I’d kind of regretted not having had the chocolate fudge cake that was on offer for dessert in hospital on Tuesday evening (It went downhill from there). I’d chosen the fresh fruit option. So when the time came to choose a dessert for lunch the following day, I decided I’d ignore the healthy eating bug that’s taken hold of me and have the sticky toffee pudding.
I marked the box on the form… but seconds later the bug got the better of me and I decided I’d have fresh fruit salad instead. I scored out my original mark and was just about to tick the fruit salad box when the nurse came in and said it was time to take some blood. My heart sank. “Right,” I thought, “this is no time for self denial. I’m having the sticky toffee pudding.” Thus the messy order form you see in the photo.
The words “We just need to take some blood” are guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of those of us who have veins in our arms that have been damaged by chemotherapy, and I’d already had an unpleasant experience on the Monday night, when I was admitted.
Chemo drugs are pretty potent (as you know) and the veins that have been used during your course of treatment can collapse or become hard (not sure if I’ve mentioned that lovely factoid before). The obvious vein you’d use in my left arm is currently pretty fragile (they can recover), and it’s not always easy to find a “good” vein to take blood from and/or to insert a cannula into. With me, there are now even fewer options than we might otherwise have since it’s recommended that, if you’ve had lymph node removal surgery – as I have – you don’t have blood taken from or drugs injected into veins in the operated arm. It’s to do with reducing your risk of developing lymphoedema. For the moment at least, therefore, we’re only using the left arm and the back of the left hand for these types of procedures.
In the end it was fine. It isn’t always. There’s bruising on the back of my left hand after the cannula they’d inserted into a vein there on Monday night to administer the anitbiotics had to be removed because it was causing swelling and discomfort. All went well with the second site they chose.
These things happen and are over in the course of a few minutes and the nurses are never anything other than concerned, caring and gentle, but it can still be quite traumatic for the patient.
So now you know why I went for the sticky toffee pudding. Very nice it was too.