Riding out the storm
23 Aug 2012
Last night, just as I was congratulating myself on having had a reasonably calm afternoon and beginning to hope for plain sailing through the night, my temperature spiked to almost 39 degrees (worryingly high I was told).
The nurses immediately manned the boat-stations. They told me they'd be giving me paracetamol which would bring on sweats and that soon I'd be awash in a pool of my own perspiration. It's always good to be forewarned although I didn't have the energy to change out of my still fairly clean-on PJ trews and T-shirt (when you catch me in a hospital gown you'll know I'm in trouble). Sure enough - like sailing into a tropical storm - I was soon heading deep into another of my frequent raging fevers.
After maybe an hour (I had little idea of time passing) all my pillows, sheets, and my clothes were thoroughly soaked. The nurses leapt to action. While I clung onto the life raft of my bedside chair, they re-rigged the bed: completely new, crisp sheets and pillows.
I returned to the helm but the stormy waters were still crashing about me. After another vortex of time, I was every bit as drenched as before. Undaunted the nurses rapidly changed all the bedclothes again.
Then as the waters subsided slightly, the coughing began. Great big retches from the depths if my lungs. Lots of greenish fluid running from this almost drowned man. Exhausted, I coughed, spluttered, spat, and retched like someone possessed (at least that's how it felt to me in my confused and weary fever).
Then, gratefully, I succumbed to sleep. I woke some time later, once again soaked right through but feeling like the shipwreck survivor thrown up on a safe shore.
This was the worst of these fevers I've had since they began about a month ago. Maybe, just maybe, that means a turning point as the antibiotics do their work. My temperature was back to normal. After breakfast I felt so much better that, later in the morning, the lovely physio agreed to take me for a walk beyond the ward, so long as I was attached to an oxygen cylinder. I even got outside into the garden. Now I'm planning an ambitious trip to the gym and - joy of joys for a cyclist - the static bike.
I'm so well looked after here. In my last hospital I just got through these fevers like a lone sailor, spreading towels beneath me to try to save the pillows and sheets, and only getting new bedclothes at the usual time each day. I have to pinch myself and keep reminding myself that the Royal Marsden is not a private hospital.
PS once again thank you for the lovely messages. I read every one and just wish I had the energy to write back to you individually. Apologies for some sloppiness in the editing. The device I'm using doesn't always do what I want it to, particularly when I try to jump back and forth in the text. Or it could just be user error and hospital brain.