Having done the tour of all the Oxford medical facilities this week, the consensus seems to be that I am a “challenging” patient (in an interesting kind of way, of course! Or do I mean….of course?)
My skin condition seems to be causing waves through the Dermatology Department to the extent that are holding a special meeting about me next week. Despite the antibiotics, 4 different creams/lotions and soap alternatives, The “leprosy” (my tagging, not theirs) continues to take root and spread its devious route across and down my arm. Early results from the biopsy plus other tests are starting to point to a drug reaction (to my cancer wonder drug – pertuzumab) although this will be decided more definitively next week, when something else may have grown from the biopsy. This wasn’t the medical terminology used but my raw understanding. I had more photos taken on the consultant’s phone. I couldn’t help but verbalise my thoughts as she did this again, that she must go home and say “Guess what I’ve been doing today?” which reduced us both to helpless laughter….(and made me think that it must be exactly what she does!).
When I tried to make a follow-up appointment and said that it had to be with the same doctor – because there were better pictures of the leprosy on her phone than those done by medical photography – the receptionist just sighed as if she had heard it all now! Meantime different and more potent antibiotics for at least 6 weeks….
I fear that oncology – if faced with a drug allergy – will just tell me that it it is a small cross to bear and I will just have to live with it. “Living with it” for me, means itching and consequent scratching like an orangutan alongside the unsightly look of “leprosy”. (Which reminds me of the ancient yak’s tail fly swatter I saw at the Ashmolean this week – I think I will soon “need” one of these…)
The back end of the week saw a return journey to orthopaedic treatment after the cancer hiatus so… spondylolisthesis revisited…What a lovely team of people I had looking after me for my spinal nerve blocker injection. They were kind, professional, informative (even telling me that the steroid would raise my blood sugar for a couple of days) and interested. I lay on the couch in my paper knickers (which I had tried on both ways round several times and still not discovered the “right” way) watching X-ray pictures of my back with a multi-disciplinary commentary. Today I was “challenging” as my vertebra was so collapsed, the doctor was unsure whether he would get the steroid bearing needle through the gaps. He was astounded how I could possibly be as mobile as I am…The discussions as the team prepared for the injection were constantly interspersed with a cheerful “but we remain optimistic”. The procedure was completed successfully as the extraordinarily acute sciatic pain caused down my leg apparently indicated that he had hit exactly the right spot…Great!
As I dressed, I realised why I was told to wear loose clothing…as it was almost impossible to persuade my leg to move into trouser leg as required, and I only got it into loose fitting elasticated trackie pants by sitting and manoeuvring it there manually…Walking back to waiting room and my friend was even more of a problem as my left leg remained completely numb and felt like a mix of clay. pins and needles and cramp for some hours. It made me act rather like a circus performer as I went one way and my leg went another…