My hospital visits are now thankfully reducing as fast as sales of Lance Armstrong’s memoirs. But anxious to get the most from our ‘season ticket’, my children have done their best to take up any slack over the last few days. So let me tantalise you with the edited highlights.
Joseph had eyes bigger than his belly, Lois’s finger was hanging by a thread and I was de-ported. Still with me? Good, then we’ll continue.
Friday “Hello, this is Holmer Green School, can you please collect your son, he has lost all vision in his left eye and we think he may have a detached retina”. Champion. I am not allowed to drive yet, so Supermum was drafted back on the case and despatched with my one eyed son to Stoke Mandeville. Thankfully, it turned out to be a visual migraine resulting from a kick boxing accident the night before. And if that wasn’t enough, the other eye jealous of all the attention, got itself splashed with hydrochloric acid (albeit thankfully highly diluted!). Hypnosis alert; look into my eye.
Monday: “Hello this is Wycombe High School, can you please come and collect your daughter and take her to A&E as she’s just had her finger sewed to the sewing machine”. Awesome. Not the words you want to hear when you are still learning to control your bowels! Supermum had just been allowed out again on parole to the local Tesco’s for provisions, but was quickly yanked back on the extendable lead we have supplied her with. Dumping the shopping for my Dad to colllect, she drove me to the school to hold Lois’s other hand whilst the needle was swiftly removed with the help of gas and air. (Note to Lois’s future husband reading this after 2025 at the very least, or there’ll be words, she doesn’t ‘do’ gas and air, think again). But not one tear or word of compaint. Top girl. Look away now; squeamish picture alert. Oops too late!
And In other news, I was de-ported today. My ‘power’ portacath or USB port as I call it was finally allowed to be removed. I know I’m not out of the woods for years yet, but 6 months of clear CT scans was enough to make me want to get the last reminder of cancer apparatus removed from my front body. And as my oncologist cheerfully reminded me, I can always have one put back in if the cancer comes back. Cracking news. But with a great big fat caveat that I still have private healthcare, because nuking you through a closed port straight into your jugular is classed as a luxury, naturally.
So here’s the drill for taking out a portacath. No sedation. More on that later. But lots of local anaesthetic which I was warned would feel like I was being stung by a bee. I put on a nice hat, was told to lay down and look right whilst I was covered in a sheet of plastic hooked over a drip stand, not unlike an abattoir I felt. A section was cut out exposing my left chest and a stray boob.
There’s quite a bit of cutting, shuffling and pulling around inside your chest to locate it (apparently mine was deep. I was strangely proud of this) and some rather disarming scraping noises. So to avoid focusing on what was going on with my jugular (yes my surgeon come radiologist come rock star did tell me he could cause a bleed but I was comforted to hear he “knows how to stop it”) my mouth was unleashed and I talked non-stop about all manner of nonsense. The procedure took just over half an hour to remove during which time I learnt (or thought I learnt) that:
My surgeon stitched me up with pink cotton (apparently not, demands for “More pink” whiilst he was sewing meant something entirely different). Any liquid I felt trickling down my chest was to be identified as follows; “If it’s warm it’s blood, if it’s cold it’s pink”. My portacath wasn’t “stitched down” in position explaining the awful bother my chemo nurses had to keep the blighter still so they could stab it with one of their thick needles each time. Pat doesn’t have her own slide, it’s a slide to move patients onto beds apparently (PATSLIDE). My chest x-ray was clear of any left-over bits of tubes and stuff. And finally, my radiologist was a thoracic surgeon and is also a part time rock star which I will now be looking up on youtube. I mentioned I was also on youtube dressed as a bananagiraffe to which he replied “Why doesn’t that surprise me?”.
The last words I heard him utter to his nurse as he wiped sweat of his brow; “My goodness we should have sedated this one after all. My ears are bleeding more that her wound”.
I now have to wait four dry (note to self do not get chest wet) days before I can inspect it and thank Dr Radio/Chest/Rock star for his neat sewing. Hopefully no fingers were lost in this episode. Righto, I’m now feeling a bit light headed, so going to rest my head. Amuse yourself in the meantime with a picture of the removed specimen in a jar.