Well I suppose it was inevitable, the fall came, but at least there was nobody here to witness my pride going with it. I certainly don’t have any dignity left, and so I suppose it’s time for me accept that I might be a tad frail. Trying to get up from the armchair, something gave way. With my full weight on my walking stick, it propelled me face first towards the radiator. The coffee table broke my fall to a certain extent, although I think I might have preferred to have gone into free fall rather than experience the pain of my abdomen as it folded round the coffee table, twisting the rest of my body as my face slapped the adjacent radiator, full force. Dissolving or not, there must be a hell of a lot of stitching and stapling inside my body, and I think I felt every one as they tugged at the tissue they are holding together deep inside my abdomen. The remnants of cold coffee from the cup I was planning to refill splattered everywhere in slow motion and high definition and apart from the imprint of the radiator on my face there wasn‘t any other real damage. You become adept at re-shaping bent glasses when you‘ve worn them as long as I have, and anyway, they never feel comfortable unless they are bent and twisted, as any respectable spectacle wearer knows. I know what you’re all saying- “you shouldn’t be left on your own” , but no matter how many people were here, I would still have tried to stand up, and all you could have done was watch and maybe help pick me up after the fall. I’ll take it as read that you’re all wagging your finger at me, OK, I’ll take more care in the future, I’ll try and fall in the other direction.
I had already decided that I needed some help before the fall incident, at least until I’m a little stronger. In general my recovery is going well, I have to keep reminding myself of what I’ve been through. The enhanced recovery programme I am on is working, but I have to accept I’m probably expecting a little too much at this stage. The idea is that I’m as fit as can be before embarking on the next stage of chemotherapy, but that’s still a few weeks off, so perhaps I should be taking things a little more slowly. Sunday had been going so well, my sister arrived having driven 2 hours to take me shopping. We lunched at Sainsburys, and I conceded to an electric wheelchair to get me round the supermarket. Even I couldn’t convince anyone that I was able to walk. I know there are a few people who would pay good money for photos of me whizzing around Sainsbury’s on an electric wheelchair, but sorry Liz, all photos were banned. It would have been fun had it not been so uncomfortable, but at least I’ve been able to stock up on a few essentials and enough ready meals to last me to the end of the week. I hope to be a bit more mobile by then.
Monday was busy, with both the stoma nurse and district nurse visiting. The Macmillan nurse is coming later today. Out of the three of them we should be able to sort out all my problems. Pain is the main issue, and just by coincidence as I was lying in bed contemplating the effort required to get out of bed, this morning, Bexx, my colorectal nurse specialist, phoned. There are very few people who manage to be both kind and considerate, wise and helpful, and sincere and genuine. Bexx is one of them. Just hearing her voice is a tonic, knowing that she is thinking of you. Yes I know it’s her job, but she does it with such kindness and sincerity it leaves you in no doubt that she’s doing everything she can to help. She’s always very busy, hard to get hold of at times, but you know when she does speak to you have her 100% attention, and nothing is too trivial. We discussed everything the other two nurses had gone over, and more importantly the pain relief problem. Bexx came to my rescue whilst I was in hospital, just walking past and seeing that I was in discomfort, she immediately prescribed, and bought to me additional pain relief, emphasising that there was no reason I should be in any pain, and all I had to do was ask. The three pain killers I am on are already pretty strong. Morphine has been ruled out for now as one of it’s side effects is to reduce the rate at which your digestion system works, not something I want at the moment. So I’m left with Pregablin, Targinact and OxyNorm, which is a liquid and faster acting form of Oxycodone. I’m iusing a lot of the OxyNorm, which acts on pain pretty quickly, but it shouldn’t really be used on too regular basiss. She has suggested that it might be a good idea to up the doseage of the background analgesia and so she’ll be phoning my GP this morning to sort that out. I’ll be seeing the GP tomorrow. Other than that Bexx has suggested what many others have said throughout my life – you need to get off your arse ! Quite literally. The District nurse is arranging for a special cushion to be delivered, which I hope will make sitting more comfortable. Bexx reminded me of how well I’m doing after such major surgery. It’s only two weeks today since my operation, seems like an eternity already, although I do have the constant reminders. I also had an email from the CEO of The Christie. Caroline came to see me whilst I was in critical care, and had gone up to the ward yesterday to find I had been discharged. That’s the Chief Executive of The Christie, going to the bother of finding out how I’m doing. Just think about that for a minute, you really would not get that kind of care and concern in any other hospital.
One of Debs friends has just had pathology results from a biopsy taken a week or so ago. I phoned her this morning to learn that they had found a number of polyps containing cancerous cells. I think the guy is a bit devastated, just hearing the word ‘cancer’ send all sorts of thoughts whizzing around you brain. He had gone for a colonoscopy this morning where the offending polyps are to be removed. I tried to re-assure her that this is good news, it seems they have caught it very early, before the polyp had gone on to develop into a full blown tumour. Another example of how the screening programme is working, and saving lives. Identifying problems early is the key to beating bowel cancer, so if you get the chance to take part in screening, do so. Or if you have any concerns or worries see your GP. I may make light of it at times, but take my word, you really do not want to go through what I have over the last 9 months or so. The pain and effect on my body and brain over the last few weeks has been awful, not something I would wish any of you to go through.
I’m going to speak to the Macmillan Nurse about trying to arrange some help around the home. I really can’t cope on my own, everything looked OK when Lew left, everything tidied up and cleaned, but it soon mounts up again after a few days. A helping hand for a couple of hours a week until I get stronger would be a great help at the moment. My pride is swallowed. I could never imagine myself thinking like this before, but I guess that’s what cancer does to you. I’m not giving in to it, just recognising that I need to be stronger to continue the fight.