Posted by: janedb | April 14, 2013

Making Friends

Everything stops for Tea

Everything stops for Tea (Photo credit: tim ellis)

I was out on the ward and able to talk to people. The staff had become like friends and I shared many conversation with them but it was the first real time I had any coherent patients near me to talk to. First there was the lady in the bed next to me who was in due to a reaction after treatment for her lymphoma. It was a cycle for her that she would be in so many days after treatment. Then another lady came in opposite her who was eventually diagnosed with lymphoma and a lady opposite me who was diagnosed with APML like me.

The four of us would chat and were able to lift each others spirits. We became mischievous like naughty school girls particularly over getting a hot drink after 8.00 p.m.. We would ask the staff so we would not miss out and took it in turns to do this. I was able to offer advice and reassure the two newly diagnosed patients as most of the tests they were sent for I had had. If I couldn’t the other lady could, this way they were not so frightened. I did make sure that they knew my black eyes was as a result of a rare side effect and not normal. I made sure that the APML lady’s family also understood as we had the same condition.

I could advice when they had a bone marrow test to ask for the gas and air. When I was admitted the trial was closed but for APML lady this was no open. She asked whether she should go in for the trial and I told her what they had told me when I put my son into a trial, that it would not be worse for her, whichever treatment she had she would be cured, but it was to enable them to find the best treatment for future patients. She was very lucky and was put on the arsenic and thank goodness she is doing well. I keep in touch with her via email and we hope to meet up again this week.

The lady next to me was able to go home and we had a lady I had been next to before with us for a night. Although she talked to me, she did not seem to appreciate our banter across the bay, when I was released she told the others that they would die. Not a thing I would say to anyone, particularly as it could so easily be yourself. This lady was stuck with us longer than she needed to be as her husband would not pay for the car parking. The weather was bad and due to snow it took him four hours to  get her. After she had left we were told an emergency patient was on her way but was also stuck waiting for an ambulance due to the weather.

We made friends with this new arrival, she could not speak at first due to the effects of the autoimmune disease she had contracted, but she said listening to us made her feel reassured that she was in a safe place. Our bay became the place the nurses came to to talk to us all, do paper work and catch up with each other. We had many laughs and helped each other from morning to when we all decided we wanted to put lights out. Due to holidays there was not always a house keeper so  the two of us with APML were more mobile and took it in turns to get water for the other two. We helped each other by ringing the buzzer of fetching help when needed.

The other thing that helped me was being allowed off the ward for a walk to the hospital shop and back. Just half an hour off the ward gave me some space to forget everything I was going through.

It seems strange but the ten days I was with these were great fun. I was still in pain but it gave me something else to focus on. They finally decided it was best to operate to remove my ulcer and I had a bottom doctor look at my ulcer, he brought his colleagues to look, so at one point I had three men viewing my bottom. This caused great hilarity as although an ulcer can be a problem of treatment it is unusual.

They needed to get a large cannula in for the operation and I needed to have four lots of platelets before I went down so the crack team were called. These specialize in putting cannulas in difficult patients. Due to needing to be put under I was nil by mouth from 4.00 p.m. at half past 11.00 they got me some supper as I was not going down until after 9.00 a.m. next morning. Due to being nil by mouth I ended up having subcutaneous morphine injections as the pain was so bad.

I was taken down at 10.00 a.m. feeling very apprehensive as with all the things that had gone wrong for me, i always worry when they read out what could go wrong before you sign the consent form. A new cannula had to be inserted as the other had already stopped working due to the platelets. They were very good but as it was in my hand it is always sore. Other than removing the ulcer I am not sure what other investigation was done but I have not pushed the point. It is something I do not know. They sent the ulcer for tests but they came back negative.

When I woke I was on a recovery ward with a very caring nurse. I spent an hour there before I was returned to the ward. I was given more morphine whilst I was there.

Back on the ward another of the crack teams was contacted to obtain advice on the best dressings to be used on my open wound. I had the operation on Wednesday and because I became self caring for the wound I was released on the Saturday. After 21 days I was finally going home.



  1. Jane thanks for sharing. I hope all goes with your treatment. I’m glad your procedure went well. I will chant for the best possible treatment for you.

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts.

      • you are most welcome, dear…only the best!

  2. I hope some frank language won’t upset you. I have a family member who had to see a proctologist for terrible hemorrhoids. He took a Polaroid photo of her anus for her file. As he studied the photo on her return visit, she asked him, “Doctor, do you sometimes speak to colleagues about former patients, look at these photos and say, ‘Oh yes, I remember that asshole’?”

    That’s what I thought of when you mentioned having three doctors study the ulcer on your bottom! Still laughing. Also, still admiring how you have handled your treatment with so much grace.

    • My friends cannot believe it, but I had the ward laughing, what I didn’t write was they were chaperoned by a Nursing Assistant and she did not know how to stop herself from laughing, it was such a surreal experience.

      • Love your sense of humor!

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