Cabin Fever

Recently, I walked along Hood River’s waterfront. The path I take is 3.5 miles out and back. The fresh air acts as an antidote to the cabin fever that persists during Oregon’s winter months.

The pathway never changes but each visit delivers a unique perspective caused by the season and the weather. In truth, the more I go, the more I see.

The Port Commission has patiently developed this resource over the last three decades. Probably, there is yet another decade of fine tuning to come before a satisfactory conclusion. Evidently, art and creative landscaping seems part of the master plan. On my latest visit, I took time to photograph the sculpture placed along the pathway.

I love the bold red color amid the natural hues of the river basin. I'm not sure why, but whenever I look at these three shapes, I see rabbits. Must be a rorschach thing.
Froggy sculpture placed where two pathways meet.
Brushed aluminum with a shelf up top. Sunlight works wonders on the distressed surface, so the piece interacts with nature.
More brushed aluminum with spires, a globe, and a river bird.
Not a sculpture, per se, but a vision of a landscape architect who has a bit of the artist in her/him. Also, these stones reflect the basalt cliffs that border the Columbia River.

The primary designer is, of course, the natural passage of time.

I always walk alone. I listen to music on my iPhone and use its camera to capture the views that change day to day due to weather and the season’s advance.

As I plod along, medicating myself against cabin fever, some of my favorite writing ideas bubble to the surface. The natural beauty of the surroundings inspires me. Often, it defys re-capture later when I stand before my word processor. And, that’s okay. 

A murky cloud bank and the promise of sunshine from the east.
The yellow boat, the rusty dock stanchions, and the green bridge with cloud reflections.
Extraordinary morning light graced with a full rainbow.
The rippling river, a splash of sun on the hills, and a white triangle of sail.
A gaggle of geese in the yacht basin making their way out to the main body of the Columbia River.
Tagged: blogging, cancer, Columbia River Gorge, Good Blood Bad Blood, Hood River, Hood River Valley, multiple myeloma, nature, writing

Thank You

I ran into a friend at a funeral Saturday. While visiting she told me she enjoys reading my blog. I talked on about something I don’t remember now, but realized later that I did not say thank you for reading my blog. I enjoy writing. I would (and do) write even when I’m the only one whose likely see it. Mary Jo, thank you for reading my blog. Everyone who follows, anyone who clicks over from Face Book or MyelomaBlogs, Thank you. I feel honored that you take the time to have a look. Time is money, time is tight, everyone is busy, so I do feel blessed and encouraged when you comment (on the blog page, by email, or in person) about this online journal. I almost feel I owe an apology; this started out as a means to update and share my medical news because I may have cancer. Three cancers later I remain among the living, and posting here I do wander off topic now and then.

Hey, look at that waterfall

Hey, look at that waterfall


Grassland Fire

Grassland Fire

In the mid-summer of 2015 when all of Oregon seemed to be on fire, the view from our home of the mountains was to the north in Washington, beyond the border of the rolling Columbia River. There, above the peaks of the barren foothills, a plume of smoke from a wildfire in the Indian Heaven Wilderness rose several thousand feet above the crusty top of Underwood Mountain.

Blue Mountain Fire

Blue Mountain Fire

A warm wind, Sirocco-like, poured through the gorge with gusts of 20, 30, and 40 mph exploding the tinder dry Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Farther east in the Blue Mountains outside of John Day and south in the arid high desert and grasslands of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, more blazes raged out of control. Roads closed and sporadic evacuations occurred and homes were left to burn. Limited supplies of fire retardant and planes and other necessary heavy equipment added complications to the logistics of supplying Hot Shot crews and was as troublesome as the firefighting itself.

Canyon Creek Complex Fire

Canyon Creek Complex Fire

The winds ceased and mountain showers dampened portions of the fire arenas. Roads reopened and traffic flowed normally. The Hood River and its tributaries ran gray with glacial melt off of Mt. Hood, a result of the long hot summer. Irrigation districts in the valley applied restrictions on farms, which had already suffered through a poor blueberry season due to extreme heat in June. Pear orchards were healthy but the fruit was small for the fresh market and much would need to be juiced.



At night the horizons glowed with the burns and flared when a gust of wind ignited a patch of grassy fuel and the sunsets were unparrelelled with a palette of red, orange, and yellow. With the calming of the wind currents, we awoke to a pall of acrid smoke that stung our eyes and noses for several days and it settled upon the valley with a haze that obscured the mountaintops.

