Archives For swelling

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 20th of February. 

I so want to be able to breathe normally again. Or at least, normally for me. To walk from the living room to the kitchen without needing to recover, to not need to spend the first hour of every day coughing up endless amounts of crap. I suspect Andrew won’t be able to get me in next week because he’ll be only just back from half term, so I have to be patient. I am just so tired. 

I spoke to the orthotics team this morning and I’m going in tomorrow at 9.30, presumably to be measured for a sleeve that goes over the hand. 

The rest of the day, I have been waiting around for Mommy to be available so we could bake brownies with the triple double chocolate Oreos in. At one point, we almost got started, then there was decorating chat, then Alison came over, so an hour after going to the kitchen, we began. I made sure we cooked them for the full amount of time, so hopefully they won’t be underbaked like usual. 

Good news! NHS England have announced they “are confident” that funding for second transplants will become available, but this is not yet confirmed. It also begs the question of what the hell has the anguish of the past six months been for? The pressure is not off. 

The 21st of February. 

I think the steroid eye drops are working – I had to wake up at quarter to seven, and it took much less time for my eyes to adjust to the light. Hooray!

Up early to see the orthotics team – Chris is on annual leave this week so I saw Pete, the clinical lead. I explained what had happened and showed him the pictures. He took some more measurements (and was pleased I had worn a jumper with easy arm access), and with any luck, I’ll be able to pick up the new sleeve tomorrow after haematology clinic. 

Before going home, we went into town so I could return the jumper I bought the other day, and I got a birthday card for Mommy. Her present is on its way, so if it arrives in time, I’ll wrap it on Thursday while the dining room is being painted and the fumes will force me to retreat to upstairs  

This afternoon, Daddy and I went to see Hidden Figures. It is really superb. I adored all of the costume, especially Janelle Monáe’s dress at the beginning. Loooove. I read an article about the three women (Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) in New Scientist a few weeks ago, and have been really looking forward to seeing it since then. I can’t believe I did not hear about these women until now. And I am worried that we are going back to the time they came from.

 

The 14th of February. 

Another Valentine’s Day without a media campaign, another day of no cards. Back to normal. 

Back at the chiro this morning, just to top up. I needed some work in the ribcage area still, but I can now take a deep breath without it hurting, which is always preferable. 

When we got home, I had time to write up a blog post, then Rosemary arrived just after twelve for one of the semi-regular lunches that she has with Mommy. While Mommy heated up the soup she made this morning, I explained what was going on with my arm, and all the various health issues I had over Christmas. 

This afternoon, I watched Katherine Ryan’s Netflix special, In Trouble, and crocheted just a small doily. No time for an all-day project today. I have ordered some crochet thread so the next ones I make will be not as large as the ones I’ve made so far. 

I just want it to be Thursday. I had a dream last night that I was going to have another venoplasty, but they cancelled it at the last minute because the door of my cubicle didn’t lock, and I was so angry. I can’t carry on like this. 

The 15th of February. 

My hand aches from all the writing I’ve done today but here I am again because needs must. 

I was woken up by Mommy stripping wallpaper in the dining room. Somehow, the sound travels directly up so it sounds like she’s doing it in their bedroom which is next to mine. Not the start to the day I expected. 

My breathing was pretty poor this morning, to the point where I needed extra oxygen after my shower. I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have it. After breakfast, I made another coaster/doily for Penny because she liked the grey one I did and it’s her birthday next week. Also, the crochet thread I ordered arrived, so I can make smaller, fiddly ones. And I got the new mug I purchased to replace the one Daddy broke yesterday, which is very speedy delivery!

After lunch, I sat down to plan my talk for the Midlands Marrow RAGM on Saturday. After two hours, I’d written five and a half pages, which I will have to practise to see how long it takes. I have twenty minutes, but that includes Q&A so I need to leave enough time for that. 

Clinic in the morning. Begging time. 

The 8th of February. 

