Monday, February 28, 2011

A man in every port

I am back in hospital! A great big, well about 3cm, hole opened up by the fancy portacath I had inserted just above my right boob. It was put in about four weeks ago to simplify the administration of Yondelis, the highly expensive sea squirt. I have decided not to have the chemo so it is pretty redundant and in fact not very pretty as said boob is bruised black and blue even after four weeks. The hole oozes vile caramel stuff, like yucky coloured gloss paint. You can see the actual tubing below the surface of the wound once it has been cleaned up.

This afternoon I went down to Dr McCafferty's world again, Ambulatory Care, to have the port taken out. He wasn't aware it was infected so called one of his colleagues to come and see me. Didn't catch his surname but his first name was Garth. Now McCafferty is not a bad catch himself, quite easy on the eye, very funny and a great conversationalist but dearie me, Garth! I can't remember if the cartoon hero of the 50s and 60s was a hunk but this one, my goodness me. He put that other famous doctor, George Clooney, in the shade, more real looking somehow. He examined me, pressed my boob and looked down into my eyes. The monitor that was measuring my blood pressure immediately shot up. He gave his advice, the wound would need a corrugated drain, not very romantic I know. He flashed me a smile and modestly went on his way.

McCafferty set about his task with Marvin Gaye singing in the background. He whipped the port out through the wound, painlessly, flushed it out, then applied the corrugated drain. It was just like a corrugated roof tile, or do you remember those cheap penny sweets, spearmint, pink, we had, again in the 60s? McCafferty had never done a corrugated drain before and was bemused by the safety pin that came with it. It was in a sterile pack and the penny sweet needed securing with something so he assumed that it had to be pinned through my skin. On reflection it could have been put there by whoever it is that is keeping a voodoo doll of me and using every opportunity to pierce and stab me. McCafferty asked if I need a local anaesthetic but as he was standing with the pin ready to go in, I rather unwisely said let's give it a go without. Well I tried to squeal softly but if you are ever in need of a pin shoved through your boob then say yes to the needle. He gave me a jab straight after and all was well.

We jabbered on through the whole procedure about people we knew in the NHS, the new hospital and the comparison between the French and the UK health systems. He also talked about my infections and he said that the speed that the urinary tract infection had come on and the severity of it, it was likely that I had had septaecemia. It now seems I will be in for a few days while I am on oral antibiotics. It's not just the wound, I also have a chest infection that can render me speechless (a great relief to some no doubt) and wheezy for hours. He said all these infections were probably a hang over from the aforesaid septaecemia.

When I do get home I will be crossing every digit I can, in fact I can easily cross all four fingers on each hand, and I will be calling on all the gods to ensure that we will have a longer stretch where we can adjust ourselves better to the new me.


  1. Take your time. It's important to have a good rest. There's too much happening at home.
    You've had a nasty infection and it hadn't cleared up and so it has spread. You need to concentrate on having a good rest. Take the antibiotics and let the hospital advise you as to when you can get out again. Thx for the update; your mind is certainly nice and clear again.

  2. So you saw a Dr MacDreamie (Garth), and liked his smile and his bed manner; well you have to be grateful of some perks in hospital!! Sounds like you have had a rather nasty infection and I do hope that the anitibiotics do the job. Rest and I hope you are home soon. Kathryn X

  3. Hi Jean. Best wishes to you and the family: keep fighting and keep writing.

  4. yeeouch! I'm amazed at how unphased you sound by all this. You're a remarkable woman Ms. Trainor!
    Hope you feel much better very quickly. xxJuliexx