Monday, December 31, 2012

On New Year's Eve

It's been a strange Christmas, all warm and festive and in some ways very enjoyable, but always with the lurking realisation that it could well be my mother's last one.

Today she started chemotherapy at the excellent Bexley Wing of St James's Hospital in Leeds.  So far, everyone there has been a model of best practice - kind, welcoming, thorough, knowledgeable - and hence there has been none of the panic from my mother which has characterised previous hospital visits.

She was sitting in a comfortable recliner armchair and they put a cannula in her arm to deliver the drug.

First they sent some saline through it to check it was working properly, and then after about ten minutes they started the carboplatin.  It took about half an hour to go through.  It did make her very cold but we worked out that this was because it had been in the fridge and she now had a chilly drug flowing through her.

After a little while she said that she was hungry so we got her a coffee and a tuna sandwich - it seemed quite incongruous to watch her eating it with the drip in her arm.

There were about ten people in the room having similar treatment, many - like my mother - with their families round them.  My mother had my brother, her gentleman friend and me.  I felt sorry for the ones who were on their own.

As each person's treatment finished, the machine that was using made a little pattern of beeping sounds, a bit like the spaceship in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

Mum never did work out where these beeping noises were coming from, but she took great exception to them.  Her indignation every time a machine beeped was providing amusement to some of the other patients and definitely lightened the atmosphere in the room.

After a while she got fed up of keeping her hand still and kept bending her wrist, which caused the tube to kink and the alarm buzzer to sound.  The kindly nurses patiently kept restarting the machine, but Mum couldn't really understand why she needed to keep her hand still.

"Mum - - no - - don't move your - - oh.  Too late."

Finally she was done and released to come home, where she fell asleep but is now awake and seems fine.

It can, however, take a while for side-effects to show so we'll be keeping a close eye on her and they have given us a twenty-four-hour number to ring if we have any questions or concerns.

I've never liked New Year's Eve:  all I can ever think of is all the sadnesses of the past year, and I find it hard to count my blessings and think of all the good things, and then I get cross with myself for being that way and I get even sadder.

This year is, in a way, the saddest of all.  But it doesn't totally feel that way because of all the warmth and love and care that my Mum is getting from many different people.  So no matter what happens, I will always remember that.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year: thank you for reading my blog.


Blogger Jennytc said...

I do hope the treatment goes well for your mum, Daphne. It's a difficult time for you all. I know what you mean about New Year's Eve, but I hope this coming year will be as good as it can be for you all.

9:11 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Yes, all the best Daphne. Cyber-hugs from New Zealand. Enjoy the Now.

9:15 pm  
Blogger Helsie said...

A lot of us are at a time in our lives when we are looking our parents' mortality right in the face. It seems old bodies begin to break down and all manner of illnesses/ diseases rear their ugly heads and all we can be thankful for is good, kind medical management. Luckily you seem to be in that place. Let's hope you and your Mum can share some laughter in 2013, it's the best medicine.

11:15 pm  
Blogger Jay said...

I'm so glad to hear that your Mum is getting the top quality treatment that she deserves, Daphne. It makes all the difference when the necessary drugs are delivered with care, compassion and professionalism, doesn't it?

I hope so much that the treatment works well for her. I remember my Mum telling me when I was young not to be afraid if I was ever told I had cancer, because treatments were being developed all the time and the success rates were going up. Of course, it's still a scary diagnosis and of course, many people do not survive, but so many more do. I very much hope that your Mum is one of them!

12:10 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I lost my mother when I was 16 and my dad when I was 25. You have had the blessing of many, many years with your own parents, and who knows? Your mum may be around for another ten.

I do wish her well and my thoughts are with you, Daphne. A happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013 to you both.

2:32 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

As a blogger you have become less prolific and I have missed you! This post is imbued with a certain sadness but that's okay - we're allowed some sadness in our lives. Personally, I have always loved New Year's Eve and the promise of new things ahead. Be kind to yourself Daphne and give your mum a kiss from me (but no tongues!).

12:32 am  
Blogger Jan Blawat said...

I have finally begun to tolerate New Year's Eve because, unless I go back and read my own blog pages, I can't remember what I did during the year. Only the good times stand out. I wish you a happy year, despite the medical trials and tribulations, with lots of swimming and sunshine. XOX

1:30 am  
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11:36 am  

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