Archives For matt haig

The 12th of July. 

Venoplasty day!

Any day in ambulatory care means getting up before six which is not ideal, but necessary. I was last to arrive in my section, but that didn’t matter because I was third on the list, so there was no rush with my admission. I didn’t expect to go down until about eleven, so I was very surprised when a porter arrived at twenty past ten. The nurses didn’t even know, so I had to quickly go pee and put my gown on. 

Across in angio, I said hi to all the team, and Mr. Singh (who put the PICC in) came to consent me. Then Andrew came and we had a chat about the plan – it was left unspoken that this is our last shot. 

On the table, I was prepped, covered, cleaned. It is a testament to the greatness of the team that I have to be essentially naked in front of the whole room for a while but at no point did I feel undignified or unsafe. My groin was ultrasounded to find the vein, but there seemed to be trouble getting into it because I heard a lot of talk about scarring, then a dilator had to be used to hold it open so the sheath could go in. Then there were issues with the wires – people had to keep getting different ones from the wall. I think it was to do with the length or the stiffness? They were having to get all the way from the groin up to my neck, which is pretty far. They did a couple of runs with the gadolinium to check everything was in the right place, then it was time for fun and sleepy drugs. I got the nice, warm fuzz, then the discomfort of having balloons inflated inside you. I think they did maybe six inflations in total? They used the two biggest balloons available, in one site in the neck vein, one in the SVC and again a little bit further down. Then everything came out, and I had the awkward five minutes where a man leans heavily on my groin to stop the bleeding and there isn’t much to say. 

I went into recovery about twenty past twelve, where I had to stay for half an hour to make sure I was fine before they’d take the PICC out. When it came to that time, the nurses had changed, and the new one hadn’t done it before, so we had to grab a doctor to do it. The nurse watched closely, but there isn’t much to learn – just pull it out, then put some pressure on the hole. Then the nurse was able to ring the ward, where a student nurse said someone would come for me. Forty five minutes later, she rang again, and the staff nurse said she hadn’t passed on the message, and came straight away. I was fine; another nurse had shared her Jelly Babies with me and I only had twenty minutes of lying flat left. 

Back in ambulatory care, I asked Mommy to get the flowers and chocolates from the car because Emelda and Tracey would be gone by the time I’d be able to, so she delivered those and then got me some coffee and a sandwich, which I was only too eager to get into my face. Then we just had two hours to kill, so I was checking the tennis and talking to Mommy about what had happened in angio and what we do now. I have to keep my arm elevated a lot and try to squeeze the fluid down. We’re going to see if the massage people at the chiro do lymphatic drainage, and if that could help me. I’m also considering acupuncture. Anything that will get this swelling to go down. Anything at all. 

By half past four, I’d got myself ready to go, so I was given my discharge letter and we were out of there. I had a ticket to hear Matt Haig talk about his new book, How to Stop Time, at Waterstones at half past six, and I needed some dinner first. I ended up having a cinnamon crêpe and a chocolate milkshake because I am an adult and I can. 

Because of the wheelchair, I had to use the lift to get to that second floor, where the event was, which meant I basically jumped the queue. However, I chose to sit at the front which was good for watching the interview, but then I was at the back of the queue for the signing. However (and I honestly don’t know why this happened), some people near the front said I could go in front of them, so I got out a lot quicker than I might have. I just wanted to tell him how much I loved Reasons to Stay Alive. I’m so excited to read this new one. 

The 13th of July. 

Trying not to get sad. I’m pretty sure the venoplasty isn’t going to have worked. I’ve spent most of my day looking for effective treatments for lymphoedema. 

I had a chiro appointment this morning, which I was very thankful for because a) my neck has been really clunky recently and b) I wanted to ask about the massage/lymphatic drainage thing. Turns out my neck muscles have been recruited to help me breathe so they’ve got all stiff, and Trine’s not sure if they do this but she’ll find out on Monday. 

When we got back, I wrote a long entry about yesterday, watched two rather short Wimbledon semi-finals, and did a lot of internet research. There are the standard treatments of drainage massage and compression garments, but honestly they don’t sound very effective. There is a chance that acupuncture may have a small amount of benefit, but I’d want to know somebody who’d had it, not just pick a random practitioner. Or there are surgical interventions, and frankly I am leaning towards those. I will try anything. I just want my arm back. I want to not feel deformed. 

The 23rd of February.

This evening, when putting my soup bowl away after tea, I had this strangely optimistic feeling. Like I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and everything’s going to be alright. I know it’s not, but that seems kind of irrelevant right now. My knee has felt suspiciously fine all day, in fact, the only thing bothering me is a rather vicious headache but I’ve had some paracetamol so hopefully it’ll go away soon.

I kept my leg elevated today, just to be safe, and spent my morning as I do every Sunday morning, watching Sunday Brunch. We had Sunday dinner at lunchtime, because Christine had to get the train home at four. We had some super-tasty lamb.

This afternoon, I watched Hostages (something of interest finally happened!) and the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony. It seemed to scream “We can laugh at ourselves! Please don’t hate us!”

If my knee is still okay tomorrow, Daddy and I might go and see The Lego Movie!

The 24th of February.

I don’t want to speak too soon, but after three days of consistent sleep, I think my early rises might be gone again? Now I’ve written it down, I bet I’ll wake at half four tomorrow.

I didn’t actually properly wake up until ten past nine today! Then Daddy had plans to go to Wickes and other such exciting activities (!), so we put off the cinema until tomorrow and I went into town with Mommy. She went to give blood and was there for a good hour, so I sat in Starbucks and read about half of The Humans by Matt Haig, which I’m now really enjoying. When she was done, we went to M&S to look for a suit for Daddy but they don’t have many summer ones in yet.

My knee was twingeing a bit when we get back to the car, so this afternoon I put it up again and iced it, just to look after it again. I think I’ll just have to be careful with the amount I have it bent.

Becky came over after school and I gave her some brownie and she told us about her owl experience that James bought her.

I got a little bit deep into my own head in Starbucks. I watched some school/college kids and they were so young and carefree. They know nothing about life and how shit it can be. They are so lucky. I hope they appreciate it.

the humans

The 21st of February.

Difficult again. Reasonable sleep. Anne-Marie came this morning to flush my line, but the prescription that’s been sent is wrong, so she rang the QE and got them to send over a new one, but she’d have to come back this afternoon after picking it up. While she was here, she took the stitch out of my neck which was really fucking uncomfortable. It was really tightly knotted and some blood had dried around it so it was stuck to me. So that was fun.

This afternoon I’ve just been really depressed. It’s really hard. I’ve put on another pound even though I watched what I ate all week, it doesn’t seem to have mattered. I feel like it’s all just pointless. Anne-Marie came back to do the line flush at one point, once she had the right prescription.

I just want to go to bed and cry. For a week.

The 22nd of February.

My knee is worse today than yesterday. If it doesn’t improve by Thursday, I’m going to force them to get a bone doctor, or a portable ultrasound machine. It’s completely nonsensical.

So this morning I hobbled around, them immobilised myself in the armchair with my leg up on a stool. I remained there for the rest of the day, except for the parts when I made lunch and things. When I move, I make noises like HUARGHHH. I am essentially ninety years old.

This afternoon I planned on reading The Humans and having a lovely time, but I ended up playing games on Ada and being incredibly unintellectual. (It wasn’t even Sudoku or something challenging.)

I feel less depressed today. So that’s a good thing.

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