Just one little telephone call…

On Monday 20th August both Andrea and I were off work with some kind of bug we’d picked up.  Nothing major, but we had a kind of ‘flu-like lethargy and general achiness that parked us both on the sofa for most of the day.  Towards the evening, it occurred to me that my night’s sleep might be improved by taking a paracetamol or an ibuprofen, but I wasn’t sure if I can take either of these on top of all the other pharmaceuticals I pop daily.  So I gave the chemotherapy advice number a quick ring to check…

After a few questions, and a temperature measurement, I was asked to come in to the hospital for the night.  So I packed a bag, got dropped off at the hospital and settled in to an evening of being poked, prodded and tested in D3 ward (one of the main cancer care wards at Southampton General Hospital).  I was also started on some broad spectrum IV antibiotics.  They finally left me alone at around midnight, though with the curious possibility that I might be taken for a chest x-ray “some time overnight”.  Fortunately they left me to sleep and the chest x-ray happened the next day (and was entirely clear), when I was also moved to C6 ward (the leukaemia and bone marrow transplant ward).  This was an interesting preview of the ward where I’ll be when I have the high dose chemo and stem cell transplant later on.  The facilities are excellent, in particular in the new section of the ward.

Despite the quality of the accommodation, I was hoping to go home, but the registrar said that they wanted me to stay in for another night to be sure that my temperature had come down entirely.  Also, with Friday being the last (4th) Velcade treatment day of my second cycle of chemo, they were keen to get me as recovered as possible beforehand, to avoid the chance of that last dose of Velcade not happening.  I was also still being given IV antibiotics, with a saline drip (including extra potassium), so I had the fun of wheeling my drip stand around after me (including for night time visits to the bathroom) which took a bit of getting used to, and not until I’d got into a few textbook amateur tangles.

So by Wednesday I was pretty sure I should be able to go home, and certainly felt OK.  It was a bit of a surprise then to be told that I had to stay in for yet another night.  I was also moved out of the individual (isolation) room and into a shared 4-bed ward (though with only one other patient) for Wednesday night.  At least by now I was only on oral antibiotics.

Finally, come Thursday morning, having had no sign of a temperature for over 24 hours, the registrar said I could go.  The further delay though was waiting for a bunch more pills (including some antibiotics) to come from the pharmacy.  After waiting for a couple of hours, I gave up waiting, checked out and went back to work.  I picked up the pills that evening.

Perhaps a little naive of me, but this wasn’t the outcome of the “can a pop a paracetamol” telephone call that I was expecting.  The blood values listed on my discharge paperwork do seem (to my eye) to suggest that my immune system probably isn’t firing on all cylinders, so perhaps understandable that they wanted to be cautious with me…


One response to “Just one little telephone call…”

  1. Bek says :

    Glad to hear you are back home and feeling better. Thinking of you Love Bek

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