Slurry Bomber

Slurry Bomber

The evening cooled and I left my house early and walked several blocks to the hospital for my monthly clinic with Dr. L. The days had shortened but temperatures rose quickly and the hot weather continued with no rain forecast to relieve the crews fighting fire on so many fronts. And I walked back home after an unremarkable visit at the crowded infusatorium and traffic hustled along the main drag of 12th Street in Hood River and people went on their way busy with life in this, the mid-summer of 2015 when all of Oregon seemed to be on fire.

A Potpourri of Things

The Columbia River in Summer.

The Columbia River in Summer.

On July 27th, I began a new treatment regimen for my cancer, multiple myeloma. You can read all about it in The Drill.

I am compelled to comment on a series of books I was prompted to read by my oldest son. He lives in Oakland, CA and works as an attorney for the EPA in San Francisco. When he is not reading up on The Clean Air Act, he is an avid reader of fiction and literary non-fiction. Our shared love of the written word leads us to pass book ideas back and forth.

Recently, he recommended the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante. I am well along with the third of four in the collection. They are, in order, My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and the soon to be published, The Story of the Lost Child.

Self Portrait at Hood River's Waterfront Park.

Self Portrait at Hood River’s Waterfront Park.

These books surprised me, entertained me, and recalled for me the wonder of literature. I find them hard to put down. I look forward to the last of the quartet.

Finally, I have completed Southwood, A Memoir. It recounts my life from 1956 until 1970 when I lived in a suburb of San Francisco. Be forewarned: it’s long, nearly 7000 words. The memoir is broken up into seven bite sized pieces. And, there are pictures! Enjoy …

Four years on

As you’ll be aware if you’re a regular reader, there hasn’t been much ‘regular’ reading going on here for some time.

But, today is the four year anniversary of my myeloma diagnosis, so it warrants acknowledgement at the very least.

This morning, I was greeted with a post from Alex, who writes the blog, Dial M for Myeloma. In today’s entry, Live Longer Longer, he writes and shares data about how the longer we stay alive, the better are our odds for continuing to do so. He cites another blog by Gary Petersen, Myeloma Survival, in particular this post entitled The longer you live, the longer you live, which includes the following charts.

Life expectancy myeloma Death rates myeloma

From these charts, it is possible to see that having survived for four years since being diagnosed (and treated), my life expectancy has risen from two to seven years and my chance of dying is decreasing year on year, with only 7% of people at this point dying, compared to 23% in the first year.

This data alone is enough to celebrate.

Added to this is the fact that the ECP [extra-corporeal photopheresis] treatment I have been receiving for the past year, to treat/manage GvHD [Graft versus Host Disease] seems to be working. I realise I’ve not written about it yet and that I’ve made several promises to do so, so I hope you’ll continue to bear with me until I can get my head in the right space to concentrate sufficiently to write about it.

Because the ECP is working, I am now much more flexible and mobile than I was this time last year with scleroderma GvHD. My lungs have remained stable and not deteriorated and I have fewer issues from other GvHD areas such as mouth, eyes, vagina and guts. So while I am still taking Prednisolone (steroids), I’m only on 7mg per day and even better news, from the initial fortnightly ECP treatment, I went to 4-weekly some months ago and just last week we agreed to 8-weekly.

Hey, I’m almost “cured”!

But not…

No, it doesn’t work like that and even if it did, the experience I’ve been through in these last four years remains with me, the incurability of myeloma remains with me, the daily medication and regular (even if less frequent) hospital appointments remain with me, the high cost of travel insurance remains with me, the awareness of my mortality remains with me, as does the loss of people I’ve come to know in myelomaville/cancerville who are no longer alive.

In fact I attended a funeral two weeks ago of a friend, who didn’t survive two years from diagnosis. “Her name was Deborah, it never suited her.” Yes, she was that same Deborah that Pulp sang about in Disco 2000. She sure threw a good party… Wow! What a night! I’m glad I knew her and was able to offer support to her and her close friends and family.

My contacts list now has a number of people on it who have died. I keep them as a reminder of how much their journeys, their attitudes, their sharing, their support have all influenced me. Their absence affects me with both sadness and a warm touch of gladness to have known them, either in person or online, through blogging or Facebook groups.

