Thursday, 22 April 2010

Unknown solider.

I hope he doesn't mind me telling his story, he may not ever know I've told you all. I don't know his name.

When ever Mike is at the Day Unit having treatment he seems to think it is his job to cheer people up and encourage the other patients to talk. Last Tuesday we went to get his Velcade, sometimes I go with him so he has someone to talk to while he waits for a chair to become vacant. We sat in the day ward next to a chap having his chemo for non-Hodgkins lyphoma. Mike started a conversation with him, wanting to know why he got four "lots" in one go! (It's because he has his chemo once every three weeks and so they cram it all in.) We chatted for a while, and then he left.

Across the ward there was another man sitting with his wife and son, having a blood transfusion. About 5 o'clock they both left and he started talking to Mike and me. He asked why Mike was in, I guess because like a lot of MM patients, he actually looks quite healthy most of the time. Mike explained, he loves talking when given half a chance, and then he asked the other chap what he was doing there. He told us that he had gone to see the heart specialist who had done surgery six years ago, as he had been suffering from what he thought was angina. The specialist had done the usual monitoring and blood tests, only to find that his blood pressure was dangerously low and there was something seriously wrong with his blood. He'd been sent from the private hospital over to ours immediately and was awaiting admission. I guess I looked on the bright side for him, assumed that a few days in hospital and a couple of transfusions would solve his problems. Well yesterday we popped up to the ward to sort out Mike's next round of appointments, when who should we see but the "angina" man. I asked him how he was. He looked confused, until I explained we had spoken last week, and recognition passed over his face. He said he'd just had a Hickman line fitted and was just waiting for his chemotherapy. I didn't have chance to ask him anything else as his wife arrived for visiting time.
All I could keep saying to Mike was "What a terrible shock for him and his family." Mike did point out it had been a shock for us too, but somehow it was different, we did have time to think about what his diagnosis meant, the treatments etc. The unknown man has had it all thrust upon him in just one week. I hope I have a chance to speak to him again.

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