Quite literally taking the piss

I’m a big fan of the word ‘literally’. I literally use it all the time, in that annoying non-literal usage which according to the Torygraph had pedants nationwide in uproar last year when it was included in the OED: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10240917/Uproar-as-OED-includes-erroneous-use-of-literally.html

I must send pedants into uproar on a daily basis.

When I suddenly vanished off the face of the earth in late May 2012 and spent 4 weeks in hospital, my mum was busy keeping in touch with friends back in ‘the outside world’. I know one close friend in particular was very relieved when the message came out that I was interested in receiving books and ‘would read literally anything’: ‘It’s still her! She’s ok! She said ‘literally!!’.

Anyway, I digress. The use of literally in this post title would keep any pedant happy, for I am doing that lovely thing with which all myeloma patients are familiar: a 24-hour urine test.

No, this does not mean peeing constantly for twenty-four hours. Yes, it does mean collecting all of your urine for twenty-four hours.

This means I’m working from home for the day, and the scene in my bathroom is thus:

The big jerry-can is where you have to collect it all. The little jug is for transfer purposes. You’ll be relieved to know I’m not planning to show you a picture of the contents. Lovely.

I’ve done this a lot before, but not for a while. Three things which always strike me about it are:

1) When doing it, I’m always a bit worried that half-way through in the middle of the night I’ll forget and pee on auto-pilot in the loo, which would totally ruin the whole thing. Because of that, I become a bit obsessive about putting the jug onto the closed lid.

2) After doing it, because I’ve been so obsessive, when I pee into the loo as usual I feel like I’ve done something wrong, and I have to re-train myself that it’s really and truly OK to pee in a loo.

3) Carrying it into hospital is slightly comic and slightly traumatic in equal measure: ‘I’m getting on the bus with a big pot of piss!’ ‘Gosh, this is surprisingly heaving, isn’t it amazing how much I produce in a day?’ Slosh, slosh, slosh. (There’s quite a lot of space in the pot along with all the piss so whenever you move or walk you can hear it). ‘Can anyone else hear that?’ ‘Did I put the lid on tightly enough?’ ‘What if it all comes sloshing out?’ etc.

On that basis, although I may have to pop into the office briefly tomorrow to pick something up, I will definitely not be doing a round trip to hospital with my ‘sample’ in tow.

In fact, as it’s a bit of a marathon afternoon I’m very glad to be having a lift to and from hospital from my parents. Once there, I will feel very efficient by achieving in one visit:

1) Monthly drug infusion to strengthen my bones (Zometa)
2) First injection of velcade as part of VTD
3) Pick up 3-week supply of drugs and needles for first cycle
4) Usual blood and urine tests
5) MRI of my spine, just to check it’s looking OK and not too moth-eaten (myeloma-eaten)

So there you go. A day or two in the life of a myeloma patient. Now, I’d better get back to doing some work.

Literally yours,

Helga the Great