Chemo number 2 and I was booked in for 9.30am. We dropped the children off at my friend Anna’s as they were on holiday for Easter. We got there just before 9am as I needed to call in the dept where they’d inserted my portacath as they told me I needed to have my first needle in by the team to check everything was working OK. Needle inserted and we booked into the chemo suite at 9.15am and sat down in the waiting room. They took my number and said they may be running a little late so we could go and have a drink in the cafe and they’d call me when ready. I had to call to the wig dept so after a drink we called in there. We weren’t there long and then sat outside as it was a lovely sunny day. By 10 am I could tell that things weren’t going right so decided to go and wait up in the area upstairs so they wouldn’t forget me. Five minutes later and the senior nurse came to find me. The chemo hadn’t been taken ‘off hold’ therefore it would need to be made as it has a shelf life therefore she told me it would be ready at 1.30pm!!!!! Yes a 4 hour delay! They decided to put us in a lovely side room with a window and ensuite bathroom (I called it the Pissed Off Patient Room). Anyway, I made use of the time with social media, caught up with writing a blog and ordering food shopping for that week (positives, always positives!)
By the time the chemo was finally ready it was 2pm. Not happy, anyway they got on with it as I’d already had the Herceptin and it was just a case of having the chemo, antibody and Zometa. I questioned straight away whether there would be anyone available to take my needle out when it had finished. I was assured that there would be.
Then the chemo line got blocked and the unit kept beeping and the alarm going off. The chemo line was very thin and the chemo was quite a thick white liquid. It took the nurse 1/2 hour to resolve this with a new line and flushes etc. Anyway we were back on track. Approx 4pm I asked again if there would be someone to take the needle out as the portacath dept closed at 5pm. In between the flushes and delays with seeing to other patients it was 5.45pm by the time we had finished and guess what? There was no one there to take the needle out. A call went out to another nurse, he came and had a look and told me he couldn’t do it. A call went down to the Medical Assessment Unit. Thankfully there was someone there to do it. By the time we got down there it was gone 6.15pm! On the way I saw my Oncologist who asked what I was still doing there at that time! Hmmm… I explained and yes something had gone wrong with the systems.
By the time the nurse had taken the portacath needle out (and shown 3 nurses the procedure and what it looked like – it was a new needle and not many knew how to remove it) it was 7.30pm! We eventually got home to pick Regan and Faron up from Anna’s at 8.15pm! It was a long, long day and I subsequently wrote to complain about the system and waiting time. I’m hoping it won’t happen again. (Note: 6th June still waiting for a reply to my complaint some 7 weeks later!)
My side effects this time were controlled much better and I felt better not being away from home like last time when I was in a camping pod!
The side effects worked out how I thought it would and I felt rough on the Friday, worse on the Saturday and laid up Sunday and off Monday and I was picking up a bit Tuesday. Wednesday I was feeling more myself and getting back to normal.
Chemo number 3 and it was Bank Holiday Monday. My sister Lisa dropped my Auntie off to look after Regan and Faron and we arrived at 8.30am for my chemo. The plan was that Jeff would stay with me for a while and then head off home to take over looking after the children as my Auntie is 83 years old! I was booked in for 9am so after the last chemo palaver with a delay for 4 hrs I was hoping that after my compliant I put in that they would be on the ball. We booked in and sat down ready to be called up to the chemo suite. The system does seem very antiquated and you wait to be ‘called’ (shouted) by the ‘Manager’. He shouts loudly for people for bloods to be taken or to go to the chemo suite. This man is very abrupt and I don’t like the way he speaks to people. I’ve been ready to say something on more than one occasion! Thankfully he’s been OK with me. Behind the reception desk there is a tannoy system. Why not use this?
Well at 9.50am I thought I’d better mention the fact that I was booked in for 9am but still not been called. The answer I had was I wasn’t due in until 10am?! I had rang the appointments lady the week previous and she had changed my appointment to 9am from 10am… Obviously this had not been done! Great, another delay.
I was showed up to the chemo suite and got hooked up ready for my treatments.
I met two lovely ladies on there. The first one I had met the time before as she was a newbie and seemed bemused by the systems and what you did and what happened. Rabbit in the headlights. We got chatting over the ‘shouty Manager’ when you wait to be called. She was with her husband and we chatted about our families and treatments like you do. She left after a couple of hours as her treatment was quicker than mine. She would have treatment at a more local hospital from now on so I wouldn’t see her again so we wished each other well.
Another lady came to sit in the same seat for treatment and she was with her daughter. She was very bubbly and we got on chatting really well. She was being treated by the Oncologist I previously had. We talked about our treatments and care and had a good giggle with a lot of things. Her wig was fabulous! I always think I can tell when someone has a wig now and I was shocked that hers was actually a wig as it looked so real! It was very short and really suited her. We got on that well that she booked in at a similar time so she could see me next time!
I was able to ring Jeff and was on my way home for just after 3pm, longer than expected again but still at least it wasn’t as bad as last time.
Nearly 1/2 way through!