I have spent my entire working career as a self-employed photographer so the treatment regime has been quite an eye-opener as it is the first time ever that I have had a regular weekly pattern with five days ‘working’ and then two days ‘weekend’.
Because this is work: one really does have to regard the treatment and pay attention to the project at hand. i.e. getting inserted into the deep fat fryer (DFF), officially known as ‘Linac 6’, and hoping that the Mekon Death Rays (MDR) which it emits don’t cause too much irritation to the bladder and bowel.
I have rapidly discovered that the advice about drinking water, avoiding certain food and drink and generally taking care of oneself is really well founded. So my current ‘job’ is to just stick to the regime of drinking plenty of water on a daily basis - actually quite hard work drinking at least two litres during the day in addition to the six glasses one has to drink in the hospital. Life has settled into a rhythm - ½ litre. before walking the dog, ½ litre. with breakfast, ½ litre. during the morning, ½ litre. with early lunch and then off to the hospital. 2 cups when one arrives and four in the final 30 mins. before entering the deep fat fryer. (Actually do wish it would fry off some of the fat which the hormone treatment is depositing around my waist.)
And then that desperate dash after one’s dose of MDR to the nearest toilet and the ecstasy of emptying one’s bloated bladder!
Except of course when one has already leaked whilst inside the DFF. Which is exactly what happened yesterday when I changed my enema routine and failed to urinate when I arrived at the hospital, before having my six cups of water. Then S.O.D.S. law struck when, after having my final four cups, the machine started running late and there I am on the table, listening to the whirring and clicking of the machine, desperately not trying to move whilst clenching my bladder muscles.
A calming voice from the radiographers was to no avail - damn it, they were both ladies - so I leaked. S.O.D.S. law as the radiographer who came in and handed me a urination vessel was wearing a hijab so double embarrassment. She was so sweet and gentle with me that it was almost worse when I think how her job means that she has to clean up after a naked man has urinated in front of her.
Her quiet comment that ‘I am just doing my job’ missed the point that it is not just ‘doing’ the job that counts, it is the gentle and caring manner in which all the staff respond to patients who are often in pain, scared and stressed. Even at the end of a day where they have dealt with about 50 patients in a steady stream of 10 minute slots they still find time to chat and smile. Amazing and very humbling people.
Are we not very lucky people to have such fantastic staff in our National Health Service - and all for free!.