Wednesday 26 March 2014

Seconds away. Round one

And so it begins, cycle one (of twelve) chemo sessions are now under way. Yesterday basically involved sitting on my tail for five hours whilst various bags of alternating normal and noxious chemicals were attached to my shiny new PICC line via the machine that goes "beep"

Fig 32b: The Machine that goes "beep"

Said machine is there to control the speed of administration of the chemicals but it does still require a bit of human intervention as when the bags of fluid run down the machine that goes "beep" beeps its low flow alarm and the drip bag needs a jiggle. After about eight or nine times of observing low flow bleeps I did ask the nurse if she wanted me to override the machine that goes "beep"s screen lockout*, stop the flow, jiggle the bag and press "resume" when it happened next time..

Apparently dragons are not allowed to touch the machine that goes "beep". Ever.

Mrs Dragon came down to the hospital to pick me up (because you're not allowed to drive straight after this stuff as it can have nasty side effects) and we both got the detailed burble on possible problems and a nice emergency card for my wallet that says "you have an hour to save this dragon's life - fill him full of IV antibiotics".  After that they connected me up to my Flourouracil pump.That's my slow release chemotherapy drug that rather being pumped in at 125ml per hour like the rest ges in over 46 hours at a sedate 2.5ml per hour and rather cleverly uses a tiny little mechanical pump attached to my PICC line that works off body heat which I thought was ever so clever. The drug itself sits in some sort of medical balloon inside a sealed plastic container that I wear in a bum bag for the next couple of days. It's protected in this way as this stuff is officially labelled as "bad"

It's so bad that we got issued with a cleaning up kit that you'd normally expect to see when cleaning up Chernobil. There's some sterile stuff for sealing up the PICC line but then two double thick bags for putting the drug reservoir in plus any clothes that it got spilled on. You then put all this in the issued bucket, seal it and take to the hospital where it gets thrown in the incinerator alongside all those terminated fetuses the anti-abortion brigade were getting their panties in a bunch over this week.

Anyway that all done it's now 7pm (these are long days!) and I get to go home. It had got chilly in Cambridge by this time so on the walk from the hospital to the car park I got my first side effect symptom, my ears, nose and fingers all went tingly, like snow was falling on them; it was quite nice actually for a couple of minutes.

Mrs Dragon says its called "peripheral neuropathy" and I'm not allowed out in the cold for the next couple of days.

* using a highly sophisticated hacker's method of pressing the "screen lock" button on the back of the unit.


  1. I'm slightly disappointed there is no machine that goes *ping*....

  2. Did you see this? At first glance it's not relevant but maybe just maybe..... Plus, looking up the good doctor will give you something to do while you wait for Dirk Daring to attempt to steal all that lovely treasure of yours...

  3. ^^^ quite interesting - although I can't help thinking she was over-reacting a bit for one tiny little 4mm liver met; sure they grow but not that much in 6 weeks (which is what I waited for my treatment to start and my biggest in 17mm!) MInd you the cost of the SIRT surpised me - that's what's happening to me next week - glad I'm not paying for that.

    I'm fortunate in a way as I have private medical insurance with my work and I have asked at every stage if there was something that I wasn't getting or was getting slower because of cost / NHS rules that I could get privately and that hasn't been the case so far.

    And if that Dirk comes poing round my treasure again he's going to get both nostrils set to "toast" ;-)