Visitors since 20 January 2010

Friday, 26 March 2010

Hospitals, Hotels, Chaves, Lifts and Gay Pride

Yesterday Macmillan Nurse “LH” came to call, both to get a chance of seeing us in our own world and to find out how I was getting on. A most successful visit I think, we both like her and she talks a lot of good sense. She suggested that we should plan some short breaks and to me this sounds a really good idea – just not in the next few weeks – wait until after the school Easter Holidays and then look for a midweek break in Norfolk or Suffolk at a nice country hotel that is also dog friendly. And then there is also London Pride on July 3rd – anyone know of a central London Hotel that’s cheap and has a lift – later in the blog as to why I might need a lift.

And so – we are looking for a dog friendly hotel in Norfolk or Suffolk that does midweek breaks – anyone know of one and a cheap central London Hotel with a lift – again can anyone help?

Anyway and so on........ last night I was just going to bed – and I found the stairs a tad difficult and was puffing as I got undressed, when my heart started to behave very strangely and erratically – this got worse and we called NHS direct who – after a list of symptoms – erratic heart, (and fast) pain in chest - sent for an ambulance.

The medics took an ECG and that showed that my heart was indeed behaving badly and I was loaded up and taken to hospital – by this time though I was feeling much better. Arriving at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital the pain in my chest had gone and my heart – by the hospital’s ECG - was behaving normally. By the time that Gavin and Julia had arrived they had followed the ambulance, they said that I was looking better than I had for a couple of days or so – must be all the attention! Anyway after a few hours the decision was reached to send me home – the Doctor checked my “meds” and made us all – Gavin, Julia and I - promise that any re-occurrence and 999 would be dialled!

And so – after a good night’s sleep in our own bed I feel fine! But I am amazed at the behaviour of 20% of the “Great British Public” in Accident and Emergency at the Hospital – these people should be thanking god for the care that the NHS gives them – not being drunken Chaves who my best friend Julia wanted to hit with a shovel – should one have been handy..

I went upstairs just now to speak to Gavin in his den and was surprised how I was panting and puffing when I got to the top and that’s just one floor – that’s why when we do London Pride I am going to need a hotel with a lift – we once stayed on the 7th floor of a hotel in Victoria with no lift – it certainly made you plan when you were going up to your room or down to get something from the shop.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

“I Don’t Hear You Cough”

“I don’t hear you cough” – That’s what Gavin (pictured) said last night and it’s true that since upgrading my dose of “Oxycodone” to 10mg night and morning I don’t cough very much if at all – well I do if I think about it but otherwise......... A triumph for Dr. “K”. I didn’t realise how bad the coughing was till I was talking to my cousin Tim and his wife Barbara about the it. She remembered me talking on the phone to Tim and she could hear non-stop coughing in the Kitchen from the phone in the Living Room. Thank Goodness that just doesn’t happen now. In fact the non-coughing is so good and as if it never was that I start to think I can stop the “Oxycodone” to see what happens! Probably a bad idea.

Speaking of “Oxycondone” I was reading an article about Heath Ledger at the weekend – “Oxycondone” was one of the prescription drugs that killed him – makes you think! I wonder if I’ll get a posthumous Oscar?

Meanwhile the Fish Shakes are doing what they are supposed to do! I am not sleeping through the day – I don’t feel as tired - and I have stopped losing weight – HURRAH. But my sleeping at night is becoming very erratic, last night I slept like a top – all through the night – but the night before was terrible, awake from 01:00 and finally getting up at 04:00 as I was just lying there.

So – seeing Dr. “RB” very shortly and the bread maker is making dough for fresh rolls for lunch. But after seeing Dr. “RB” and before lunch a trip to Catton Park if the sun stays out. I won’t be walking far – the morning walk up the hill in Sewell Park seems longer and further every day, but Daisy and I will sit in the sun and one of us will have a sniff about whilst Gavin and Jack go for a walk through the spring! A couple of months ago I thought that I was sinking but - thanks to Gavin's support, the support of other friends and family, Medical Treatment and Dr. "K", Dr. "RB" and nurse "LH" that seems to have plateaued. I sometimes feel very, very fortunate.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Fish Shakes and Bananas

I had my very, very first ProSure Fishy Milkshake for breakfast today, a banana flavoured one – disappointingly it didn’t taste of Kipper or Mackerel, which “LH” had suggested it might. It didn’t taste much of banana either – just sort of thick yellow flavour – which makes it sound worse than it is and to be honest it’s not bad.

There is a website and that will tell you all about it – including the recipe page although disappointingly there is no mention of Gin there. There also seem to be several flavours mentioned there that I have not heard of – or that seem to be available on prescription “Cafe au Lait” and “Chocolate Fudge” – I have Vanilla and Banana.

Think of me when you are tucking into your Full English tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Phlebotomist, The Porky Pies, And the Spanish Galleon Under Full Sail!

A few days ago – before seeing Dr “K” yesterday – I went to one of our local hospitals to have blood – it seemed like gallons of it – taken for tests. Whilst there – as it was quiet – the two Phlebotomists were asking me about my treatment and who was looking after me amongst the Macmillan Nurses. I explained that I hadn’t actually met Macmillan Nurse “LH” was taking over but that I was going to meet her when I had my appointment with Dr “K” at Priscilla Bacon Lodge on Monday morning. “Oh” said one of the Phlebotomists , the bouncy one, “I know her, I’ve worked with her. She’ll really nice and you’ll like her a lot”

“That’s good to hear” I said “After all the troubles we’ve had....."

