Oh dear! It has been a tough few days which apparently climaxed on Friday evening. Between 8pm and 4am I had more doctors assembled in my hospital room than I think I’ve ever consulted in a lifetime. No fewer than four of them wanted to listen to my chest. By the time the fourth approached my bed, I was cross and said “no!” and told her to go and ask the third doctor for the information she needed.
In my drowsiness I remember one of them standing at the bottom of the bed and saying, “you really are very unwell” – which I did not think was very helpful. They were trying to work out how to control the consistent high temperatures along with worrying low blood pressure and a chest infection. At one point the Head of the Intensive Care Unit came to call saying he didn’t have a place that night but he felt that I could move in to the Unit on the morrow. Fortunately, by morning, they’d agreed a new treatment regime which seemed to work and the panic abated.
The funniest thing about that night, perhaps, the only funny thing that night was when at about 3am the nurses started clearing my room of all furniture and the door opened and a man dressed in white, dragging behind him what looked like a small white house entered the room. It was enormous. Drugged to the eyeballs, I truly thought, I’d started to hallucinate. He manoeuvred it in with some difficulty and the started assembling it. I thought a bedroom was going to emerge and that he was some hi-tech hobo who had to choose a different location every night in which to assemble a bed and lay down his weary head and that tonight it was my turn to accommodate him. But, as the assembling of different parts proceeded, it turned out to be a mobile x-ray unit. It had all the gizmos. When he opened it out there was a little control room for him to sit in, monitors, the lot. They shoved a frame behind my back in the old fashioned way and “beep”, it was done .
It didn’t get that much better until today when I know I’m definitely on the mend. I’m still unable to eat more than five or six hundred calories a day, but I’m much stronger. My neutrophils, those pesky little beasts we talked about in earlier blogs, are rising fast. They are currently over the figure at which I was told I could go home. So with leads leading out of my arm, a catheter and an oxygen feed through the nostrils, when my dour Scottish consultant, Professor Steve Mckinnon came to see me this afternoon, I said to him, “I assume I can go this afternoon?”It’s the first time I’ve made the dour Scotsman laugh. “It’s likely to be another two weeks,” he told me.
Major panic today, my daughter Sarah has given me a purple toy cat. I was clutching her through out the whole stem cell transplant. It’s funny how you start attaching undue importance to such apparently meaningless things but when I came back from a procedure in the bowels of the hospital this morning, Catty as we call her had disappeared. A major alert was put out in the ward and my favourite Irish nurse, Maria, even went to the laundry to check all the bags of dirty linen. Catty was found among my sheets! And she’s lying on my chest purring as my daughter Sarah writes this.