Witnessing the death of people I’ve come to know, while sad, also motivates me to continue making the most of the time I have, whether or not I beat the odds. As Alex puts it, “The myeloma patient’s objective being, ultimately, to die of something else.” It may sound strange to say, but I’m not sure if that is my objective. The idea of dying of something else disrupts the script I have in my head and puts me into the same unknowingness that every other averagely healthy person experiences. Weirdly, I like having a sense of what I might expect, even though I don’t know when and I’d like it to be some time away. See above charts!

So, whether in knowingness or unknowingness, I am here today and all being well, hope to be back here in a few weeks time, after a trip to see family in the USA. I’ve been unable to contemplate long haul flight for over a year, due to an increased risk of infection because of the high dose of steroids and the recirculated air on planes. I’m excited!

And who knows… Maybe I’ll get back into writing more here. There’s plenty to tell!

I frequently follow fantastic fellow folks

I do follow fellow Multiple Myeloma bloggers (in the blogosphere, which sounds like the start of a tongue twister). There are quite a few and they post from all over the world. There is a website dedicated to hosting only Multiple Myeloma blogs. You can scroll through contributors or featured postings. Some bloggers are ahead of me on this our common cancer journey, and some are behind. I read their blogs to see what I might be in for, and I read others going through the steps I have already taken. Most, like me, are just telling their stories. I think my blog summed up would say: “This is what happened, yet I remain blessed.” Some bloggers, like John Smith are gifted writers.  I’m encouraged by MM’rs who have many years on their stem cell transplant when the average is 3 ½. There are also the “final” blog posts usually written by a spouse, son, or daughter. Recently one blogger wrote, “The farther you get from death, the more boring your story becomes.” WARNING: My blog may become increasingly boring as I enjoy this remission. Dull or intense, I thank God for each day.

2015-01-02 17-11-55.366

Still hard to believe I’m a grandfather

The University of Cancer, Part 2

One of my classrooms, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital

One of my classrooms, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital

Recently, I attended a presentation titled, Multiple Myeloma, State of the Art. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted the speaker at its monthly MM support group meeting. I joined the group in 2009, a little over one year after being diagnosed with this blood cancer.

It’s an active group with dozens of participants. Several are long term members whose experience resembles mine: debilitating chemos upfront, a stem cell transplant, and maintenance drug cocktails. We also share variations of the same side effects, along with a university level of interest in the behavior of this disease.

Like all MM patients, our initial diagnosis arrived with bad news. The disease, we were told, was incurable. But then, each time our doctors reached into the grab bag of options, they found solutions … at least temporarily. Months and years passed and we watched, via regular blood labs, as the disease settled into the recesses of our bone marrow, dormant for all intents and purposes. Inexplicably, the myeloma of others, undergoing similar treatment protocols, did not rest, but accelerated out of control.

Sigh. Caught daydreaming in class again.

Sigh. Caught daydreaming in class again.

The heterogeneous nature of MM lends itself to such unpredictable outcomes. The disease is diverse, perhaps unique, as it appears in each individual. And, as explained by the speaker at our meeting, scientists hope to find cures by understanding why some respond and others do not. To that end, developments in molecular genetics, the concept of minimal residual disease, and new methods of testing contribute to The State of the Art.

My group mates and I stay well informed on the science. Expanding our knowledge about this relatively indolent but relentless cancer helps us cope with the emotional toll of our own brooding, not to mention the loss of friends made along the way. But it’s important to balance our nerdiness with more subjective courses in the humanities.

Accordingly, I enjoy reading what other bloggers have to say about their experience. My favorite writers realize cancer is not a morality tale. It’s not good patient versus bad disease. It’s biology and biology is brutally indifferent to how wonderful we are. Nonetheless, their takes on cancer employ humor, art, and literature. These help to smooth the wrinkles of short timer syndrome. In fact, rounding out the cancer nerd’s curriculum is essential to passing that first required course in Mortality 101.

Spanky and Me Hard at Work Studying

Spanky and Me Hard at Work Studying

Few miracle cures exist for any of the many types cancers. With respect to myeloma, research plods along, faster we hope, than our disease. Clinicians trade in the commodity of time, buying months, maybe years with extraordinary drugs or experimental treatments.

Meanwhile, we still have lives to live. This month, our support group’s classwork has to do with palliative care for myeloma patients. Afterwards, there will be a farewell tribute to our retiring facilitator and the regional director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Sue Sumpter.

Sue epitomizes excellence in teaching. I’ve learned from her that it is not about just surviving. It’s about surviving with grace and poise; it’s about surviving with love and compassion for others whose road may be more rough or shorter; and it’s about surviving with openness to the miracle of every moment.