“She’s a very, very tall woman”, the bouncy Phlebotomist said. “And she’s.....” the bouncy Phlebotomist paused and looked at me, “well covered”

“Do you mean fat?” I asked

“Oh no!” said the bouncy Phlebotomist, a bit shocked that I should use the “f” word, “Well covered – she moves like a Spanish Galleon under full sail!”

On Monday Gavin and I were at Priscilla Bacon Lodge at 11:00 for our appointment with Dr “K” and to meet Macmillan Nurse “LH” – waiting quietly in Dr “K’s” consulting room waiting for Dr “K” when a very petite, slim woman came in – “Hello, “She said “I’m “LH””- and we had to explain that we were expecting someone much taller and er...well covered!

The consultation with Dr “K” went well. We first discussed the chest X-Ray which showed the largest growth to be growing at about 1mm a week – scary and it could keep doing that or it could just stop for a bit or – worst case scenario – growth could speed up. There are a lot of other growths in both lungs but Dr. “K” explained that the radiologist usually just report on the largest growth to give an idea what is happening overall.

Then we had a look at the “Bloods” on which there is nothing much out of the ordinary – liver function is a tad abnormal. We know that I have lesions/growths on the liver- that is what was spotted just before my operation some 3 years ago, when the classic comment was made “Your life expectancy is not as other men” – Anyway there is nothing on the “bloods” report to show why I am getting so fatigued.

The four of us – Dr “K”, petite Nurse “LH” Gavin and I, then discussed d what symptoms I had and what was worrying me the most. And so – in no special order – it goes like this.

The cough – this is almost certainly the growths in my lungs setting of the cough reflex – at the time of the consultation I was on three 5mg pills of oxycodone – Hill Billy Heroin – 2 in the morning and one at night – that has now been increased to 2 in the morning and 2 at night.

Breathlessness – I get very out of breath going upstairs or walking any distance but at the moment we decided to do nothing about this – there are drugs and techniques but for the moment I can deal with it.

Constipation/Diarrhoea – it seems funny to link these two but Oxycodone acts to bung me up – too much in the way of laxatives and I have the opposite problem – one is as bad as the other so it’s a matter of me getting the balance right!

Loss of Weight and lack of Interest in food That’s it really I’m not interested in food and I’m loosing weight slowly but steadily. But there may be something that can help!

Fatigue – I get very tired and at the moment it can’t really be treated as we are not sure why and most drugs are contra-indicated by either my diabetes or my heart (which was damaged by the chemotherapy – maybe) ....... Anyway Dr. “K” says that there is a new – Fish Oil based – fortified drink over which there is some interest amongst the Medical fraternity. It has two main effects – firstly to build the patient up and secondly to relieve tiredness. Both Dr “RB” my GP and Dr “K” didn’t think that it was worth prescribing the usual build you up drinks – Complan and the like as they thought that it just stopped you eating a proper diet but this – Fish Oil based drink/food might be a little different. We were concerned that the flavours it came in might be odd – “LH” suggested Mackerel or Kipper flavour – which sounds disgusting; but it turns out they come in strawberry or banana. I’ll be picking up a supply this afternoon and starting on them tomorrow. I’ll let you know how disgusting they taste.

Although it souds strange I am quite fortunate in my symptoms - NO PAIN - although Dr "K" and "LH" said that it could be controled not having pain seems to me to be a GOOD THING!

And so that was our visit to Dr “K” yesterday – Nurse “LH” is great - funny, witty and full of valuable insights. We like her very much. As for my friend the bouncy Phlebotomist – she has had her revenge for me screaming at the top of my voice when she took blood a couple of months ago – just wait till I see her next!!!!

Friday, 5 March 2010

All The Latest X-Ray Results

Last Friday I had my latest chest X-Ray - The results are in! This X-Ray was taken on the 26th of February and is compared to the last X-Ray taken on the 6th of January

The largest pulmonary deposit, situated in the LEFT mid zone, now has a maximum diameter of 11.8 cm (previously 11 cm). The other metastatic deposits in both lungs have also increased in size since the previous examination dated 6th January 2010. Pleural spaces clear. No other features.

I guess that explains why the cough is getting a bit worse but to know more or at least to understand better I shall have to ask Dr. "K" when I see her on Monday, when I will also have some "Bloods" results at the same time - hopefully we can find out why I get so tired. Although right now - at 15:49 - I don't feel tired at all.

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Angel of Death - Replaced!

I have just received a really nice phone call - when I picked up the phone a voice the other end asked if I was Richard or Gavin - "Richard" I said - The voice said - "I'm the replacement Angel of Death!" and laughed. How easy it is to win 5000 points out of a possible 50 from me! It was Macmillan Nurse "LH" and we had a long chat - she offered to visit but the present plan is that we'll meet her when we see Dr "K" next Monday morning and in the end we decided to leave it like that - so next Monday we'll see Dr. "K" and meet Nurse "LH". I'm quite looking forward to it.