Friday, August 6, 2010

A day at home.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to drive home as Sigve was still feeling fine, but tired. As I reached the Bømlo bridge this sight met me, and I just had to stop and shoot it. In the middle is the Siggjo mountain, Bømlo's signature silhouette. When seen from the other side, from the North See, it can be seen from miles out, and it has been a homing point for ships for hundreds of years.

Back at Haukeland Hospital, Sigve had settled into his room, his new home away from home. It's a very nice single room. The hematological ward has 2 of them, both reserved for stem cell transplant patients. The room has a TV, DVD player, fridge, an exercise bike, and all the usual medical equipment. In about 7-9 days, when his immune system is almost all gone, he will have to start an approx 2 week isolation period, and be confined to this room. He will be able to have visitors, but special precautions have to be taken. I will get back to that when the time comes.

Meet "Hangman"
Hangman is another new companion. He's not as close to Sigve's heart as Hicky, but he has to drag him along anywhere he goes. I suppose everyone have either been attached to one of these at some point, or at least seen one, so I won't describe him in any detail.
At 3 am on his first night, Sigve started on his first bag of chemo. He gets a new one every 6 hours, and they drip in over the 6 hours between. This first course has not given him any discomfort, other than being tired as a side effect from a medication he's given to prevent cramps. As the chemo starts to work, a lot of waste products need to be flushed out, so Hangman provides him with liters of liquids to aid the kidneys in this process. He's also encouraged to drink as much water as he can possibly pour down. This, of course, results in an extreme need to let it all out again. For someone who usually can go a full day without visiting the little boys' room, having to go every half hour, day and night, is quite a challenge. And Hangman has to go too, so he has to be unplugged, and maneuvered between the bed, table and chairs (he has six wheeled legs that stick out in all directions), and into the small bathroom. It also results in very interrupted and unrestful sleep, so that too makes him drowsy during the day.
There is effective medication to prevent nausea for this first chemo course, but not for the second one, given on Sunday and Monday. There is medication to reduce it, but unfortunately not completely eliminate it.

I have spent a lazy day at home today. I did not set the alarm clock last night, so it was past noon before I managed to drag myself out of bed. Laundry was on my to-do list, and I actually got it all done, but otherwise not much. I find I have problems concentrating on what I'm doing, so I start many different jobs, and although multitasking is usually good, trying to do 5 different things at once just leaves a mess when your heart's not in it.
I Skyped with Sigve earlier this evening, and he was still feeling ok. But there is something about being in hospital; I think that even if you don't feel too bad initially, just being there "sickifies" you. I feel it, even as a visitor.
On the first day, before Sigve's room was ready for him, we sat in the lounge area with some other people, patients and relatives, and everyone felt the need to share their story. I found that I don't really need all that negative energy, so I will try to avoid that kind of situation in the future.

" The more attention you pay an enemy (f.ex. disease, IM), the stronger you make him. Be attentive, but don't be paranoiac." Paulo Coelho

Geir Espen and I are going to Bergen tomorrow, after he finishes work, and probably staying for the weekend. Thanks to our wonderful friends Brita and Ketil I have a place to stay whenever I am in Bergen. I'm glad I don't have to stay in a hotel, which is both expensive and impersonal. Good friends are priceless in any circumstance, and especially now!

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