I am so tired of spending every morning coughing, over and over, having to bring up crap from my lungs repeatedly. It takes hours to subside. I haven’t got an appointment for Andrew’s clinic next week yet, so tomorrow I’ll have to ring the lady I spoke to last week again. 

It’s been another rather nothing day. I have crocheted two coaster-type things, although they’re a bit big so are more like doilies. I am a grandma. 

We watched another episode of Case – it’s only on All 4 so we have to be proactive in watching it, otherwise we’ll forget and I do want to know what happens. I find it difficult to tell all the blonde Icelandic girls apart; they all look so similar. There’s another, similar drama starting soon called The Team so hopefully they’re different enough for us to keep them separate in our minds. 

Nothing else. Just want to be back to normal size. I’m doing a talk for some Marrow volunteers next week and it would be so nice if I didn’t have to wear an enormous jumper but I suspect I will. 

The 9th of February. 

So it seems 2017 is the year I become a pensioner, as I’ve made about five doilies in the past two days. They’re my new scarf – when I’m bored and have no larger project, make a coaster/doily. 

This morning, I made a purple coaster, and this afternoon, I did a larger, doily-type one while listening to 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields. They have such a wealth of material, I wish I’d known about them back when they might have toured. 

I had several phone calls to the hospital, trying to make sure I was going to get an appointment for Andrew’s clinic next week. I talked to the lady from last week, but she had no paperwork about me, so then I spoke to his secretary who was able to sort it out very efficiently and I’ll be seeing him next week. Apparently the compression garment people have me on their list as needing one urgently but still no idea when that might progress. 

This evening I had another Cats Protection meeting, although this week’s was not as long and I have no jobs to do. I am good at being the host, providing biscuits and doing admin. 

The 6th of February. 

Late night, and I spent my morning writing about yesterday, then writing it up in a blog post. We had phoned the chiro to see if I could go on the list for any cancellations, and Sandra (the receptionist) rang to see if I wanted an appointment at three. I said yes please, very much so!

This afternoon, I spoke to the person who does appointments for the pain team, to see when I might expect mine. It turns out they only got a referral for me in December, which is the one I asked Charlie Craddock to make when I saw him in clinic. She confirmed that it was a referral from haematology, which means that Spencer Harland never even bothered. I have spent months waiting for an appointment which was never going to materialise had Charlie not got involved. It’s a twelve week wait, so I’m looking at March maybe? It should have happened in January. Fucking furious. 

Needless to say, Trine was quite shocked and appalled. She can’t do anything, but she could help sort out my angry ribcage. A serious amount of kneading and stretching was done, and she told me not to be surprised if I bruise. I don’t mind, so long as my bones stop grinding together.

The 7th of February. 

A most unproductive day. My skin is doing its occasional “have some spots in awkward places” thing and because I am blessed with good skin most of the time, this is completely unacceptable. I’m really very grateful I don’t have to go anywhere this week and worry about concealer. 

I’ve given up on the sock I was making because I got to a point where the pattern confounded me so I’ve unravelled it all. One day I will find a sock that I can make! I practised some other crochet and unravelled that too, typed a pattern up so I don’t have to get the magazine that it’s in out every time I want it, and put a recently adopted cat in the Cats Protection database. SUCH EXCITEMENT. 

My arm has actually gone up another centimetre. I now look at my left arm and think it looks almost withered when it is the normal size, it’s the right one that is insanely large. I really don’t know how much good a compression garment will do.

The 2nd of February. 

It’s been a very busy day. As soon as we arrived at the QE, we bumped into John Higham from the dental hospital (there with a family member, not ill himself), and then Janet, who adopted Monica from us ages ago. She’s doing really well, climbing up onto their garage roof, yet when she was with us, she couldn’t even jump onto the windowsill. 

