Neurology Appointment and Other Stuff

A brief account of my appointment with the neurologist at QEH and of the arrival of my new computer.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday I attended an appointment with the neurologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and I also dropped my old computer at PC World so that they could transfer stuff from it to my new computer, and my aunt picked up both machines from them today.

THE NEUROLOGIST APPOINTMENT

This went well. The dizziness and disorientation I experienced as an immediate response to my new anti-seizure medication appears to relate to a problem with my inner ear, which meant that organizing an appointment with the audiologists at Addenbrooke’s became of increased importance. This appointment is booked for 11:30 on June 3rd, immediately after I have other appointments at Addnebrooke’s, t0 minimize the number of journeys to and from Cambridge. I also have in case of emergency a medication for taking if the dizziness gets really bad. I am greatly relieved to have some answers and the prospect of further answers at the audiology appointment.

WITHOUT THE COMPUTER

Yesterday afternoon and evening I had a lot of time without access to a computer, and I filled some of it by mounting postcards for display until I ran out of glue dots (I had three postcards still to mount to complete the intended display, as you will see), and I have some stamps that will need the same treatment if I am to display them. This morning I used my phone to open facebook and post a message on the NAS West Norfolk Commitee page. Here are some pictures from yesterday:

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As these pictures show depending on layout considerations one can mount three or four postcards on each side of an A4 sheet, meaning that each section of a Poundland display file contains 6, 7 or 8 postcards according to layout.

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These are the three I have still to mount…
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…and I took the opportunity to get a close-up of this one.

OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS

Of course these are not the only photographs I took…

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This is an unedited photo…
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…and this is the edited version.

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Unedited…
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…Edited

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Unedited…
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…and edited

A Week In Hospital

An explanation of the events the between caused me to spend most of a week in hospital.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I will be explaining why there has been a hiatus in this blog. I hope that normal posting will be resumed from tomorrow.

HIATUS PART ONE: PHYSICAL SICKNESS

On Monday morning everything went OK until breakfast. The carer arrived and I was still OK, though feeling a bit tired. Then just after the carer left I was sick. My entire breakfast came back up. My aunt came round, and helped sort things out, another carer cleaned up the mess and washed the stuff thatr needed washing. My aunt left at about 11:30. Between then and her return around 1PM I was sick twice more. There was then another episode while decisions were being made about what to do. Near the end of the trip to Addenbrookes I brought up some pure bile. 

At Addenbrookes I was admitted overnight, given an x-ray and a CT scan and they decided that the most likely explanation was a partial seizure. I was discharged the following day, with a new anti-seizure medication added to my regular medications. 

On Wednesday I woke up feeling OK, got up to open the curtains and nearly fell out of bed in the process. I returned to bed to read for a bit before getting up, but by disorientation and sense that the room was spinning did not go away. I was not able to concentrate of the book for very long, and went back to sleep for a period. The carer called an ambulance for me, and as there was no way I could be got into my aunt’s car and an emergency ambulance can only take one to the nearest hospital I was off to QEH, although efforts were made to get me moved to Addenbrookes. I was taken off the anti-seizure pill as what I had suffered was known to produce the symptoms I had experienced as a common side effect. I was then put back on it to see if I could cope and I could. They were originally going to keep me in until Tuesday so that I could see the neurologist, but eventually an outpatient appointment was made for 10AM on Wednesday and I was discharged yesterday. 

Our misgivings about QEH notwithstanding the staff were excellent and the care and support I received was splendid. 

I had an uninterrupted night’s sleep last night and a good start to the day this morning, and have had a good day so far today. On the way to my aunt’s for lunch today I overlapped with the end of the Great East Anglian Run (GEAR), but through being in hospital so much recently I had missed the fact that NAS West Norfolk had arranged a designated meeting point, so although I had a chance encounter with one of my fellow committee members I was not part of our presence at the event, something which I regret and for which I take this opportunity to publicly apologise.

I hope that the appointment with the neurologist sheds more light on what has been going on and that we can move forward from there.

A Brief Visit to Addenbrookes

An account of my absence over this weekend.

INTRODUCTION

This is going to be a brief post to put people in the picture about my current situation.

THE EVENTS OF THE WEEKEND

After a good Friday I woke up on Saturday morning feeling dreadful. The trouble was a headache. At about 7:30 I took two paracetamol, hoping that they would ease it and I would be able to function something approaching properly. By 9AM it was clear that such would not be the case and I phoned my aunt to request her company. She called 111, and the paramedics who came decided that a visit to hospital was warranted (I have secondary tumours in the brain, so a headache cannot be ignored). After speaking to my parents my aunt decided that rather than have the paramedics take me to QEH (who have blotted their copybooks more than once since I become ill) she would drive me to Addenbrooke’s, who were informed that I was on the way.

