I’ve been a little quiet lately. In fact, I’ve been navel gazing a lot. For the last week, my life has slowed down to a gentle shuffle. Why so? Well, my Ileum revolted and went into paralysis after the last chemo-cocktail. If you look this up, you’ll find that it is a very rare occurrence. I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or not.
Being blocked up is a common side effect of chemo. No big deal. I’d already stocked up on prunes and beetroot. They worked like a bomb last time. So I ate them and waited. Okay, so I waited longer than I should have. Didn’t want to make a fuss. “Don’t rock the boat,” is one of my life’s refrains. (I’m beginning to question that quite seriously.) But after a week I knew. I was in trouble. Serious trouble. A late night rush to the hospital, began my three day journey of recovery.
Doctor Gudgeon acted quickly. A bed was ready for me as soon as I arrived and a kind nurse escorted me to the ward. A tube was eased down my nose and landed in my stomach. On my other side, a drip was set up. For the next three days, I was allowed nothing to eat or drink. Okay, so I could wet my lips every now and again. Family and friends arrived intermittently and my corner was filled with flowers, candles and chocolates. Messages of love pinged on my phone and threw me a lifeline. I was still connected to the world outside, even if the thread seemed a little thin. (If I didn’t reply to yours, please forgive me. I was a little incapacitated.)
Doctors and nurses rallied round continuously and by the third day, I understood that those strange noises our stomachs and bowels make, are like manna from heaven! I was brought up to believe that burping (and the other unmentionable thing) were the height of bad manners. They are. But in the privacy of my bathroom I now make at least one of them a morning ritual.
Back home Xena our rescue girl, licks me on the arm. She is relieved to see me and stays by my side all evening. Archie strolls in a little later. I get the cold shoulder, before he leaves for his night time hunt. He doesn’t visit me that night, but as the first birds begin their morning serenade, I feel his little plop. He curls into my stomach, purrs loudly and kneads the area softly. I am forgiven and his therapy lulls me into a doze.