There are many, many things that happen to you once diagnosed. Some people like lots of info and stats and stuff, not me. Tell me where and when to turn up and just get on with it, thank you. I’ve stayed away from Google, and a brief scan of possible side effects with some of the supporting meds convinced me to stick with that old mantra “Ignorance is less scary”. Seriously, anyone who takes those meds after full disclosure is either drunk or illiterate.
I am totally unprepared for hospital stays, I don’t own a dressing gown and am stubbornly refusing to buy one. Like owning one means I’ll have to stay in hospital overnight. I’ve never got the hang of grown up nightwear, NO, not THAT sort of nightwear, behave. I mean matching pyjama tops and bottoms that aren’t comfortable (new ones which haven’t been washed thousands of times), and those unstretchy, button up ones? Who wears a blouse and trousers to sleep in? Old t-shirts and distressed joggers, that’s what I like. I grudgingly bought one pair of stretchy pyjamas. Only one pair because I’m not staying in overnight. My mum sent me a pair, worried for me and worried I would wear the t-shirt I brought home from Oz in 1994. I wouldn’t have taken that, it might have got lost whilst I was out cold.
It turns out there’s a lot more walking involved in a hospital visit than I remembered, the days of cheery porters wheeling you wherever you need to go seem to have gone. You are given a pillow, and a gown (2 if you were too tight to buy a dressing gown), and a set of places you have to go to have various procedures carried out, and a load of forms to be filled out. It’s like the most un-fun treasure hunt ever. Trotting round the hospital looking for various rooms, when you find the right one they invariably stick needles into you and take pictures of your wobbliest bits. Really shit prizes. You have to carry your pillow with you too, everywhere. I think they put tracking devices in them in case you make a run for it. 48 years old, dressed in 2 surgical gowns and nothing else, hugging a pillow, pushing though crowds of clothed people waiting to see their Dr’s. Thankfully we were all very British and completely avoided eye contact.
Lots of the people you have to find put all sorts of weird stuff into your system. There’s the dye that helps the surgeon track your lymph nodes, that turns your pee blue. They said it’d turn my face blue too but I’m Scottish and already pale blue, so that phenomenon was a bit of an anti-climax. Once you start chemo there’s something called FEC(k) which turns your pee red. It’s a bit of a boring day when my wee is straw coloured now.
I pointed this out to my husband who declared “Bloody Hell, you’re peeing like a unicorn”. Which was funnier than…
“Fat and bald eh? Not so much fun” Did I mention he works in IT? I glared and took the green leafy shit off my plate and put it on his.
“Yes darling, how will people tell us apart?”
Before you send him hate mail, he has never yet refused to go and get me wine.
I did end up having to spend one night in hospital, despite all the precautions I’d taken to avoid it. It wasn’t so bad, the menu was huge and the food better than you’d think. My room mate was fun, she was having new boobs whilst I was having one removed. We shared the same name, and I suspect we found that much more amusing than the nurses trying to dispense the right drugs to the right patient. “Nope, the antibiotics are for 2 boobs, I’m one and need the pain killers”, maybe that’s only funny if you’re still a bit hazy from a GA.