At Addenbrookes after a check of my vital signs revealed nothing to worry about I was taken for a CT Scan and then temporarily admitted to the very familiar surroundings of Ward D9. The scan did not reveal anything that it shouldn’t, and by Sunday morning the headache had gone and I was feeling a lot better. By that stage the only question was how long it would take to attend to necessary bits and pieces before I could be discharged, and by 2PM I was in my parents car and we were heading to King’s Lynn.

Normal blogging service should be resumed from tomorrow.

I have no pictures of my own to share, but here is a graphic posted on twitter by Anne Memmott for Autism Acceptance/Appreciation Month:

Autism Acceptance

 

Hello Again Everyone

A brief account of my illness, treatment and fledlgling recovery from cancer.

INTRODUCTION

I have been undergoing treatment for cancer under the aegis of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge for over two months, and today is the first time sime I started receiving hospital treatment that I have been online (I have done a massive bulk delete of accumulated emails and will now start paying proper attention once again. In the rest of this post I will set out a rough timeline of events over the course of this illness. Unusually for one of my posts there will be no pictures.

WEEK 0 – THE ILLNESS TAKES HOLD

On September 29th I attended the wedding of a cousin in Sheffield. This was the last occasion on which I recall feeling truly well. During the following week I became noticeably ill, on on the Friday I left work early (an almost unheard of thing for me) because I just could not go on. On Saturday morning I cried off an intended visit to my mother at Godalming where she has recently been working because I was too ill to even consider it. On the Sunday evening having not ingested anything other than water since Friday I projectile vomited and realised I was in serious trouble, although not as yet just how serious.

WEEK 1 – TWO NARROW ESCAPES

On the Monday I collapsed between the bathroom and the bedroom of my old flat at about lunchtime, and by the evening of that day was in such a dreadful state that I could only be got into an ambulance by being out on a saline drip and assisted down the stairs that separated me from street level. Another day before receiving hospital treatment might well have been my last. On the Friday of that week, my body still unable to accept anyhthing other than fluids, but the real problem now known about I was referred on from QEH (my local hospital) to Addenbrookes (one of the best hospitals in the world for cancer treatment) just in time to avoid an operation that in my weakened state would very likely have finished me. The root cause of the mischief was a hugely swollen testicular tumour that had metastasized into large tumours on each lung (one of these was threatening a vein), a small tumour on the spleen and four small tumours in the brain.

WEEKS 2-9 – IN PATIENT AT ADDENBROOKES

I accepted the opportunity to be part of a clinical trial at Addenbrooke’s and by good fortune (and yes, I regard it as such, gruelling though the resulting treatment program was) got put into the group receiving accelerated treatment (chemo on a two-week rather than the usual three-week cycle). I am pleased that my treatment will have contributed in a small way to the advance of medical science (similarly I was delighted to be of assistance to student nurses and doctors when they accompanied their mentors – why wouldn’t I want the NHS workers of the future to be better able to do their jobs?!)

My treatment consisted of five days of intensive chemo one week, followed by a dose of bleomycin the Monday afterwards (always the toughest day of the cycle) and then the rest of week 2 of the cycle quiet. I have also been on huge quantites of pills and have had many scans and x-rays to monitor progress. 

Because my flat was unsuitable in several ways for someone convalescing from cancer (isolated by the stairs that separate it from street level and afflicted by damp) somewhere had to be found for me to go instead, and faced with a crisis the local council came up trumps with a bungalow just north of the town centre on an estate run by Freebridge Community Housing (the nearest there is to social housing in Tory Britain). Because the tenancy of the bungalow only became available just as I was due my fourth and last week of intensive chemo I remained an in patient until after the follow-up bleomycin which was on Tuesday December 11th (delayed by the fact that on the Monday my platelet count was too low). That same evening I was taken to my new home and became an outpatient.

WEEK 10 ONWARDS – OUT PATIENT

I remain extremely prone to tiredness and although I walk about my bungalow with no great difficulty I need assistance to venture outside. However, I had a very long Monday at Addenbrookes, because I needed more blood transfusions (the amount of new blood I have been given in the course of this illness would send Dracula green with envy) in addition to the bleomycin, and yesterday I not only managed to stay out of bed the whole day for the first time since the illness took hold, I was also able to watch and enjoy the autism friendly performance of the Christmas pantomime at the Corn Exchange. 

THE FUTURE

I am on the mend, though it will be a while before I am back to anything like my old form. My camera battery is charging and I hope to be sharing some new pictures with you before very long. My thanks to all who have waited patiently for the resumption of activity on this blog, and especial thanks to those who have read the whole of this relaunch post.