Category Archives: Hospital

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I got home yesterday. It was tricky – my knee wouldn’t bend into the front seat, but we managed to lower the seat back enough for me to go back, and then forward again. Then I discovered the g-force of right turns on the knee was very painful. Next time (Monday, when I go up for my next Herceptin dose), I plan to sit in the back with something (I don’t know what yet) to try to immobilise the knee a bit more. However being here is good. It has been raining non-stop, beautiful monsoonal weather. Floods at Jabiru and

Adelaide
River though. Cool in the house, sometimes no fans on. It is great to breathe fresh air.
The movement range of the knee is still pretty limited. But I am finding it easier to keep it moving. Also, I sat up for a good 4 hours today, and kept the knee sliding up and down on a ramp as much as possible. I still need someone around for any movement, but I am getting more independent.

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A good life

It feels strange to be going home. I have got so into being in the present, living in the moment, looking at the clouds, the birds, focusing on eating and drinking, meditating and entertainment, and how I am mainly comfortable – that for it all to be changing into something else is puzzling. It is a new attitude again. I didn’t expect this. I am and I expected to be ‘happy’ to be going home. But also there is the feeling, everything is currently manageable, comfortable – if it changes – ah! Who knows? Funny to feel this trepidation. I was worried also last night about feeling some shortness of breath, and I thought, now there is a change I’m certainly not ready for, a different deterioration. I want it all to be positive for as long as possible. I did focus on it in chanting, and today it seems better. I am waiting on doctors to decide if and how many staples to take out before I go home. I am feeling much more mobile, and the pain has dropped over the past 24 hrs. I will write again about how actually being home is. Overall, I have enjoyed being here. It’s amazing what one can enjoy. Approaching it from the present focus, it has nearly all been enjoyable, except for the painful times, the waiting times, the being tied to machines and continuously disturbed times. But mainly it has been rest and recuperation with people and activities I enjoy and learn from. A good life.   Can all life be this way, even if one is not ‘outside’ of it, in the way that I am positioned at the moment?

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Basking in radiance

I can go home tomorrow. I still can’t sit up so that my knee bends down to the ground, I’ll still have to keep working on that. That’s the main problem with getting about – getting from lying to sitting to standing. And even getting around in the wheelchair – a bit precarious with a leg stuck out in front. Doesn’t feel overwhelmingly secure – like I might run into things anywhere. Things that work, we take for granted. There is no way around this. We just do. I take my other leg, bending happily, for granted in the way that I took my knee moving up and down last week. I realise that if I sat here listing all the things that do work, well, I’d have no time for anything else at all. Most of me is working brilliantly well. The best thing is to bask in this, like sunshine. Not break it all up into bits. Just feel its radiance.  And I do make time for this. It is very refreshing. Strengthening. So much healing is happening, as well as waiting, and so many sources of strength have been provided for me.But sometimes I do work through lots of layers of everything that works. To feel overwhelmed in the magnificence of it.  Overwhelmingly healthy.Today the physio showed me how to use the good leg to lift the sore leg up and down off the bed. That is another breakthrough towards independent mobility.I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s electronic communication again in the next few days, back with my network. But being here, I have been comfortable, and rested, and entertained, and well looked after. I still feel lucky.    

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Body consciousness

Today I went outside again, and got lightly sprinkled with rain. I had my leg on a board, sticking out from a wheelchair. I’ve watched Little Miss Sunshine, which I saw last year and thoroughly enjoyed both times. I love the open-ness of its comments on life and society. All the characters are interesting, a real mish-mash of potential, and all develop through the journey. In one of the critical moments, the Proust scholar uncle talks about how Proust saw the years of suffering as the ones where you learn the most. Perhaps that is so. One can also learn through not suffering, through joy. Through everything, I think. I’d like to do more of the joy learning. And always to some extent one chooses whether there is joy or suffering there. It is hard to find joy in pain, but it is possible to find ways of suffering less, or more, in anything.

The hard thing is when a part of oneself is resisting something very, very strongly. Anything – waiting, pain, lack of movement…the weather…anything. I suppose also desiring something very, very strongly as well. Although I find it easier these days to let go of that end. Depending on how physical the need or desire is.

I was thinking today of what I ‘had to’ do. Being in hospital, mostly immobile, one comes down to the basics. Obviously, the autonomic functions – but they are what happens, rather than what one ‘does’. You can focus your consciousness on your breathing, but it is rarely necessary to do so. The first level where consciousness begins to become necessary is elimination, although to some extent that will be automatic sooner or later, once consumption has taken place. Elimination being a major consideration when not independently mobile. Trying to keep everything working, trying to keep it happening at a time when it is possible to get help. Trying to involve the maximum amount of movement with the minimum amount of pain. All major considerations for me at the moment.

