Chemo Club Blog10

ros aitken

‘Sent home early from St George’s Hospital…with a tuna sandwich!’

(Chaos on the roads and in the wards, but Ros keeps calm and carries on)

Ros Aitken in London reports on another visit to the cancer ward

It is half way through the second week of Wimbledon, but I reckon setting off for an 8 o’clock bus for my blood test should be safe enough. 

Unfortunately, there has been a serious accident, not on the route, but near enough to cause mayhem, and my bus is not only badly delayed but, it is announced, will terminate in Wimbledon Village, about three quarters of the way to St George’s.

I ring the hospital to explain that I’ll be late and settle down to people-watching. 

I am not unrewarded.  Two elderly ladies, hitherto unknown to each other, eagerly embark on a conversation which starts with a comparison of ailments and ends with an animated  discussion on whether a single or a double bed is more appropriate to widowhood. 

When we are all forcibly disembarked – most of us hospital patients with appointments to keep – I enjoy a brief period as in-queue expert on the cause of the delays before not one but two empty buses turn up. So, as often, things could have been much worse.

Nonetheless, I decide to return by train, and have another look at Edward VII’s plinth.  I now see that it is dated 1911 (just after his death) , and also prominently bears the name of a local alderman, a certain Archibald Dawnay, JP, Mayor. 

This fits with the research done by a web-savvy young friend and blog reader who has discovered that it was erected by public subscription.  No doubt the canny alderman seized eagerly on this chance of immortality. It would be interesting to know how much he gave to the subscription.

Thursday turns out oddly.  It begins ordinarily enough with a robust discussion of side effects in the ‘Day Room’.  This is dominated by a woman with a strong foreign accent who complains of some nurses’ lack of English and seems to have developed a conspiracy theory about one of them who hails from Eritrea.

My pre-chemo drip underway, I persuade wonderful factotum James to see if he can find some tuna sandwiches with brown bread in time for lunch, which he duly does by liberating a packet from a nearby ward, and putting it in the fridge for me.

Then just before my actual treatment is about to start, along comes big chief Benepal with the news that my white corpuscle count is too low for the chemo to be tolerated safely. To avoid the risk of my ending up hospitalised, via the dreaded A & E, today has therefore been  declared a dies non.

So I am sent home early, bearing, at James’s insistence,  the brown bread tuna sandwich.  And this  is great, since it means I have time to pack for the coming Gladstone Conference in North Wales and I should enjoy a side-effect free weekend