Well, it’s a full and busy day at the hospital today in preparation for starting chemotherapy on Friday.
Before having any treatment at UCLH you now need to have a Covid Swab Test done at the hospital which is understandable. What I don’t fully understand is why you don’t need the test for scans and other tests. So, this is another reason to be here twice in a week.
On arrival I headed for the Blood Test department and booked in for my Covid Test, as it was early, I only waited a few minutes before I was called in for my blood test. The phlebotomist had barely got the needle in my arm when the receptionist appeared and said I was in the wrong place as I was booked into something called “The Pod”.
So, without hesitation the Phlebotomist pulled out the needle and aborted taking my blood which seemed a bit strange as she had completed the painful and difficult part of the process and could have soon drawn my blood as well!!
I was thinking that today I will be a human pin cushion!!
I got myself sorted and made my way upstairs to “The Pod” which was a portacabin type building setup just outside the exit doors. I was met by the nurse who was going to take my blood and do the covid swab. He wasn’t quite sure why I was booked into the pod, but I suspect someone had made an error while booking me in and booked me into the wrong place.
Anyway, the covid test and the blood test then went smoothly although by now I had two plasters on my arms where the different needles had been put into my arm.
Then it was off for my outpatient’s appointment, I had my eye on the coffee stand and a Flat White but thought I should head up for the appointment.
The outpatient’s appointment went fairly smoothly and was just a simple check up to see how I was feeling and to get me to sign the consent form for chemotherapy.
Job done it was now time to head for the main building and the Nuclear Medicine department where I was going to have the GFR Estimation 3 Sample Scan.
Once again, I eyed the coffee stand but I knew there was another one in the main building so off I went only to discover that the coffee stand in the main building was closed!!
It was too far to go back and so I headed up to Nuclear Medicine and checked in and while the procedure is called a scan it’s not.
What happens is that I was injected with a radioactive source and then had to wait 2 hours while the source circulates around my body and then they would take 3 blood samples each an hour apart. The 3 different blood tests are then compared and from that comparison they can work out the strength of the chemotherapy I can have.
GFR stands for Glomerular Filtration Rate and is a test which measures Urine Albumin which is a protein in that is filtered by the kidneys and so by measuring the amount of Albumin over the 3 different blood tests they can work out how well my kidneys are working and how much chemo I can have. The radioactive source enhances the test and they can see how fast the radioactive source is being processed by my kidneys.
I hope that makes sense?
This is the first time I have been through this process and so it must be something that they do when using Carboplatin the chemo I was going to have this time.
Back to being a human pin cushion!
What the process also meant was that I was to have 2 cannulas fitted, one to inject the radioactive source and the other to be used to take the three different blood samples.
I was fitted with one in my left hand and the radioactive source was administered and then the cannula was removed.
I was then told I could do what I wanted for the next 2 hours while we wait for the source to circulate and so I thought it was coffee time! Only to be told no tea or coffee, I needed to be caffeine free!!
I checked the map and looked for a nearby park to sit in and read my book for an hour. I found a park called Gordon Square which was nearby and found a shady spot to read.
As an aside the book I am currently reading is “The Stand” by Stephen King, which is about a global pandemic, quite topical for a book first published in 1978!!
Time passed quickly and soon it was time to head back to the hospital another cannula and the first of my blood samples to be taken and then it was a case of waiting an hour for the next sample and so on. I couldn’t go far and so read and dozed in between the samples being taken.
Finally, the third sample was taken, and it was time to head home, it felt like a long day and I was feeling a little tired, I also had four plasters where the different needles had been. I call these sympathy plasters as they will get me a few minutes of sympathy when I get home!!
I would soon be home and be able to rest before returning on Friday.