49.Tubes, Pumps and Infusions

Tubes Pumps Overall

It has been yet nearly another week since I was forced to contact my Nursing staff to enquire about anything I can do to improve my quality of life, following commencing my new chemo treatment.  Quel surprise!  They rushed me to the Cancer 32 Ward as soon as possible to assess and then monitor me, at least overnight.  They guessed, and were right, that I was dehydrated and were very concerned about my lack of eating, emesis and sharp weight loss (who wasn’t?).  So, Elaine duly drove me across to Ninewells and we hung around for the what seems always to be inordinate amounts of time waiting for things to happen, but they do eventually and then I get over my preciousness.  It is tricky though and I also do feel, particularly for partners, loved ones etc that also have to do the waiting stint simply because of being the accompanying person.

Quel surprise, eh?  Not really.  But at least this gives me a chance for a quick doff of the hat to the French football team getting to the European Cup 2016 final against Portugal, the latter lucky so and so’s, though they did manage to outplay Wales at the end – just one step too far, but well done Wales.  Looking forward to the final!

Wales Football Euro 2016

I am also looking forward to Sunday’s, as well as Murray’s Wimbledon Tennis final too now!).

Andy Murray Wimbledon Semi-Final Berdych

Wimbledon 2016: Andy Murray beats Tomas Berdych  and will now plays Milos Raonic in final after he knocked out Federer!

Sport is looking up in The UK.  Not just England Rugby Union (in Australia particularly) though The World Under 20s Championship was another English Rugby bonus!

England Rugby Australia U20 WCRU

The English U20 Junior World Cup winners after their Victory over Ireland – more stars for the future?

So, back to the plot!

I saw Dr P and he recommended re-hydration immediately, blood tests and then endoscopy to be scheduled as soon as…  The latter turned out not to be until Wednesday morning but I was immediately put on an infusion pump with saline and glucose, followed by saline drip for the next three days, as it turns out!  Depending upon the outcome of endoscopy I might have had to have a stent inserted into my stomach to widen it to allow food to pass through – it was currently getting blocked, and hence my being sick, apparently!  In the end the endoscopy was not as bad as previously as I was sedated, throat numbed with spray and a kindly bunch of folk waiting on.  I awoke in my hospital bed back in the ward with a tube up my nose and down via oesophagus, stomach and duodenum to my jejunum, the second third of the small intestine (the final bit is the ileum – c’mon, keep up!).

By now the decision had been made to feed me parenterally so that I get stronger to manage the Chemo, Steroids, anti-nausea, morphine, co-codamol, omeprazole and uncle Tom Cobley ‘an’ll sorts of pills they were throwing at me.  Interesting!  The nurses had trouble with the parenteral pump infuser from the beginning.  They eventually replaced it and set me off overnight with an infusion of, you guessed, Ensure milky drink (minus flavour – you don’t get it anyway!) at a rate of about 100 ml per hour.  Even 10 hours later only about 20 ml had been delivered.  Now recall this is my now main source of nourishment!  My saline infusions have caused me to require 4x urinal container emptyings overnight.  So all in all, I was having a fabulous time!  I decided to pull the plug on the catheter up my nose etc and try to make do with eating/drinking liquids little and often as before.  I had managed a yoghurt, some vegetable broth and here now was consuming some porridge, so not a bad plan I thought.

The doctors were worried I might not be getting enough calories etc to be able to continue Chemo treatment etc at the next round, but I insisted and asked that I could go home as soon as possible, for nothing else so that at least I could shower, shave and shite – in privacy!  They all agreed and I have now at least slept in my own bed for the last three nights.  Nurse M has been marvellous throughout.  She removed my jejunal catheter (it turned out to have a kink in it which caused the blockage!), finalised paperwork and arranged for district nurses to help change my steroid and anti-nausea infusion pump syringes over the course of the weekend.  The best bit?  She also recommended making Tequila Sunrise using my orange-flavoured Ensure drink; and topping off creamy Ensures with sherry, brandy or whisky to stimulate taste buds and appetite simultaneously.  All drinks have been a success, and I am now feeling quite a bit better, and eating at least somewhat, though cautiously so as not to overload my poor shrivelled stomach that is now described as: “a massive ulcerated tumour in mid-body of stomach causing hourglass wasting effect and further two similar looking ulcers in distal stomach.  Regurgitation is likely due to pathological gastric anatomy and reduced motility”.

So basically my stomach is gubbed! And for good measure, I also have severe candida oesophagitis though no oesophageal involvement with tumour, so I started a course of anti-fungal antibiotics this morning (Saturday) – Fluconazole for 5 days.  Happy days!

Nurses arrive in the next hour or two so I’ll sign off.

Well, that’s all folks.  Bye for now.

Buggs Sign off


One thought on “49.Tubes, Pumps and Infusions

  1. The trick to Ensure, is to make it very thin and drink cold through a straw. I like to flavour it with strawberry or chocolate. It really has no taste, and being milk based quite hard to digest. I understand there are goat and sheep milk alternatives in the UK. They may be easier on you. Ask the team.
    Kia kaha – Stay strong and on the days you don’t want to… That’s fine too.


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