep on the sofa. Bless him.

I bet they are running late this afternoon!!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Nearly half Way.

On Monday, my brother in law, Andy, did the hospital run which was really helpful because it let me get on with other stuff.
Diana (my sister) and Andy really want to help us. They offered help last year with Ady’s car MOT but because we had so much help from the lovely HHOers, we didn’t need it at that time. We were overwhelmed with offers of help then, which was so lovely and needed!  so I have put some offers of help in the bank so to speak.
Ady is really fatigued from the Casodex and I think that this saga is going to be a long one!
I have this horrible feeling that when this is all over, and Ady decides to go back to work (hopefully), that the bloody PSA is going to start rising. The more I learn about this disease, the more I realise that there are no guarantees. From what I can gather, this treatment he is having will lengthen the time to a recurrence, but it doesn’t improve the survival rate..perhaps I have read it wrong..I dunno.

Anyway, off the two boys went for the 11.15 appointment. (It had been changed from 9.25). Ady had strict instructions to start drinking his water at 10.25 and have it drunk by 10.30 and DONT wee. When they got there, they were told that there had been a power cut that morning and there was a 90 minute delay, so Ady had a wee and started his drinking routine again.
Ten minutes before his appointment, he was absolutely desperate for a wee and simply couldn’t hold on any longer, so he missed his slot and had to do the whole drinking thing again..anyway, they finally got home sometime after lunch. Glad I wasn’t doing that trip!
Our lovely friend Roy took him on Tuesday and as far as I can gather, it all went without a hitch.
Diana was doing the Wednesday run, but rang on Tuesday evening to say she was not well at all. We agreed that it would be much better if I did it so he didn’t catch her lurgy.
There was a bit of a delay on the Wednesday but by now, the side effects were starting to kick in.
Ady is up about three times a night having a wee and disturbs my television viewing in the evening getting up and down, to and fro to the toilet!
And he now gets a 30 second warning for a poo.

Thursday was my birthday and Ady’s appointment was 9.50 for the MacMillan review and 10.10 for the radiotherapy.
We dropped the girls to school and arrived to the hospital early, so we decided to have a scone and coffee. It was really nice with a very pretty outside area with ponds and flowers and French doors with the sun streaming through...I felt a bit like I was on holiday actually.
I was having a lovely time, answering peoples happy birthday texts, munching on my scone and sipping my coffee, enjoying the sun through the window, when Ady said “ Em, some of the people in here look really ill”
“Do they?” I said, and looked up and noticed that the waiting room had filled up.
Poor Ady looked really worried and upset. I could tell what was going on in his mind. He didn’t want to be reminded that he might look horribly ill one day too. Behind the scenes, and behind his brave face and jokes, he is petrified of what is to come. We both are.

We moved from that main waiting room to the radiotherapy waiting room where people don’t look quite so ill. Adys appointments came and went, we had a lovely chat with Geraint about Ady’s side effects.
We understood that the side effects would happen towards the end of treatment and for a few weeks after because radiotherapy has a cumulative effect and builds up in the system.
Geraint said that Ady is on a higher dose over a shorter period, so the side effects will be pretty quick. He showed me the pictures of the mapping scan and where they are blasting. I was surprised to see that they are blasting about a third of his bladder and shooting right through his arse..poor sod. Anyway, we are getting there!

In the afternoon, we went to my allotment. Ady thought he would do a bit of pruning for me which is fine cos it is only a bit of snipping and cutting twigs and things.
I have a square that I had dug a few weeks ago which needed levelling off with one of those prong things, so I set to it in a womanly way. Ady came up to me and said “You are wasting your time tickling the soil like that, you need to do it like this” and started doing it properly. After a couple of minutes, he stopped and looked up...bloody hell he was dripping with sweat and as white as a sheet.

We had a few words and I have banned him from the allotment if he is going to behave like that again! He is on pruning and looking duties ONLY!
I can see that Ady is going to be a difficult patient who is in complete denial and I will be spending a lot of my time telling him off!

Friday went without a hitch but we have had to cut Ady’s drinking time to the half hour mark cos he just cant hold it otherwise. I hope his bladder will be full enough.

Mondays time has changed from 9.40 to 12.40. Andy is doing that trip again.

So that’s it at the moment. Oh no, there was another thing I have been meaning to say.

