Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Mean Spleen and the Bank Holidays

Another great band name for you there.

How are you all then? Good?

Ah, that's nice.

Well, if you're here then you clearly want to hear some more middle-of-the-road whinging. I shall not disappoint.

My memory is a bit hazy, but I do remember feeling awful last Wednesday. Spleen pain and no energy. Thankfully, I got something back for Thursday night and managed to drive down to Worthing (British coastal town, international readers), to stay with The Best Friend, his lovely wife and his beautiful 1 year old daughter.

Friday was spent pottering. We all pottered to the beach, where the temperature managed to break into double-figures-celsius and the wind managed to stay just below an official 'gale force' grading. However, prepared for The Great British Bank Holiday weather, I layered-up and the very fresh air and the always glorious sight of the British sea, made my potter totally enjoyable.

The Best Friend likes food. Not in a Crisps'n'Coke'n'Pizza kind of way, but in a nuts and berries and natural yoghurt and home made bread and juice and muesli and that's just for bloody breakfast kind of way. He makes two dinners every day - he calls them lunch and dinner, but he is misguided - both are clearly dinners. Dinners full of healthy vegetables and other things that I dimly remember from a distance past. To sum up, I was well fed.

Maybe my body responded well to my new nutrients, but on Saturday I managed to get in, what the MacMillian cancer charity posters would call, 'a good day'. The weather, like my body, gave me a break and I was able to catch up with an old friend in Brighton, who gave me a lot of exercise walking around the shops and the pier. A good day indeed, rounded off by delicious sea-side Fish'n'Chips when I got back home. I am of a certain age and condition, where Fish'n'Chips make a perfect Saturday night.

Then I had, what the MacMillian cancer posters would call, 'a fucking shit day'. The night was filled with lots of pain and when the hazy in-and-out of sleep cleared up, I was left with two things - a spleen that was fluttering, spasming and causing all sort of turmoil and a nerve pain that shot into my upper shoulder.

I discovered that the best position to be in, was to prostrate myself, knees tucked under my chest - arse proudly in the air, face into ground - the knees take the pressure off the spleen and almost push it back into place.

I didn't leave the house on this day, but The Best Friend and family looked after me and with the help of constant painkillers and a week's worth of food in a day, I was as comfortable as I could be.

Monday am and the spleen was still aggravating me. Although I had intended to stay another day, it was obvious I needed to be home, closer to my hospital should anything horrendous happen.

Nothing horrendous did happen - just constant spleen pain. Painkillers are taken every 4 hours. The nerve pain comes and goes, sleep is tricky, walking is less than elegant.

So to today, Tuesday - back to the hospital this morning for another PICC line clean-up, then a lot of hanging around. I waited for a doctor to be examined, who told me what I know already. The spleen is very big, it's probably getting bigger and stretching the bag in which it lives in, causing me the shoulder nerve pain. And he prescribed - codeine and laxatives - which has pretty much been my staple diet over the last few weeks anyhow, although not as strong as these. I came back from the hospital to the office, was sick in the toilets and went home.

The bottom line is this: I'm going to be in pain until the operation, on May 11th. Unless the spleen explodes or causes me so much pain that I'm screaming down A&E, then I've got a week of The Mean Spleen, codeine and laxatives.

I guess this is just the way it is until the op ... I naively thought that perhaps I would be full of the joys of spring now the chemo had stopped, but the reality is, I'm still carrying around a large bag of cancerous offal in my stomach, which is never too conducive to a 'good day', I guess.

That was probably quite a dull blog by all accounts. I've not feeling overly creative - it's the painkillers I think - they just put a 'Meh' on everything.

On the plus-side, you've got about a week to wait until things start getting interesting again.


Thanks to The Best Friend, The Best Friend's Wife and The Best Friends Mum, for looking after me and giving me more nursing and attention than their one year old daughter required. Long may the vision of me curled up into a ball with my arse in the air live long in your household.


Simon said...

Fellow readers, I would just like you to be aware that Mr "I can't eat two dinners a day" Steel managed not just a LARGE cod and chips, he also had mushy peas AND a large gherkin*

Reports of the death of his appetite are greatly exaggerated.

* That's a pickle to our North American cousins

RC said...

Having a massive spleen is supposed to stem your appetite as it squashes the stomach into a tiny space.

Clearly Mr. Large Gerkin isn't hampered by this.

Neither was I as it happens which got me wondering just what was getting squashed out of the way if it wasn't my stomach.