Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Chemo #5 day 3 ~ fun times & crazy days

Wednesday 29th October  ~  Chemo #5 day 3

This trip has been very interesting, to say the least. We had a bit of an ordinary start to chemo number five, and the experience got a little crazier as it went on. There were high and low points, along with some tears and laughter. Is the moon still full, because I think this time I cracked a little and it felt like everyone was on the good ship loopy pop with us!

a quick cuppa before 4 days infusions start

I left Brendan on 7:30pm Monday night, and the gang where all settled in for the night, except for Carmen who was going through her bag. Reginald was in the bed next to Bren, he is probably only about my height and at 48 kilo he is a frail 80 something with a big personality, who wore his matching striped pyjamas with the top tucked into the pants  and the pants pulled up to his ribs. Reg was hell bent on keeping the dividing curtain open and his catch phrase was… Jeesus Chriiist!
When the lady bought his meal in, “Jeesuus chriiist whata ya call that?” When his wife rang to see if he needed anything “ you know I’ve been picking tissue pieces off my pyjamas all morning, you’ve gotta check the pockets before you wash em, you know you’ve gotta check the pockets …Jeesus Chriist” when Lens phone rang very loudly at 8am “Jeesus Chriiist”, Reg knocked his water bottle of his tray “Jesuus Chriiist”, it got to the point that every time he said it Bren and I would look at each other  and mouth the words “Jesuus Chriist” and I’d nearly wet myself trying not to laugh. [we had won the battle of having the curtain pulled at least halfway shut between the two beds by then].  I hope laughing at Reg’s catch phrase doesn’t make us bad people but it was just very funny every time he said it.
Across the room from Reg was Carmen, Carmen was also very slight but taller than Reg, she was probably in her mid 70’s and I bet a real looker in her day. Due to her treatment she was very confused, was a wanderer, who  on the first afternoon we were there was constantly packing and unpacking her things. She had a nurse assigned to her around the clock. I had not long stood beside Bren’s bed when Carmen looked past me into the corridor, and waving both arms in a welcoming gesture she said loudly “come on in, come in, sit anywhere, there are plenty of chairs”. And there actually weren’t; I was standing beside Bren’s bed because the nurse was using his visitor’s chair. As confused as Carmen was, her bright red lipstick was always perfectly applied. The nurse had told us for the first three days Carmen was in hospital, she didn’t sleep a wink and was constantly on the move. So both today and yesterday she spent plenty of time sleeping from exhaustion.
Next to Carmen and across from Brendan was Len. Quite a tall and again slightly built man,  in his 70's I would guess, Len didn’t talk much and liked to do two things, smoke and sleep. He was constantly coming up with excuses to get the nurses to take him downstairs, and at the times that they would agree, he would quickly grab a cigarette and stick it in his pocket. One nurse called him on this by saying “Len, what do you need a cigarette for at the ATM” he just mumbled something under his breath and walked off ahead of her. He liked to mumble every now and then, like when the nurses said, "we can’t take you out for a smoke Len, you’ll have to wait for your daughter to come this arvo". Len quite audibly mumbled “that’s F@#*en hours away, I've been smoking for 55 years I'm not going to stop now!” So when Len couldn’t get anyone to take him for a smoke he’d sleep; in the chair on the bed, he didn’t care! At one point one of the nurses woke him up and said hop into bed Len, you’ve gone to sleep sitting up. Len just mumbled “that’s not unusual” and went back to sleep.
Just to make things a little more interesting Reg’s wife bought him in a radio today, and around 3pm [quiet time was over] Reg decided to give her a burl at full volume; the radio, not his wife! He couldn’t find his station, yep 2GB, and was switching through static channel after static channel, peppering each failed attempt with “Jeesus Chriiist” When the nurse had a look and told him he was on FM and not AM, his reply was " I don't know how to work the bloody thing, I only got it today...Jeesus Chriist."

Brendan was sleeping a lot by now as the chemo medicine had kicked in, he had been fading fast throughout the day and was somehow able to sleep through the radio commotion. In the end the nurse did go over and asked Reg to turn it down just as Bren woke up. I think the silence startled him. 
4pm rolled around and the chemo nurse came in to hang the next 24 hour bag, and while doing so she said, “Brendan we have another *special coming in this afternoon, if it’s OK with you we’d like to put you in a room on your own and put her in here”.  Brendan cried with relief [plus this chemo mix makes him very emotional, and no he didn’t make me write that] As she was leaving the nurse looked back over her shoulder to say “ there’s one condition, if we need to, all us nurses get to come in there and hide with you tonight!”
As we left the room I looked back to wave; Reg was sitting on his chair, the curtain wide open, with a big smile on his face, Carmen was looking in her wardrobe fussing aimlessly with her clothes, and Len was flat out on his back, on top of his bed snoring. Walking away I’m sure I heard someone give a big sigh of relief …“ bloody young people…Jeeesuus Chriiist!”

*special...was the reference used by nursing staff for high dependency patients in their care. This was in no way a derogatory term. 

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