zen.org Communal Weblog

June 25, 2011

Holding Course

Filed under: — brendan @ 21:26 IST

My lower lip started on Thursday to be very sensitive, and then small sores/ulcers started to form on it. The doctors said this could be the start of mucositis, a common side-effect of high-dose chemotherapy. It can occur anywhere along your entire G.I. tract (from your mouth to your anus), and make it so you’re not able to eat comfortably.  So far I’ve been lucky and only had it manifest itself on my lip. There’s nothing to make it go away—you just have to wait about 7 days for it to run its course, and combat its effects with things like pain-killers and lip balm.  This started between Wednesday and Thursday, so sometime late next week hopefully I’ll be able to report it’s cleared up.

The Eumovate skin cream seems to be doing its job with the itchy rashes, even though as I type this I feel a little bit on the bottom of my legs; I apply it after I shower in the morning and again before I go to sleep.  The rash itself has already cut down by more than half its original state, which is encouraging.  At the current rate, it’ll hopefully be gone—or at least improved dramatically—by early next week.

Visitation Rights

Our friend Doug spent time visiting this afternoon, and yesterday a mixture of he, Terri, and Elana were able to visit at different times. It was great to see them, and Doug and I got to enjoy the geek-fest language exchange we usually have at least once a year. He showed me some awesome pictures he’d taken with his camera of Patrick, Eoin, and their older 13 year-old daughter playing on the trampoline in the back yard. He got two shots of Patrick suspended in mid-air with great expressions on his face. They were a real treat.

Maybe Moving?

There are three beds in this center part of the ward, across from the nurses station. Bed 4, where I spent so many weeks, is on one side on its own, offering the most space and a window view. Across from it is bed 5, also with a window view and decent space, if not as much. Then there’s the famed Bed 6, used often for close observation of patients; this is where I’ve been since I was admitted more than a week ago. It’s the least desirable, because not only is it the smallest in terms of space, and no view of the outside, but it’s also closest to the hallway. This means any and all passing noise is most audible in Bed 6. Sleeping with earplugs helps, a lot, but they don’t block everything. If the curtains are drawn closed around Bed 6, heat builds up enough to make it uncomfortable, so I tend to keep them open. The price of doing this is accepting the glance (or avoided eye contact) of everybody walking by.

My neighbor in Bed 5 was told today, before he got to leave to stay at home tonight, that if his numbers come back still good from a blood test tomorrow, he’ll be getting discharged. I’ve already put in my bid with the nurses to get to move to Bed 5 if he’s that lucky. I’ve been encouraged to repeat the request shortly after he leaves.

Bummer I can’t just get Bed 4 back. 🙂

Untapped Resources

There’s a definite market for technical support in long-term care hospital wards like this one. This afternoon, I confirmed for one patient that the wifi was in fact dead again, meaning we’re collectively screwed and it won’t be properly online until Monday.  (I’m only able to send this because a great knitting friend of ours has loaned me a Vodafone 3G mobile Wifi, or MiFi, device.)    This evening, I loaned another patient my iPhone charger which I used to charge the iPhone 3G for listening to podcasts. One of the nurses is interested in help using Excel spreadsheets more effectively.  And these are just the ones which happened really recently.

Curious, no?

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