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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!!!!

5 comments:

Chairman Bill said...

You think you've got problems? I think I have toothache!

;o)

kieran said...

interesting to get an inside view on this part of the medical world..

The Spiv said...

I'd be really interested to know more about your kipper milkshakes! I have an 11 year old grandson with autism and ADHD who the doctor has put on Complan (and other similar type drinks) to try and build him up. He has no interest in food generally, and actually looks like one on the starving African kids that we saw during the Biafara crisis and BandAid. He too, obviously, suffers from fatigue as a result of not eating, so anything that might break the cycle would be helpful.

On a personal note - I'm so pleased that "LH" is everything that you hoped she would be!

The Irascible Fairy said...

Mr Spiv - Hmmmm I can't help you very much I'm afraid - The drink is called "ProSure" The taste leaves something to be desired but is not Fishy - It comes in three flavours - Banana, Vanilla and Orange. I have only tried the banana so far - and it's OK....

There is a web page which might be more helpful than anything I could tell you!

All the best

Richard

Tony said...

As I live on fish, mainly, and meat has, with coffee, gone off my "taste list" following my recent operation, I am delighted that there IS a fish based drink. I will try it out when I return from the Sun.
Trust YOU to get the pretty one in the Clinic. I wonder if LH thinks the same about you?!?!?!
I'm sure she does! Now be GOOD, Richard

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