Today is always an odd day. It is the day I feel most well. The day, if any, that I bounce out of bed with something of a spring in my step. So to waste it sitting in a hospital Outpatient Department always feels very wrong. That I am seeing The Doc is some compensation.
I had my usual vampiric experience which thankfully is still going relatively well. Today I discovered that as a chemo patient I can jump the queue. Well, hurrah! The chemo unit has its own exclusive vampire but they are only available during the morning. In a room that is little more than a cupboard. Without windows, appropriately enough. Given that my appointment was during the afternoon, I had to attend the main phlebotomy area. Here, there is a numbered ticket system. I took a ticket, number 36. I glanced at the display which read number 20 and inwardly groaned. At that moment an official person (possibly a vampire in disguise, it was difficult to tell) noticed my bright yellow lab form with urgent stamped all over it in red. You shouldn’t be waiting, she said. Really? I answered. Go straight through, she commanded. I scurried along the corridor in reply.
Thanks to the lab within the chemo unit, my blood results were ready by the time I made it into The Doc’s room. I had been worried about them as my pesky neutrophils seemed to be falling off a cliff. Last month they measured 1.5 having dropped from 2.32 at the start of cycle one. I had expected this drop would continue and knew that should they get as low as 1.0 my treatment would be delayed. Thankfully (and somewhat bizarrely) my count has shot up to over 2 again so delays are off the agenda.
The Doc & I talked veins a fair bit. Mine are hanging in there. They do cause me concern. The Stuff (also called hirudoid cream) prescribed last time has helped. As has all the massage, the exercises and the heat pad. The cream my complementary therapy team mixed for me has been pressed into service many times a day. This is a mix of 120g aqueous cream with 12 drops of both black pepper and juniper essential oils. I have no idea if it works but it does remind me to massage my arm using upward sweeps of my hand and small circular movements with my thumb along all the sore veins which is apparently the thing to do. All this seems to be keeping them just about in working order. In other circumstances I would have requested a PICC line at the start of treatment. But my circumstances are such that I am allergic to all the dressings generally used with PICC lines. The Doc is keen to keep going with peripheral access given my allergies. I know things will get worse but hopefully they will not grind to a halt. Time will tell.
I left The Doc with a lipstick mark on his cheek and headed off to finalise my preparations for my fourth date with the poison.