The next level of ‘have to’ and consciousness is drinking and eating. This does not just happen by itself, I do have to do something. It is not autonomic or inevitable.

It is amazing, being in here, how much time can be taken up by just these things: sleeping, eating, drinking, eliminating, moving. I could focus all my consciousness just on these.

Although I would be bored. I am very glad to read, write, talk, view as well. And blog. I am looking forward to reading other people’s communications again as well, I have only seen a few since I’ve been in here, since it is not actually wired and must be transported.

When my knee bends a little more and I can get about a little more independently, I’ll be going home. Balancing my enthusiasm to do so against the pain of pushing it. Although I’ve been told I can’t really push it too much. Every movement is good.  

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Chocolate temperature

The temperature in my hospital room is just right for chocolate. I don’t have to keep it cold. It is just soft and creamy and delicious. I’ve had a range of chocolate since being in here. It is one of the benefits, particularly as I am able to eat well at the moment.

I’ve had Herceptin today. It was completely trouble-free, even to the extent that 25 mg of phenergan (an antihistamine to combat potential allergy problems) did not put me to sleep at all. Not many months ago, 10 mg of phenergan would have knocked me out. I develop all kinds of tolerances.

It’s a bit scary, having started the Herceptin. It is my big hope for now. The scary thing is, what if it doesn’t work? But. What if it does? That is the better place to focus. Look how the chemo worked. And this, so much more comfortable.

I’ve been reading The Sunday Philosophy Club, which is also comfortable. A good book to read, with a drip in your arm. The drip will be coming out soon. I am going to request Voltaren, which I am to see if I can stop taking, for the good of my stomach, now I seem to have overcome other painkiller problems. Then when the physio comes, I will try some walking around. The knee is much better today, with only a narrow angle range causing pain. Being upright is okay, just a low angle to the ground is uncomfortable now.

A storm is brewing. They allege the monsoon trough is back. Perhaps there will be some more good lightning shows tonight.

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Sleep

Last night, I slept. How good was that? I didn’t even need to go to the toilet, first time in months. I didn’t need any extra painkillers. I did wake up a few times, and stretched my knee and went back to sleep.

It is still swollen like a balloon, my knee, but it hurts less today, is slightly more flexible. There are lots of staples down the side of it. I have to be walking quite well to go home in a few days, but I’ll only do that within the limits of what feels okay. I’d rather be here than push it too hard. I don’t need any more pain than necessary.

Tomorrow, hopefully this time, I start on Herceptin. They will give me the first dose here in my room.

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Ipod therapy or Dancing in the Dark

I made a new discovery last night – ipods. Of course, my kids have been connected to ipods for years – usually when I’m trying to discuss some serious and important topic with them, such as washing the dishes.

My main problem with ipods has been that I have small ear openings, and find most earphones uncomfortable. Also, in spite of Apple’s user-friendly image, I found the technology somewhat challenging – I’m not quite up to multi-function buttons that do different things at different times. And I keep trying to find a switch off button, but apparently it just knows when it’s off.

Anyway, last night I overcame all these hurdles. Mike got an ipod for his birthday, and he’d uploaded some playlists we’d put together over the years. I said I wasn’t interested in listening to music on the ipod, but I’d like to listen to some Radio National podcasts, so he got me All in the Mind and The Philosopher’s Zone.  So when I finished reading last night, I thought I’d listen to those and go to sleep.

Well. I won’t do that again. What possessed me to think that listening to discussions on consciousness and mind/body dualism would make me sleepy? By the time I’d listened to those, my mind was jumping about like a kangaroo, with no hint of sleepiness on the horizon. (a blog entry on those marsupial thoughts coming up soon too!) So I started listening to the music.

And what fun, what fun! I felt like a teenager in my room, totally tuned into the music in the dark. And before long I was bopping away in the bed, discovering that my new hip can wriggle pretty well and my feet can tap and my knees bend and my hands clap and click.

Now one of the things I’m meant to do in my bed-ridden, non-weight-bearing capacity, is exercises for my legs, to prevent deep vein thrombosis. I do them conscientiously, ten of this on one leg, ten on the other, 3 times a day at least – a good ten minutes or so. Last night I did the equivalent movements with much more enjoyment for about 2 hours. My hip which had been aching, stopped, and is better also today. My left ankle which had puffed up, puffed itself down again.

Who needs physio? Give everyone an ipod and let them get into some (real) horizontal dancing. And having fun. And living in the now. And feeling alive, and well, and invigorated. Partying on until 1.30am instead of moping.

Reckon I could set up some ipod therapy training?

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