Today has been rough.
The flu virus got a swift hold and my temperature shot up to 38.5 degs C so I’m on antibiotics to help my tissues graple with the infection – my blood counts are not quite down to zero so my old immune system is doing what it can but is easily overwhelmed. This helps regulate my temperature somewhat, but it remains volatile, and I feel occasionally feverish hot and then shivery cold. On top of that it’s got into my lungs and I’m coughing up a lot of gunk, unpleasant enough but the shaking of my frame whilst coughing aggravates my oesophagus which causes gasping pain.
Mucusitis is the problem there – my whole digestive tract from mouth to bottom is raw and inflamed – collateral damage as a result of the high-dose cancer-killing chemo drugs. As a result I have a sore, numb and tasteless mouth and throat; a super-sensitive oesophagus which burns with the passage even of tiny sips of water; and stomach which spasms and cramps for no particular reason; and aching abdomen and increasing diarrhoea, passing which causes more spasms. Nasty.
I’m doing my regular mouthwashes, am still on the original cocktail of anti drugs but we drop the anti-sickness because I’m not vomiting. I can’t tell if anything is helping – they must be but don’t feel they’re helping me cope with the new problems.
This is an unsettling time – I’m not sure what to expect from the next few days apart from no anticipated improvement until next Monday which seems a very long way off. The day passes interminably. I’m unable to do anything constructive and just lie on the bed, coughing and groaning in a rather unheroic fashion – I don’t know why but making a sound seems to help with controlling the arcs of pain, filling my head and senses with something else…
Eating and drinking become increasingly difficult and sleep is sporadic and shallow.
This goes on for 24 hours – a long round of drips and pills and Bloods and Obs. I’m given a litre of saline to keep me hydrated as my water intake drops. I have to catch samples of everything that leaves my body for lab work. Depending on what shows up will help the team decide on treatment options as we go along.
So yes, a tough day, but this is why I’m here in this carefully controlled environment with specialist care, and despite the disruption of moving wards and having to get used to a new team, things are going ok. I miss the old team who have got to know me over the last 10 days and know what I’m normally like, whereas the new team just have to cope with an ill person who can’t engage in small talk or smile…
I’m talking as little as possible because it kicks off a round of coughing and so I’m answering calls to my mobile by text.