Thank you Sue. I hope you don’t mind, but the summer weather calls and I’ll be cutting class.


Recording my anniversary

I’ve not written a blog post for ages. Lots of stuff, both medical and fun, has happened and is happening. Nothing serious or life-threatening on the medical side, although the visit from the Critical Care Unit nurse while I was in hospital with the infection the other week was a tad disconcerting. However, I’m out of hospital and well… and yet not writing.

Whatever the reasons, which I won’t get into here, I’m annoyed that I’m not finding the motivation, space and time to write, as I’d like to keep up a steady record of this odd journey I’m on.

Today, however, I was on a train with my iPad, so it was an ideal opportunity to just write. I especially want to publish a post today because it’s the two year anniversary of my stem cell transplant and as such needs to be acknowledged here.

I am acknowledging this momentous achievement in other ways too…

20140517-082548.jpgI’ve been to London today (thus the train journey) to be recorded in interview about my experiences post-transplant. It’s for a video Anthony Nolan are making as part of their ‘A Road Map for Recovery’ campaign. They are pushing for a change in how late effects post-transplant care is funded and managed. They have already used some of my story in the campaign report (I’m on page 23).

At present, the first 100 days post-transplant is funded by NHS England, whereas afterwards, it’s down to the regional Clinical Commissioning Groups (replacing Primary Care Trusts), which means that patient care could vary depending on where they live.

Funding-wise, it’s that cliché of a ‘postcode lottery’, but for patients, it’s just their recovery, their symptoms, their treatment, their experience and most importantly, their life. People do not fall into defined milestones as simply as funding criteria do. Anthony Nolan want all post-transplant care to be covered by NHS England so that every patient has access to quality care no matter how many days after the transplant they need treatment or support.

As part of the campaign, Anthony Nolan are creating a short animated video to put across the experiences of transplant patients, so politicians and health budget authorities can understand better how it is for us. They think my story is an excellent example for the campaign. I had very few medical needs in the first hundred days, and only minor issues in the first year. Almost all of the Graft versus Host Disease [GvHD] that has needed treatment began a year or more after my transplant. I have been very lucky in that my care has been seamless and excellent throughout. But others will have not had such a good experience.

I am more than happy, honoured even, to speak about my experiences, even the indelicate bits. Being articulate helps, although being succinct required some prompting, which won’t surprise anyone who knows me.

After the interview recording and before I took the train home, I had a joyful half hour cycling on one of the many hire bicycles available all over London. You can easily just hire a bike for half an hour to get somewhere and drop it off at your destination, for just £2. It’s one of the best £2 I’ve ever spent I think, taking a bike from Pimlico, along the river to Westminster, up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and then to Charing Cross, where I neatly slid it back into a cycle stand and continued on to St Pancras station by tube. I thoroughly recommend it. What was even more special for me was that this was the first cycle ride I’ve done this year. It felt really good.

20140517-074201.jpgWhen I arrived home, I was greeted by a close friend, without whom, this journey would have been a hell of a lot harder. She brought me a wonderful anniversary gift… a beautiful cookery book that I’ve lusted after for a while: Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. They share not just recipes, but also histories and anecdotes from all the different communities that make up today’s culinary experience in Jerusalem, with the obligatory enticing photographs.

Even if I never cook anything from it, I will get great pleasure from just opening its pages. I was touched by receiving any gift at all and delighted with this one in particular.

20140517-002740.jpgLater this evening, we went out for dinner at one of Nottingham’s top restaurants, World Service. Being an avid Masterchef fan, I expected tiny portions of beautifully presented foods, served on pieces of slate and adorned with ‘foam’ and ‘micro herbs’. However, I can report that, while pleasingly presented, the food was served on plates, looking like food, tasting excellent and in a relaxed and relaxing environment… and all washed down with a rather decadent bottle of Sancerre.

20140516-233706.jpgLast year, a group of six of us went to Paris for the day to celebrate my one year anniversary. It felt like a very big deal. This year feels important but I didn’t want anything so grand or glamorous. I’m feeling quieter, more reserved and reflective, so I wanted something much lower key and closer to home.

20140517-004304.jpgThis year, a different group of six of us are going for afternoon tea at Chatsworth House tomorrow afternoon. Some of us may go for crayfish and champagne in true celebratory style, but that’s not obligatory, just tea, sandwiches, pastries and a scone, preceded by a gentle walk on the estate will be lovely. Just doing something elegant and special yet quite simple seems totally apt and I am looking forward to it in a calm, happy way, rather than the slightly crazed excitement of last year.

