At about 10:30pm I was just about to go to bed after a lovely but tiring day when my Cisplatin pump started beeping frantically and I looked at the display and noticed it was dead. The damn thing kept beeping without any hints or helpful warnings as to why and so I called Ambulatory care, which is transferred after hours to the main Hospital tower, level 16.
I’m not going to lie, I was feeling fairly stressed and flustered. Charlie told me not to panic but I was just so exhausted by this stage for much rational thought and didn’t know what to do. But of course it was straight-forward: outside clothes on and just pop across the road. Someone stopped us for directions to Euston Station as we were crossing the road. That way, down there.
By this stage the pump was just groaning painfully, the beeping had stopped. I had tried to change the batteries first thing before we left to see if it helped but it didn’t seem to. So over we went. By the time we arrived at the hospital it had gone silent. Dead. It had given up on me entirely.
Nurse Janet came to my rescue as we sat in chairs in the foyer of T16 and tried to work out what was going on. We managed to put the battery back in and turn it on, and it spluttered back to life, but it was saying that the batteries had died and new ones needed to be put in. However once we got it on, it looked like the batteries that had been in it were fine. Seemed to be a problem either with the pump or the battery malfunctioning… How do you even know?
A second nurse came to my rescue also and brought me a cup of tea. Lifesaver. I’ve never been so grateful for a cup of tea! I wish I remembered his name too. Maybe someone out there in the internet can help – senior haematology nurse? T-16? Name started with an A. Art… Something. Geez I really need to work on names! I feel like I’m saying this almost every day now. I want to be able to give shout outs to all my heroes along the way.
Janet went and sourced more batteries and managed to get her hands on an entirely new pump for the Cisplatin. Cover all bases. They got my familiar pretty green file with all my records in it. It made me feel relaxed to see it. Yes, my plastic ring binder with hard copy records inside. They physically make the trip over to the Tower every night along with the Ambulatory Care phone.
Between the four of us we looked and tried to work out how to fiddle with the machine. I didn’t have much idea but I wanted to look on.
Thank you for letting me look over your shoulder Janet and sorry if I was a little bit flustered. But I had absolute faith in you once we got in. And my second nameless-for-now nurse helped work out how to program it to my stats. 71.7 ml of Cisplatin for 4ml/hr. The painstaking process of moving sequentially down from some number in the vast hundreds to just 71.7. Though we had to compromise with the machine with reservoir being set to 72.
We got there. And the pump has been pumping away happily ever since. Thanks for your help, guys. Yeah the first time something goes wrong it’s a bit scary. The first time you have to traipse to the main Hospital after hours with alarms going off. But I’m reassured by the process now. Less unknowns next time.
All in all, another success.