Before I overwhelm you and me both with all that’s been happening medically in the last few weeks/months (if I ever get around to actually writing it up)… I’d like to share a bit of naughtiness I got up to recently.
I’m in clinic the other day and it’s a welcome return to the Cheers! community centre atmosphere that I’ve missed for some months. When I was going to clinic less frequently, I didn’t see many familiar faces, apart from the staff. It felt more like attending a clinic and less like a social gathering – much less fun.
So, this day I was delighted to stop for chats with various people, in between actually seeing the consultant/nurse – a minor distraction.
There’s P who had leukaemia himself, and now volunteers twice a week to offer support, hugs and silliness to patients and their carers. He’s become a friend over the past couple of years. Then there’s G, a new clinic buddy who’s a few months post-transplant, keen to return to work as an upholsterer and DJ for hire, but suffering with dreadful irritated skin Graft versus Host Disease [GvHD]. Lovely little K, who’s only 22 and so sweet and way too young to be having to deal with this stuff, but she does, in a very down-to-earth way. P also introduced me to T, the wife of A, a lymphoma patient, mother of an autistic son and a corset designer/maker. We just connected immediately and I look forward to a friendship developing with her.
After clinic, I had to go up to Pharmacy. Oh dread! While I have almost nothing but praise for everyone, and I mean everyone, in Haematology, Pharmacy is in dire need of improvement. Long, long waits for prescriptions are the annoying norm.
As I was leaving clinic for the walk along the corridors and upstairs to Pharmacy, I bumped into R, another clinic friend who I’ve not seen for quite some time. He’s doing really well and looking really well, which was lovely to witness. We’ve seen each other at very low points along the way and with both of us in good spirits, it was a warm reunion. R needed to take a large bag of no-longer-needed medication back to Pharmacy, so we walked up together chatting merrily.
This is not an unusual scenario in my hospital life. I regularly bump into patients and nurses I know along the corridors. It makes the place seem so cosy and homey, I might not ever want to leave. I definitely don’t want to have treatment at any other hospital, so looks like I’m stuck in Nottingham for a while. I love Nottingham City Hospital! How weird to be saying that.
When we got to Pharmacy, they said they couldn’t accept any sharps, only tablets/medicine, so he had to separate what he had into two different bags, the one with subcutaneous EPO needles would need to be returned to Haematology for disposal. They handed him a spare bag and we rummaged through the bag to see what needed to go in which bag. There was a LOT of stuff.
As I’m helping, I notice a few boxes of Prednisolone and a box of Fluoxetine. These are drugs I take all the time now… and they were the same dose I take… and they were all in date… and I hate waste…
I knew they would simply destroy the drugs. Obviously they can’t re-dispense them, as they could be contaminated, deliberately or accidentally, and everyone is terrified of being sued these days, so they can’t take that risk. They say it’s to protect the patients, but we all know it’s their arses they’re protecting.
I do hope you’re with me…? You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?
We’re advised to just say no to drugs… But yes, I did, I took the drugs. And no, no one saw or challenged me… Quickly stuffed into my bag, they were.
We had a right giggle, feeling like naughty school kids. I was tempted to run away chuckling in glee. Given that Fluoxetine’s an anti-depressant and Prednisolone’s “side-effects can include insomnia, euphoria and, rarely, mania” (Wiki), it was an easy leap to call my little stash “happy pills”.
Shhhh… don’t tell anyone! ;)