This year I’m in a different place with my emotions and my attitude. I think I am more accepting of steadily continuing to live and working out how I want to do that, compared to last year’s thrill and manic delight in still being alive.

Who knows how I shall feel at three years? But it feels good to consider a three year celebration as a highly likely event. So, I want to thank not just friends and family for accompanying me on this journey, but also express huge gratitude to all the haematology, respiratory and other staff who have helped to keep me alive, mobile and well.

One hundred Likes!

I’ve just received notification from WordPress that I’ve had a total of 100 Likes on my blog posts.

Number one hundred came in the form of my good friend, Wendy who also blogs and for your prize… you get to go on holiday with me… again! x

Injured in the line of duty…

You might think that no posts from this quarter means no interesting news. You’d be wrong…

Mostly I’ve been so busy and so high and unable to concentrate due to the effects of steroids, that I’ve either not found/made the time, or not been able to harness my thoughts coherently enough to write blog entries.

My friends who use Facebook will have a better idea of what’s going on as I post regular brief updates there, but today I feel the need to share more fully here, so I’m taking advantage of a day at home to update my poor abandoned blog.

On Tuesday, I was volunteering with Anthony Nolan at a fundraising and recruitment event at the George Elliott building of Nottingham Trent university. The fundraising was being done via a cake sale, organised by Pam, who works for Anthony Nolan’s cord blood bank, on the university campus. The cakes looked gorgeous and the two I ate were really delicious and worth every penny I contributed… A chocolate fudge cake, made and donated by Beeston Bakehouse and a gingerbread square, baked by an anonymous baker. From the sale they raised £208. That would cover just two people to be signed up onto the stem cell/bone marrow register. Yes, it really is that expensive.

So, not one to pass up an opportunity, I shall shamelessly use this post as another chance to encourage you to register as a potential donor, or support in other ways, by volunteering, fundraising or inviting R&BE to come into your school/college/university/organisation to speak to students or any groups of people aged 16-30.

And again, if you’re over 30, you can sign up via the British Bone Marrow Registry, which is part of the Blood Service or Delete Blood Cancer.

Meanwhile, back to my story… I was busy going into the café to talk to students, giving out information about stem cell donation and the work of Anthony Nolan and where possible, encouraging them to sign up at our table in the foyer.

Recruiting or trying to recruit at a University is very different from the sessions we deliver in schools with Register & Be a Lifesaver [R&BE], where we usually get support from the school and teachers, where we speak to a classroom or lecture hall full of students, with a professional presentation, including a personal story, that generally has a very powerful effect.

For example, last week we were at Bilborough College in Nottingham – a place which has a long history of excellent support for Anthony Nolan and R&BE. A whole team of volunteers presented every day to all Year 12 students, followed up by a recruitment session on Friday afternoon. We succeeded in recruiting 140 new potential donors onto the register. When I arrived on Friday, there was a queue of young people patiently waiting to sign up and spit. With any luck, one of those may be a match for someone who’s currently waiting for a transplant, maybe even someone I know.

So, there I am, popping into the café, with my faithful photographer friend, Russell beside me, to capture some publicity shots of the event. I look around and head for tables with a number of people sat around. Speaking to a group is much easier and they are more likely to engage and ask questions, and if I speak to six or eight people, it’s possible at least one of them might actually sign up, and with any luck, encourage/drag their friends along too.

So around 11:30, I step through the serving area and down a single step to the area where people are sitting, chatting, eating, drinking, playing games. I boldly go up to a table and ask if I may bend their ears for a few minutes. So far, this strategy always works. I’ve never yet been denied, unless the students in question were rushing off to a lecture.

I spoke to a few tables, with a mostly enthusiastic response. Feeling flushed with success and needing a break, I began heading back towards the foyer. I didn’t remember the step and thought there was a ramp there, so I didn’t step up, but instead tripped up the step and landed on the floor, somewhat shaken and hurting my hand as I landed. Ow! It was sore, really sore and soon began to swell up. Charlotte, the Marrow Recruitment Manager who was responsible for the recruitment aspect of the event, kindly procured an ice bag for me from the First Aider on duty. I took two Paracetamol and spent the rest of the afternoon with the ice bag clutched onto my gradually more and more swollen finger/hand.

By 2:30, my hand was very sore, very swollen and my finger immovable. Fortunately, on site they have a student medical centre, so I went to the Sunrise Medical Centre, to find out if I could see a doctor. Fortunately I could.

