zen.org Communal Weblog

March 26, 2011

Going Militant

Filed under: — brendan @ 17:25 IST

My hair’s begun to fall out.  Well, some falls out, but more to the point I found it’s simple to pinch a bunch and it just comes out.  (Cuz of the Chemo.)  Today Elana borrowed a great hair trimmer from a friend, and also brought in our beard trimmer.

With the help of the nurses finding big green plastic bags to collect the hair on the floor, Elana did a great job trimming my head down with the #2 setting on the trimmer.  Apparently I look like an Army recruit, sans the uniform or gear.  The hair on my head is greatly reduced, so t least the volume of what’s still coming out will be less dramatic.  Same for trimming the beard.

Had a nice shower after that, in which some more hair opted to go swimming, but overall it wasn’t quite the dramatic experience I was expecting.  It just looks like I went to the barber and said I wanted to have a summer buzz-cut to make it more comfortable.

Keep Healin’

Another positive visit with the doctor this morning.  They (consultant doctor + team of like 3 or 4 other doctors) are happy with how things are going well.  Since I’ve now gone a number of days without a fever, they’re going to start taking me off the antibiotics and see how that goes.  She said the absence of a fever suggests my chest infection is going away, if not yet fully gone.  Next week the’re going to be watching my numbers looking for them to go up.

I don’t know how long it’ll be until I actually get out, but she said once I was, I’d be out for a week or more (depending on the delay of getting me in on a bed—apparently they’ve got a waiting list going).  Then I’d come in for a 7-day chemo treatment cycle, in contrast to the 10-day chemo I received at the start of this month.

No Gym at the Hospital

I’ve lost some weight recently, down to about 82kg (approx 179lb) from 85.5kg (189lb) when I started.  I’m trying to make sure I eat more for each meal to see if I can counter that.  e.g., I asked for a yogurt to have after dinner tonight (aka 4:30-5:00pm).  One theory the nurse has for my changes is that I’ve been retaining water over the last week or so, and having expeled a decent amount, the weight difference appeared.  I’ll probably meet with a dietitian next week about how to fix it up a bit.

They track everything; I keep a running list of what I’ve had to drink.  Since I was last asked (every few hours), I’ve had a glass of water, one box (189ml) of milk, and a cup of tea.  They use these numbers to try to match the volume of output—in the bathroom we each have the equivalent of a big plastic measuring cup which we’re to use for pee instead of the toilet.  I’m curious how they resolve discrepancies—e.g., they found I was outputting more than I was taking in, but I’m not sure how easy it is to do that.  (Aside from messing up my list-keeping.  And most of you know how I thrive on that. 🙂 )

Yesterday a physiotherapist came by to check my chest (fine) and also answer some questions I had about what sort of exercises I can do.  They’ve given me a sheet with a Physiotherapy Exercise Programme (Irish spelling), with six specific things to do—ideally all of them each day, but only if I feel up to it.  Things like raising and lowering legs, standing up on the tip of one foot, etc.  A lot of it is similar to the physio I got as part of recovering from the twisted ankle/strained ligament I got over the summer in Maine when I stepped into an invisible hole in the ground in the woods.  Anyway, this morning I did a few of the exercises, which felt really good.  Movement seems so much better that staying stationary all the time.

Staying Amused

Tonight Ireland’s football team is playing at 7:45pm against Macedonia.  I’m hoping I’ll have the energy to stay up and watch it. 🙂

In the interim, E brought in a Sudoku book we have.  I’m going to try doing some of those on paper, and see if there’s a difference in how my eyes feel compared to spending long periods of time reading email or writing.  (I’ve got a Sudoku game on my Aldroid mobile phone, but my eyes get tired after playing for about 15-20 minutes.)  I have a hunch regular paper will prove much more accommodating.  (Now if only I felt as comfortable writing on paper as I do typing…)

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