Despite my claims that I would be posting my often from within hospital, it’s now been a good three days since I last did so, but I do have an excuse or two…
Thursday was of course the jour de methotrexate, kicking off at a sprightly 4am with hydration, and also saw me wander the hospital corridors to visit the departments of Nuclear Scanning (I’m sure there’s a joke in there) and, erm, Lungs (or something more professional-sounding). The scanning just involved some fluid being injected into my blood; samples were then taken two hours and four hours later to see how my kidneys were working. As usual, I’m at an utter loss as to how that shows what my kidneys are up to, but anyway. Sadly the methotrexate was flowing and couldn’t be stopped, so the blood had to be given peripherally, but that was a minor inconvenience. As for the lung function test, the wait was too long, so I had to rush back in order to get started on my methotrexate (the timetable of which is very carefully planned) and didn’t get it done.
Then along came Friday, and the methotrexate finished, with no discernible problems, though I was v tired after a couple of nights with less sleep than I’d have liked. The doctors did their ward round and took varying stances of taking-the-mickey and leaving-me-be (“it’s not the army) for my desire to stay asleep and in my bed. Then, oh joy, the final asparaginase! Just to make sure I wouldn’t forget it easily, this injection seemed to hurt even more than normal, so I hopped around clasping my buttocks for a while. Little did I think that the asparaginase had one last attack to deploy!
It seems that occasionally, asparaginase can cause a reaction: I had never had a reaction to it before, but about 10-15 minutes after the injections I got up from the loo to discover my face going very red as blood rushed to it. I also felt a bit wrong, so I went to have a lie-down, which didn’t really help much, until just as a nurse happened to come in my stomach really started giving me some grief, so I dashed (as much as possible when you’re plugged into a drip) to the loo, dropped to the floor to be near the toilet bowl, and fainted. Next thing I knew, there were several nurses and perhaps a doctor or two helping me into a wheelchair to take me back to my bed, whereupon I shook and sweated (I was soon drenched), felt rough and tried to work out how many different bits were hurting. I thought I needed the loo again (nasty diarrheoa made that perfectly plausible) so was given a bed pan, but realised I was actually going to be sick instead just in time for the nurse to bring sick bowls. So that was the end of my breakfast as far as my stomach was concerned, though fortunately it did bring a little relief. With a bit of time I started to settle and fortunately began to feel a bit better. As I recovered, various nurses and doctors either came in and checked up on me, or poked their heads around the door to say “you gave us a scare there!” or “what have you been up to?!”, but I soon zonked out and went to sleep. For about 7 hours on and off.
After a few hours I still had a really bad headache, but otherwise seemed much better – Samar had already told me that the effects could last several hours. Daphne (the ward sister) said she hadn’t seen that happen for a very long time, and it was explained to me that just because I hadn’t reacted to it before didn’t make me immune from doing so this time. Fortunately, of course, it was the last dose of asparaginase – I don’t know whether they would have had to rethink otherwise; either way thank goodness there’s no more of that to come! It’s also now nothing to worry about, as it was just a reaction at the time and there’s nothing long-term affected: as soon as it finished it became a closed issue.
It was pretty scary, to be honest, having no idea what was going on or why it was happening. I was lucky that the nurse had happened to come in just before I had the main reaction, and I did feel much more secure as soon as I was back in bed with doctors and nurses looking after me. There’s always a slight worry when there are lots of them, though… But when they’re calm, it calms the patient down enormously, and they were never anything but calm. The truth of the matter is that I just fancied a bit of attention, of course, so thought I’d stage a bit of drama. All fun!
Last night I slept well enough when I wasn’t being observed or given folinic acid, but unfortunately that wasn’t very often, with things happening at 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8… I had a bit more of a lie-in today and it’s been relatively quiet, though the first growth factor injection in my belly was more painful than I’d expected.
I have a bit more knowledge of dates, but will write about them elsewhen.
(Curse the Asparaginase!)