By the third day I was still in pain. Every time it pumped (which was every few seconds) I had pain and discomfort in my chest. I tried to spend the morning napping and then went back to the ward. They were naturally worried and sent me swiftly down for a chest X-ray. Which I then waited an hour for. But the man who did the X-ray was so lovely and made me smile. It’s really nice coming across staff at the hospital who are lovely. Mostly everyone is, and it makes such a difference.
The verdict was that the PICC line was still ‘tickling’ me (there’s that word again), and so once again the dressing on my arm was taken off and the line pulled out 1 cm.
This. was. an. ordeal.
I was in so much pain in my PICC line wound by this time. Let me break this down for you. Three days earlier they had cut a hole in my arm. Inside it they put a tube, but what they also put in was this lovely little orange device called a ‘secureAcath’. This is what holds the whole thing in place, but it has two little metal teeth that dig into my skin inside the wound. Let me get you a picture.
And wow did it hurt when they opened the securAcath. Especially considering it was the second day in a row. There’s a reason these things aren’t meant to be touched for a whole week after insertion (the dressing is changed weekly). So here’s me in the Ambulatory care ward with cancer patients around me trying to get some sleep during their treatments, and I am swearing in pain and biting my fist. Then they put antiseptic on it. I’m pretty sure I cried. Really it was quite comical. The nurses were scared they were hurting my chest, I was swearing and apologising, people were looking on in some mix of interest and anguish and probably annoyance… What an adventure.
I sat in the chair for about an hour recovering and then decided to go back to my hotel room. I wasn’t sure if the pain in my chest was any better but I was tired and I figured it would be ok. So home I went.
I messaged Charlie and said I was craving custard and Chicken Kiev and the lovely boy went to the supermarket and got them for me. No I didn’t eat them together, I may have chemo brain but I’m not insane. Yet. The Cotton Rooms (yes, I know, separate post to come with all the details) have little microwave/ovens in the dining room, so we can cook things quite easily which is great. Weirdly though there are no oven mitts or trays or anything, so we used baking paper and napkins. But it worked very successfully and before long I was happily munching on a Chicken Kiev and some accompanying salad. Charlie had never had one and I’m pretty sure his world was rocked. I think there’s some comfort element for me in Chicken Kievs. When I was little, if mum was ever away (which didn’t happen very often), Dad and I would get Chicken Kievs. Just the ones that you find in the freezer section at the supermarket (my favourites!). There are two in a packet, so that’s perfect, and we would have them for dinner and it always felt like such a special treat. So it was nice to have a special treat at the end of a long day. And then custard – I had got into a lift earlier in the day and I think someone had been eating something that was custardy and I could smell it all around me. So I needed it. Craving satisfied.
After dinner I was exhausted, so straight to bed. Dragging my 3L backpack of water into the bathroom in the middle of the night was becoming very taxing. I was very excited to be getting unhooked the next day.