Another Dark Little Corner

moon phases

Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.

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There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]

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New Chemotherapy Regime: Cycle 1; Day 1  

A full day. The implanted port was 'undressed' and used to inject the different drugs, including not just the cytotoxic therapeutic ones, but the ones used to combat the side effects, like anti-nausea drugs, anti-allergy ones for the taxol, which can affect some people badly, and a final dose of heparin to 'lock' the catheter and help stop blood clotting in it.
Attended at 9am, as the appointment said, but wasn't called until after 10am. With getting the dressing off the newly implanted injection port and putting in the anti-nausea drugs first, it took some while again to start the three-hour infusion of the first chemotherapeutic drug, then it was flushed for a while with saline. They may have injected something to prepare for the next drug into that.

I'd already taken an anti-histamine tablet in the morning before getting to the hospital, as well as some other drugs to counteract nausea and diarrhoea, so I'm unsure about that. They were keeping me busy with filling out forms, reading through and discussing information about possible side-effects and what to do about them, arranging for the physiotherapist to look at my arm when I come back next Friday, arranging for the stitches around the port to be removed next Friday, discussing my support at home, etc, etc. They also supplied me with a cup of tea, cheese and cracker biscuits, and later at lunchtime orange juice and a sandwich. A couple of times I needed to unplug the pump and put it onto battery power, wheel it with all its attached dripbags and tubing, carefully held so it didn't tangle or get caught up or drag across the floor, down the ward and into the toilet. You're getting a fair amount of fluid put directly into your system through all this. The old lady in the next chair was nervous about that, and had to wait for one of the nurses or assistants to help her with all the equipment. That's one good thing I get from practice during all the time I spent in hospital or the accident & emergency department, or chemotherapy before.

Then they infused the taxol drug for an hour and flushed it through with saline again, and finally detached all the tubing and suchlike except for a final short section of tube with a tap-end to attach to a syringe. They used this to infuse a batch of heparin solution to stop blood clotting in the catheter, and finally removed the needle in the port and bandaged it lightly. By this time it was well after 4pm.c

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Port Implantation Day  
Under local anaesthetic only, in the 5th Level Day Procedure area of St Vincent's. Quite an experience. Will try to write in more detail when I feel up to it.

For an explanation of this piece of medical equipment, check this Boston Scientific link to their Vaxcel® Implantable Ports, which also has photos of different models and a diagram of how it sits when implanted.

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More Stabs in the Back (Lung Drained Again)  
Not the sort of experience one approaches with joy, even though you may be hoping that the procedure wiil help you feel quite a bit better. It would also be nice if they only needed one go. Both times now they've needed two stabs to get it right. Alarmingly, this time instead of a light straw-coloured fluid, it was a reddish, bloodstained colour. They also managed to get out quite a bit more fluid this time, for one reason or another. Again, although it did considerably help with my breathing, because of the collapsed structure, I'm still fairly short of breath.

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