Stop the ride I want to get off...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

poisoning your daughter...

Amy’s story, I guess I should continue. We left her last, waiting to have her first chemo. That day was spent being handed various bits of paper to read, leaflets to peruse and so on. Lots of work with the play therapist and then of course those dreaded permission forms. I hate those forms, they sit and tell you all the risks, right down to your child may die if we do this. Then you look at them and say but if we don’t do this she will die anyways so it’s not really a choice. Personally, I’d rather not know the risks unless the odds are very close. So we sign and then wait…

Pondering all sorts of stuff, will it hurt, what will it be like to have a bald daughter? How ill will she be? I’d watched some teenagers getting their chemo and they were being so sick, turns out teens are the worst because they over think everything. Chemo sick is a lot down to state of mind, bit like morning sickness, most of us can think ourselves out of morning sickness. There are just an unfortunate few who discover that there is an evil version of morning sickness and it doesn’t go away.

Back to the point, chemo, Hubby and George had spent the day with us but had to go home, still no sign of the chemo, the nurses said this was normal. That they preferred to give it in the evening cos then the child slept through the effects the first time. Finally we were called to the treatment room, where the drip stand was all set up waiting. My heart was in my mouth, here I was encouraging my daughter to sit on my lap and be given lethal poisons. Remember that saying we were taught at school “Just say NO to drugs” if only we could.

Two of the lethal cocktail needed to be given via a syringe into the line, hmm weird I used to be able to remember the names need to go look them up. First to go in was Actinomycin D, I could feel the tears pricking in my eyes so I started to make jokes with the nurse doing the injection. We nicknamed this one Tequila it was about the right colour. Amy seemed to like this idea.

Next up, Vincristine, this one is a bugger it makes the nerve endings stop working properly. Kids on this tend to get clumsier, Amy would sleep with her eyes half open. We called this one Chardonnay.

Finally, with me biting back tears and trying to be brave mum, they hooked up the drip and the Doxorubicin began to drip in, or Strawberry Daiquiri as we will always know it. Little did we know four years later I’d be having the same drug. Then Amy got to do her favourite thing… surf on a drip stand. She’d seen all the other kids doing this and was dying to have a go. Word of warning, if you ever visit a kid’s cancer ward, never walk round a corner without peeking round first. Try not to carry hot drinks, but if you must again keep checking. Drip stands are silent and deadly, they have all sorts of attachments to catch hold of you and they are heavy and not very stable. You only forget once…

Back we went to Amy’s bed, we had a fun night planned.. oh wait I forgot, before all the chemo was given first they loaded her up with anti sick about three different things I think. It is thanks to the wonderful scientists that have developed these powerful drugs that rarely do cancer patients throw up on chemo. They might feel queasy and nauseous but gone are the days of every chemo spewing up your insides.

So back we go to the bed, settle down, got a new video to watch on our bedside TV, some snacks to nibble on, eating helps a lot with the nausea. When I joked about the chemo drugs being alcoholic drinks… little did I know. They don’t warn you before they give them about this little side effect. I seemed to be sharing a bay with an drunken alcoholic aged six. Oh boy she was acting just as if she had downed all those drinks I’d nicknamed. She was funny though and with all this fluid being pumped in I got to run back and forth to the sluice room with bedpans of toxic waste.

Did I ever tell you all I hate rubber gloves, especially those ones Doctors use. Well you have to wear them when carrying your daughter’s toxic waste. Every thing that comes out has to be weighed and measured. So you label up bedpans the before you go to bed, and prepare yourself for a busy night. Although Amy and I did become famous for the fun pictures we drew on the bedpans to cheer up the night nurse who pulled the short straw and had to clear the sluice room.

One of the other mums who was a veteran, had bought Amy a great present for her drip stand. It was a sound activated spider that would race up the stand if it got knocked. I think we almost killed one nurse with that little toy.

So there I was with this drunken mood swinging child… and what was she like in the morning, you do NOT want to be in close confines ever with a six year old with a hangover. Actually make that a six year old with PMS and a hangover. Thankfully the hospital teachers and the nurses decided for my sanity I should go out for two hours that day. I think they were worried the cancer might be the least of their worries.

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