Squeamish warning: there’s blood in this blog however it’s a special kind of blood!
But before we get to that, let’s go back a bit. Last Sunday I was worried that I wouldn’t be well enough for chemo#11. I’d picked up a pesky infection although I had no idea where I’d got it from. It was nothing serious, unless you’re going through cancer treatment that is.
My immune system was already pretty poorly – the chemo doesn’t just attack the bad stuff in your body, it also harms good things. Now my immune system was having to fight off this unwelcome infection.
I took to my bed for a few days. I was mightily relieved that by Wednesday it had beaten the bug, not the other way around. I was healthy enough to be poisoned. Excellent.
Before I could have my chemo cocktail I needed a cheeky blood test. The permanent PICC line that goes into my arm is supposed to make life simple. The drugs can go into it and blood comes out easily. There’s no need for any nasty needles. But the blood refused to leave my veins no matter what the nurses did. They pumped and pulled and pushed my arm.
Bizarrely one of them suggested I coughed, a lot. Finally the blood began to flow. It was collected in an air-tight tube with a plastic stopper which was firmly attached to the top of the clear tube.
Then something very freaky happened.
As the nurse held the tube, the plastic top suddenly flew off and hurtled several feet across the room followed by my blood. Somehow it spurted out of the tube and left a trail of splattered red drops over the floor. It looked like I’d been stabbed.
Luckily the female patient who was wearing a pastel pink jumper and had been sitting to my left had popped out of the ward for a moment, otherwise she would have been splashed by my blood.
The nurse reckoned that my blood had sort of exploded out of the tube. She said she’d never seen anything like this before. It seemed that the blood sample had burt out of the tube of it’s own accord. So, apparently, my blood is explosive!
Actually it may well have had something to do with air pressure in the tube. Whatever it was, the hospital floor now resembled a crime scene. It was gruesome and funny at the same time.
With all my blood spilt, the nurses tried again, but I began to feel very ill. As I sat in the blue hospital chair I kinda collapsed. It was like I’d been hit over the head. I almost lost consciousness and could hardly move. My body seemed as if it had turned to stone. The last time I felt like this I was in intensive care and fighting for my life.
When one of the doctors pulled the blue curtain around the place where I was sitting and I knew THIS WAS SERIOUS. I had a oad of tests to try to work out what had just happened. I hadn’t started the chemo so this wasn’t a reaction to the drugs.
I felt ever so frightened but at least I wasn’t alone. My friend Jenny helped me to sip water as I couldn’t lift my arms.
It was feared that I might have been having a stroke but in the end it seemed that I probably fainted. Having spent days in bed may have made things worse.
Did any of this get in the way of my treatment? Of course not.
While I sat back and recovered I was attached to a drip and given all the pre-meds so by the time I felt a little better I was ready for the chemo. As always I couldn’t stop myself falling asleep. But this was a different kind of feeling knocked out. Something that was much easier to cope with. And there was no more of that explosive blood.