So Far, So Bad?

Greetings, blog-readers! It’s been a while. 

Today is Day +11 after my stem cell transplant. It’s getting close to a fortnight since I’ve been incarcerated in one room, with two slight exceptions: I had a room ‘upgrade’ after two days, and I went for an X-ray once.

Short of trying to describe everything (which I’m not going to), it’s a bit hard to know what to say. I arrived Tuesday 19th to the world’s tiniest room, and realised I wasn’t going to be taking up cat-swinging during my stay (hence the move as soon as a bigger one was free – not prompted by me but very welcome!) Wednesday consisted of a couple of lovely visits from friends and then the evening saw the  Commencement of Puking. From then on, it’s really all about puking. I also had some bright red newly-defrosted stem cells injected back into me, while puking, on Thursday. If I’d been feeling more with it, I’d have photographic evidence for you all, but as I don’t you could perhaps get (harrowing?) first-hand witness accounts from my parents. 

Fast-forward the next week or so to today, and I think finally I’m on an upward trend. My neutrophils (type of white blood cell) have been down at the magic 0 (i.e. immune system utterly wiped out) but yesterday morning they were 0.1, so hopefully this morning they were higher. The pain in my throat/gullet where skin cells have been wiped out by chemo (‘mucositis’) seems to be getting a bit better. I haven’t been sick for nearly three days now. I also haven’t (touch wood) had any fever spikes due to infection etc, which is one of the big risks when your immune system is down. So, although I was unlucky with the nausea/vomiting side of things, by now I think I could just about say ‘So far, so good’.

At times I feel a little bit like some sort of strange sci-fi cattle: every morning at 6am someone comes and bleeds me via the tubes dangling out of my chest, collecting multiple tubes to give the sort of numbers I mentioned above. I’m also weighed twice a day. Every four hours it’s ‘obs’ which I think is short for observations: blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, pulse. The 10pm/ 2am/ 6am instances of those can be annoying, although by and large I just remain in a stupor. Several times a day someone brings in a pot of pills for me to guzzle down. The doctor visits once a day, with a ward round of massed consultants on Mondays and Fridays. Beyond the visits focused on me, there are a whole set of people on a rota who come in to change the jug of water, clean the bathroom and the room, change the bins, change my bedsheets, ask what I want to eat and deliver said meals (although eating hasn’t really featured much for me in the last fortnight), and so on. So despite being in one room, and doing nothing, it’s strangely busy.

The final news item is ‘Hair Today, Gone….’ not quite sure when. It’s falling out pretty rapidly now so within a week I expect I’ll be coot-like. By which I mean bald, although thinking about it coots aren’t bald, they just have white foreheads. And pretty feet. Here is a picture for you all of a slightly demented-looking coot:


This coot is doing a runner. This will also be me, before too long. Who knows, it could also be within a week! Webbed toes crossed…

Yours, emerging from the fog,

Helga the Great