A Five-Day Cocktail Bender

I went to the doctor thinking my heart or lungs had let me down. I was wrong.

I went to the doctor thinking my heart or lungs had let me down. I was wrong.

Although I have one more test to go (a PET scan later today) and the results of my lumbar puncture and bone marrow biopsy aren't back yet, my treatment has started.

I have two new semi-permanent companions in my life.

The first is a drip port that was installed in my chest. It means I won't have to have needles pinned into me at every turn. One location to rule them all from now on. My arm veins are celebrating.

The second is a mobile drip unit. From now on, I shall be tethered to it for five days straight when I come to hospital. It dispenses a cocktail of goodness into me 24-hours a day.

I'm also on about 50 steroid tablets a day. The Russian Olympic Committee has enquired about my availability for 2020.

The combination of meds entering into my body is called R-EPOCH:

  • Rituximap
  • Etoposide
  • Prednisolone
  • Oncovin (vincristine)
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Hydroxydaunomycin (doxorubicin)

Losing Things: Mobility

I'm also on some meds to handle the side effects. I'm a walking pharmacy and should probably apply for some kind of licence to keep me legal on the outside.

The first time I was put on a drip during my stay here, it was for 16 hours. I was still in the Medical Short Stay Unit, where they only had one mobile drip stand. It was already in use, so my drip was fixed to my bed.

I was told to drink lots of water, in addition to the saline drip.

I have a bladder the size of grape.

You might sense the problem.

It's very hard to drag an entire hospital bed down the length of a ward and into the toilet. I tried it once and the nurses told me off. Instead, they said I should alert them every time I wanted to go. They could temporarily release my drip line so I could relieve myself in the gents.

Nurses are busy people. They do important work. I don't like to be a bother. I'd let my bladder fill up so much it would hurt before attracting their attention. I'm not a sprinter, but it's remarkable how nimble and swift a well-motivated middle-aged man can be. And noisy too. The expulsion of urine from body accompanied by an equally vocal outpouring of relief.

I got some funny looks on my triumphant walk back to my bed.

If you'd like to receive a more detailed account of my tussle with Hercule, maybe you'd like to sign up for the Roger v Hercule newsletter here: Roger v Hercule.

Roger Overall