Andrew saw me super promptly, which was excellent. He showed me the pictures from the venogram, and it’s quite obvious that what he did should have worked. He doesn’t want to go back in immediately, which is understandable, and having looked at my arm, our first port of call is going to be a compression garment which he is trying to get organised as an emergency (it normally takes two weeks to get an appointment). I have to keep it elevated, and squeeze a stress ball a lot to encourage blood flow, and see him again in a couple of weeks, when we’ll talk about next steps if necessary. 

We were meeting Naomi for lunch, and there wasn’t time to go home and back again, so we went into town. I bought a new jumper with large sleeves to add to my current rotation and spent the book token I got for my birthday on Negroland by Margo Jefferson. 

We got to Strada first, and it was full of elderly people obviously going to something at Symphony Hall. When Naomi arrived, I gave her the bunny I made, and she was delighted. She was very interested to hear about my most recent Anthony Nolan trip and to talk about the charity – she’s learning more about how they work because she’s choreographing the new show being created about Kids Company that’ll be on at the Donmar in the Spring. Must go see it, it sounds like it’s going to be fascinating. 

I had pizza and a chocolate fondant, neither really worthy of photos but very tasty. She had to go at half two because she was seeing Love at the REP, and we came home where I have done very little except squeezed a stress ball. 

The 3rd of February.

Bleah, my cough is extra rubbish today. I can feel the gristle in my lower ribcage as the bones grind together. It’s really not very pleasant. 

This morning, I did the blog post I should have done yesterday, and I started taking some diuretics. We thought it was worth a try to get some of this fluid shifted, so today has also involved more peeing than is normal. Maybe they, along with the stress ball squeezing and arm elevation, will help the fluid. Heard nothing about the compression garment.

After lunch, Daddy and I went to see Sing. It was that or Hacksaw Ridge, and I thought I needed the light relief of singing animals. I was not prepared for the ten or so children who were there – at a two o’ clock screening on a weekday, there should not be loads of kids, no matter what the film. If they’re ill, they should be at home, if not, they should be at school. I had to shush them several times because their parents were not doing anything. 

Apart from the children, I did enjoy the film. Rosita is my favourite – I love her and her piggy power.

The 29th of January. 

My arm has not gone down at all. I think we’ll be phoning the booking co-ordinator in the morning, not to actually arrange something, but she might be able to help us work out how to proceed. What’s ridiculous is that I will probably be able to get this surgery relatively easily, but if I had an aneurysm or something, it would be a lot harder to pin down. 

This morning, I stayed in my pyjamas and blogged. I had Shreddies for breakfast for the first time since my mouth flared up, and they’re not as good as I remember. Might have to rethink my choice of morning meal. 

Most of the day, I’ve wanted to just retreat from the world because what Trump has started is so bad already, and I am sickened that there are people who think he is right. Disgusted by the actions of our unelected Prime Minister. The only heartening thing is the amount of people protesting, who refuse to submit. I hope he does come for a state visit, so he has to come to a city to a Muslim is the mayor and see the thousands of people who will not stand for his new brand of fascism. 

The 30th of January. 

No arm progress. I made some phone calls but by the time I got the number of the woman I need to speak to, she had gone home, so I have left her a message. I’m having a minor panic because my jeans feel tighter around my right leg today and I can’t tell if I’ve gained weight or if my leg has swollen up. I can’t use the scales to check because they can’t be relied upon while my arm is the way it is. Ugh.

I had a mini Cats Protection meeting with the homing team this morning to discuss some creases that need to be ironed out. It was meant to be just a brief chat, but turned into an hour and a half discussion. We did at least make some decisions and I’ve got one job to do but it’s not urgent. 

This afternoon, I did some CP adoption admin, and Mommy and I watched the first episode of Case, a new Scandi-Noir on Channel 4 that has already drawn us in. My copy of The Good Immigrant arrived, which I bought with my Amazon voucher that I got for participating in the Anthony Nolan group on Thursday. Really looking forward to getting into it. Also I am greatly enjoying the photos from the Birmingham anti-Trump protest – wish I could be there but it’s not advisable. I cannot afford to get sick.