Six cards spelling out GEORGE
Fabulous cousin Gina G shows her support and improving spelling skills

I’m not sure whether it’s something I’ve provoked, but there’s been a run of events over the past few days that have started to resemble the plagues of Egypt, which is slightly concerning considering the originals included frogs, dead livestock and the massacre of the first-borns.

We’re not quite at that level, fortunately, but it’s a remarkable coincidence. The other good news is that these days, a major hospital is generally equipped to deal with these things in a way the biblical Egyptians may not have been.

On Monday, the electricity went down a couple of times. I was in the bathroom at the time and was relieved that an emergency light went on (particularly as I have to wee in a jug so I can keep track of my fluid retention). A power cut isn’t necessarily a major issue, particularly when there are back-up systems in place, but it still comes as a bit of a surprise in such a big public service building reliant on electricity.

On Tuesday, not only I was diagnosed with the flu: another inpatient was found to have a separate strain of influenza. Infection control is of course a major priority in hospital (phew), so apparently the big guns were on the ward working out the best plans to contain the plague(s).  I’m assuming they didn’t all agree on an immediate conclusion, considering the U-turns leading to the chaotic room-switching… They were probably more united on the masks, though.

Today, Wednesday, brought a new problem, heralded at first by the loss of water on the ward. Given the efforts towards proper infection control and the importance washing your hands plays in this, it was no laughing matter. This ‘drought’ was resolved before too long, but later the entire St James’s Wing was placed in lockdown due to flooding… It was tough for staff, but on an individual note I was gutted that it meant Mariacristina couldn’t come up to my room. At least we ended up Skyping, which I guess the biblical Egyptians couldn’t do.

As far as I remember from the story, following ten days of power cuts, frogs, influenza B and first-born slaughter – among other plagues – cast down on them by God, the Egyptians relented and agreed to free the Israelites. I’m not sure God wreaks such havoc for individuals nowadays, but I can’t help wondering whether today is actually Day 3 of the plagues, and that perhaps after Day 10 the medical staff will set me free… It’s a long shot, but I’m keeping an eye out for boils tomorrow.

I’m glad to be feeling up to writing this, as I’d almost written the possibility off during the rest of the day, given how rough I was feeling. I felt extremely sleepy, probably partly because I got to bed late and slept badly – this room is in the main corridor and directly opposite the nurses’ station. But my haemoglobin was down, too, far enough for them to give me blood, which will have contributed to my tiredness and possibly the splitting headache I had for most of the day. My mucositis has definitely got worse, too, though I’m still managing to eat: mostly soft food such as soup.

George with bag of blood
Ah – just what I needed…
Fred as a vampire
Fred cannot wait to come and try some next week

Fortunately I eventually managed to get some kip in late afternoon, just after they’d hooked me up for the blood transfusion. Between my snooze, the blood and possibly the codeine I’d had, my headache magically disappeared and I felt much more energetic. “Great,” I thought. “Just in time for Mariacristina’s visit!” Alas – the (divine?) floods washed away that hope.

Day +7, then, was mostly tough, but redeemed by a return to form in the evening. On the balance of things, though, I think I’d prefer the ‘plagues’ to stop…

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