Priorities: Life or Car?

Back from the garage. They took one look said it was a blown sensor. Fixed it in 15 minutes and charged me €35 and that’s from an official Opel garage. Relieved.

Funny thing is, the reason I was up early was to get into Santa Eulalia (driving nervously waiting for oil light to come on) to have the blood test which determines whether I’m in remission from cancer. And I was more worried about the car…. Go figure

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Chasing Swallows

Another day, another hospital. This time I’m just back from Son Espases in Palma. As ever I’m nursing slight feelings of disappointment.

The appointment was to check the after-effects of the surgery. Generally, they’re delighted with my progress, the way my voice is returning and the general process of healing. That’s all good.

The disappointment comes from the swallow clinic. I think things have improved a great deal since I saw them last. The specialist things it is “a little better”. In context, last time she would not commit herself to saying that my ability to swallow would ever return. Now she says “it will take a long time”. That is better than never. I think as well that she’s from northern Spain where they don’t really do enthusiasm or encouragement.

So it’s on with the exercise and yoghurts. Hopefully in a few months I’ll be able to be a bit more adventurous…

More Than One Way to Scan a CAT

Just back from Can Misses hospital. This time it was my turn. Had a CAT scan which was more of a performance than I was expecting. Nobody told me they were going to be injecting dye into me. They didn’t last time.

So I was hooked up to a drip and told I’d feel a bit warm and slightly nauseous. I waited while they set the machine up, which consisted mainly of me going backwards and forwards on a bed under an electronic donut. Eventually I began to feel a slight glow. And that was it. Nothing more. Even though it felt as if it was going to be the start of something good and the music was going to kick in. I guess that’s what happened if you rely on state-administered drugs….

Tomorrow I’m off to Son Espases hospital in Palma Mallorca to see the Spanish equivalent of an ear, nose and throat specialist. I really know how to have fun

Airport pickup

Off to pick Barbara up from the airport, then to take her straight to Can Misses hospital. The recurring cellulitis infection that she hasn’t had for ages has come back. Antibiotics usually sort it quite quickly, but if it’s left untreated it can be very serious thanks to Barbara’s compromised immune system. So an evening in Urgencias beckons…

Edit 17 November 2013  Barbara was in Edinburgh for the funeral of her brother Adam. I couldn’t go in case my health decided to play up. The last thing I wanted was to be a distraction. It was sadly ironic that Barbara’s cellulitis appeared on the morning of the funeral, too late to get an emergency appointment. That’s why she decided to leave getting treatment until she got back to Ibiza.

In the end we decided not to go to the hospital. And we didn’t go on Sunday either. Then on the Monday, after waiting for hours, she was given antibiotics without a blood test. And the reason we’d been to the hospital rather than her GP was because in the past they said she needed a blood test. Waste of time all round. Still, she’s better now

Another Journalist on Cancer

Interesting to read another tech journalist’s experience of going public with their cancer diagnosis. I have no regrets, the online support,I’ve received has really helped through and continues to do so.

What the article does bring home to me is how little choice and support I’ve had from the Spanish health service, although the basic medical treatment has been first rate. I’ve never been offered a ‘cancer shrink‘ or anything like that, just regular anti-depressants. I don’t feel that psychologically scarred by the disease though.

But the real test will come when I’m told the results of my scan and blood analysis on November 11. Then I’ll know if I’m in remission, or not..

Xeni Jardin Breast Cancer Public v Private

Sad News

Barbara’s brother Adam died on Saturday. She’ll by flying back to Scotland on Wednesday for his funeral, which is on Friday, then back to Ibiza on Saturday. Although I want to be in Edinburgh with Barbara, if my health took a turn I’d be more of a hindrance than a help.

Added 3 November 2013: We’d only known about Adam’s illness since he phoned a couple of days after I finished my radiotherapy in August, even though his cancer had been diagnosed about the same time as mine. But there’d been an agreement in Barbara’s family not to say anything until my treatment had concluded. Generally I don’t like secrets, but on this occasion it was probably the best way to respond. If Barbara had known she couldn’t have done anything as she was stuck looking after me, which would have made me feel guilty.

On the other hand, I would probably have told people in the same circumstances. It’s horribly complicated when different people know different things. But I don’t know how I’d respond if I was told my cancer was inoperable, as Adam was. It’s impossible to say.

A Little Pot Goes a Long Way

Finally I feel I’m making some real progress with eating. I haven’t had anything for about two weeks to allow a chest infection to clear. (It may well have been the result of something ‘going down the wrong way’.)

So today I had a Greek yogurt with blackberries. Not only did it taste good, not weird as most stuff did until quite recently, but more importantly I was able to swallow it almost normally. It’s still going to be a very, very long time before I can eat a meal or drink or anything like that. But the boring, repetitive, sets of exercises are paying off to the point where I feel that it will be a matter of *when* I can eat rather than *if*.

The doctors have always replied: “We don’t know”, when I’ve asked them whether my swallow reflex would return. You cannot imagine what a boost that little pot of yogurt has given me.

I’d have a drink to celebrate, but I can’t do that. Yet