Today I had the last doses of chemotherapy for this block (Consolidation 2), which is nice, as it leaves just TWO more Consolidation blocks and a bout of cranial radiotherapy between now and the far less intensive Maintenance therapy.
I had hoped this would leave me free to flee the hospital and my hermitage (room 1 is so isolated – I never see or hear anyone unless they’re specifically coming to see me) and go home, but my consultant has decided it’s best for me to stay in until I’m past my neutropaenic stage. Unfortunately this is not likely to be very soon, as I haven’t even reached my neutropaenic stage yet… This morning’s neutrophil count was “1.4ish” (the scientifically accurate figure given by Daisy, the SHO), down from 1.7 yesterday. The plus point is that I’ve been able to abandon my hermit-like existence today to wander the hospital, but I’d happily give that up for a shorter stay.
I had been hoping to make it to a picnic Robyn has organised on the day of my birthday (accidentally, as it happens, so my absence won’t be fatal), and she had been quite happy about the idea of me inviting along whomever I wanted to celebrate (she also pointed out that, it being in a public park, anyone could have turned up whether she wanted them to or not, but I don’t think that was quite the issue). I also wanted to cheer Lucy on if possible, and her comment suggests a trip to Blackberry Cottage to see even more cousins was being plotted. I’d also wondered about spending some time after this phase seeing people in London. By my reckoning, however, it’s extremely unlikely my neutrophil count will have reached the trough and then recovered to a safe level by 2nd July. Had I been allowed home, at least my birthday could have been celebrated in slightly nicer surroundings than those provided by the hermitage, but I suppose it might be quite fun being here with a few nurses around, as well as any visitors far more likely to come and see me than if I were at home.
What’s more, it does make sense to protect me when neutropaenic, as the last thing I want is another trip to Intensive Care. When that was necessary before, it was very sudden: I was very glad I was in hospital and not at home when I collapsed. The frustration, as usual, stems from the waiting, in this case for the chemo to take effect on my neutrophils and my body to then recover. Naturally we’ve no idea how long that will be, but now my radiotherapy has been postponed until 17th July, at least there’s a bit more chance of an out-of-hospital break beforehand.
I think the delay would be a lot less annoying if I were in a different room, so hopefully I might be able to move when another becomes available. I didn’t mind the hermitage-esque properties of room 1 when I was expecting to only be in it for about a week, but now the time is stretching indefinitely ahead of me, it’s a different story… Particularly as I won’t even have the social interaction of a nurse coming in about 5 times in the middle of the day to plug in the different chemotherapy drugs and flushes. It really does seem so isolated: I see nobody unless they come to my room (usually for observations or to find out what I want to turn down from the hospital menu), or I go for a wander. Of course, as soon as I’m neutropaenic the latter will no longer be an option. The bonus of being in a hermitage, I must admit, is that it is terribly quiet, so sleeping is easy. And I like sleeping. But I like people too.