While I checked in, I found out that my own much valued GP, Dr Carolyn Lott, is a part-time doctor at the campus practice. Sadly she is only there on a Friday so I saw one of the two full-time doctors, Dr Rashbal Ghattaora, a very pleasant, approachable man.

When he asked about my medical history and what, if any, medication I was on, I warned him this could take a while. I took a deep breath and reeled off my whole story and everything I’m taking, which if you recall is quite a long list, as mentioned in a blog entry I posted a few weeks ago, entitled Not Normal.

imageDr Rashbal dealt very well with my probably unexpectedly long narrative, showing an appropriate amount of respect, medical understanding and comprehension that the combination of myeloma, osteoporosis and steroids may have compromised my bone strength. His opinion, without any hard evidence, purely based on the colour and size of my now blueish fat hand, was that I probably had a fracture.

imageIn fact, he said if he were a betting man, he’d bet on it. He also said that the fracture might be in the finger, which would be easier to heal, unless it had dislocated, in which case it might require fixing with small wires. Yikes! Or it could be one of the metacarpals in my hand, in which case, I would probably need a cast.

He sent me off to have an x-ray before going to A&E, which is now called the Emergency Department. Having a referral to x-ray from the doctor eliminated the need to wait in Emergency beforehand, which was very thoughtful of him. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long in x-ray or Emergency. Thank goodness it wasn’t a Friday night!

Fortunately, Russell, the photographer friend I mentioned earlier, had picked me up from home and driven me to the Uni and was able and willing to chauffeur me to the hospital. I may not have been able, possibly would not have been permitted, to drive myself. Russell was a real star. He not only drove me to the Park & Ride, but came with me on the MediLink bus to the hospital, sat with me in the x-ray waiting room, came down to the Emergency Dept. with me and sat waiting again while I was seen. Later he drove me home and came in with me to make sure I was okay before going home himself.

In another strange twist of fate, when I saw the triage nurse in Emergency, I mentioned living quite locally, in Attenborough, whereupon she asked which road. When I told her, she looked amazed and asked what number. We discovered that she used to live but four doors down from me and had only moved away a couple of years ago, with her twin boys, who I remembered very clearly and realised I’d not seen for some time. Unsurprisingly, they have not been at the forefront of my mind over the past couple of years. It was a nice little interlude.

Meanwhile, the x-rays showed that yes, there was a fracture to the proximal phalange of the middle finger of my left hand. To a lay person, that’s the first bone in the middle finger, from the hand to the first knuckle. My ex-neighbour simply applied a two-finger stretchy bandage to the fractured finger, splinting it onto the third finger. It’s called ‘buddy-taping’, which quite appealed to me. My two little buddy fingers helping each other out, like good buddies do. She gave me a sling and asked me to return to the fracture clinic the following morning.

I had two anxieties:
1. not being able to drive… My friend is working away and while I might be able to manage some journeys by taxi or public transport, the prospect was really not appealing and would make all journeys a lot longer and more tiring and ultimately would mean I’d have to give up some activities and commitments.
2. not being able to go dog sledding on my forthcoming trip to Finland in just four weeks’ time… and no insurance arranged yet. Bugger!

The next day, my relief was palpable when I discovered that I could in fact drive, with only slight difficulty taking the handbrake off and needing to use the palm and heel of my hand for gear changes. I drove myself to the hospital and turned up at fracture clinic, only to find that despite waiting at the desk in Emergency the previous afternoon while an appointment was made, it had not been entered on the system. I had to wait almost an hour to be seen.

imageFortunately, the doctor confirmed what the nurse had told me the day before, that all I needed was to keep it elevated and use a buddy bandage for the next four weeks and it would heal. Just in time for Finland! Hurray! I was promptly and happily discharged. Simple! Phew!

imageIt’s difficult to drive, prepare food, wash dishes, type, wash, get dressed. etc. with a hand in a sling. Even when not in a sling, many things are difficult, as I have lost a lot of strength in my left hand – temporarily, I hope! I’m not keeping my hand elevated as much as I probably should, but I do keep it raised when I’m at rest and I’ve been sleeping with my hand up on a pillow at night.

I’m glad to see that the swelling is gradually reducing, despite being such a non-compliant patient. However the colour of my hand looks much worse than it did on the day itself. I’m watching it change and looking forward to the time when the blue becomes greeny-yellow… Just for the variety!