Some people have said to Ady “Aren’t you driving yourself to the hospital?” in a surprised tone that he isn’t.
That sort of comment irritates Ady. He says there is no way he would be able to keep awake enough or concentrate enough to drive home. He also says that to him, Maidstone is Indian territory and he would just get lost and in a panic about where he is.
The last few years has changed Ady a lot. He doesn’t have the confidence he once had at all. He was never one that was overflowing with confidence in the first place, but he is very unsure these days and as long as he has someone by his side every step of the way, he will be fine.

Why anyone would expect a cancer patient to drive themselves to hospital for their treatment, alone, is beyond me. Everyone, in the waiting room, has a companion with them and Ady will have one too.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Two More Days Done.

I was planning on doing a small update after each session, or couple of sessions, but to be honest with you, I haven’t had time to fart, let alone write a blog!
This whole hospital thing pretty well takes up half of the day...well, it feels like it anyway..

On the second day, we were having a ‘Macmillan review’ at 9.30 and then radiotherapy at 9.45.
We got to the hospital for about 9am and checked in. The receptionist said that Heather would be calling us for a chat and to wait in the waiting room. If she didn’t come, then see the receptionist after the treatment and they would find her for us.
So, off we went and settled ourselves in. Ady had nearly finished his water and I had a hot chocolate. In the waiting room is a nice big screen with News 24 on and then along the bottom it calls out the name of the next person and where they need to go. We like that.
There was no sign of Heather by the time Ady was called for his zapping session so we told the receptionist. She tried to call her and there was no answer, so she asked around and no one seemed to know where she was...some people weren’t too sure exactly who she was either.
We were told to sit down and wait and Heather would be with us as soon as they had found her. So we waited for 45 minutes and then I started to get a bit irritated. I don’t mind things being late and having to wait at all, but it really pisses me off when no one actually knows what is going on and you are waiting for something to happen that no one actually knows who, when or where...just that there is an appointment.
Well, I told the receptionist in the nicest possible way that I was starting to get irritated with this whole not knowing thing and we had been at the hospital for about two hours by this time, so the receptionist still couldn’t find Heather, but along came Gariant.
He was a really lovely chappy who explained that usually, once a week they have a chat with the patient about any side effects and wot not while they are having the treatment, but they feel that it is a bit rushed and so they have decided that they are going to make a separate appointment each week for a ten minute chat instead. Ady’s was their very first appointment so the whole thing was full of teething problems.
Once that was explained, the waiting simply wasn’t a problem!
Ady asked about the whole water drinking saga and what exactly is the right thing to do, and basically, the nurse the day before had got it wrong, and he needs to have his wee and then drink his water 45 minutes before. He needs to make sure he drinks plenty during the day so that he is not dehydrated, so when he drinks his water, it goes straight into his bladder and not his tissues.
I think Friday went without a hitch, although every time we check in, the receptionist checks the next days appointment times and changes them if needed.
Monday was changed from 9.25 to 11.15

So we had done three days of radiotherapy so far. I had been up at about 5.30 to get organised, sort girls things for school, get my elderly chap up washed and dressed by 7am, make sure Adys bag for hospital was sorted, feed the cats, do the fish and chickens and all of the rest of the stuff you have to do, but most importantly, just sit for 15 minutes with my coffee and fags, in peace and quiet and wait for my automatic ‘just woken up’ bad mood to pass into a not so bad mood and move into a ‘right, lets crack on’ mood, before I get everyone else up.
Ady and the girls get up about 6.45 and have breakfast and wander out of the door into the car, quite oblivious to what I have been doing already, and off we go to school and hospital.

We were driving back home last Friday and I was thinking to myself,” cor, I am glad this is only going on for four weeks cos this is quite hard trying to fit everything in and is quite draining physically and emotionally. I am glad I have a few days off and I must make sure I look after myself and don’t burn out, Oh, and I must remember to go through Charlotte’s school options with her and help her make the right choices, hmm, when has she got to have the sheet of paper in by?...bugger, I must remember to check the school letter....” And I was thinking of a whole load of other things I need to do and remember when Ady did a great big yawn and said “Cor, I’m absolutely shattered” and immediately fell asleep in the car before I could give him one of my glares!

I felt a bit bad for wanting to glare at him cos after all, he is the one going through the treatment and he is the one with the cancer. He is the one who has looked at a beautiful view and wondered if that might be the last time he sees that and he is the one who worries that he may not see the girls grow up, or see the grandchildren. He is the one who might not reach old age.

The next minute, a fecking great lorry came flying past me on the dual carriageway and then cut me up and slammed on his breaks at the roundabout so I nearly ended up sitting on his lap before he flew off over the roundabout and up the indicators or anything...tosser.