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  • nbrightside 5:13 pm on February 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio Marsden Free Europe 

    Friday 8 June 4:10pm

    My afternoon nap was rudely interrupted by someone knocking on the door and entering my room. Not a nurse, not a doctor, not a cleaner, not a menu collection person, not a health care assistant, not the newspaper delivery man. This time, the person was a disc jockey – a real-life radio DJ, a young man who was cutting his teeth on hospital radio before embarking on a lifetime of Saturday night wedding receptions where dancing will only commence after consumption of; two Jägerbombs (underage teenagers), three glasses of champagne (bride and friends of family), 5 pints of Stella Artois (blokes).

    ‘Good afternoon. Would you like a record played on Radio Marsden tonight ?’

    ‘Oh no – I don’t think so thank you.’

    The gentleman looked rather dolefully at a rather sparsely populated sheet of A4.

    ‘Oh please, I really need some more requests to fill out tonight’s show’.

    ‘OK then. Please can you play ‘Mr. Brightside’ by popular Las Vegas beat combo The Killers ?’

    ‘Yeah sure thing. What’s your name ?’

    ‘Norman – Norman Brightside’.

    ‘OK – it will probably be played around 8 o’clock’.

    So, after my supper, I switched over from Russia playing the Czech Republic in the second game of Euro 2012, dutifully tuned in to Radio Marsden and was horrified to hear the closing 94 seconds of ‘Making Your Mind Up’ by Bucks Fizz.

    Then I heard DJ Dave utter the immortal words ‘Well one gentleman who didn’t have any trouble making his mind up was Norman Brightside over on Orchid ward so Mr. Brightside – just for you here is ‘Mr. Brightside’ by The Killers.

    I sat up and gave my best karaoke impression of Brandon Flowers and also included some impressive ‘air drumming’ although this was hampered a little by the available kit; a straw and a pear (sticks) and a paper plate on an upturned yoghurt pot (cymbal).

    The song faded out and the aspiring DJ, ‘DJ Dave’, linked seamlessly to the next song.- ‘Well I’d forgotten how loud that song was but now it’s time to slow things down again by going back to 1964 and ‘I Love You Because’ by Jim Reeves’.

    The next day I overheard a nurse say that the ‘crash team’ had been sent to a Mr. Fothergill on Tulip ward last night. Apparently, he was listening to Radio Marsden and the line ‘He takes off her dress now’ triggered a severe angina attack.

    I waited expectantly but DJ Dave didn’t return on Saturday. Nor did he return on Sunday. In fact, he never returned for the remainder of my stay. This was a shame as I was really looking forward to hearing ‘Everybody Hurts’ by R.E.M.

    • empoprises 9:37 pm on March 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You know, The The’s “Infected” is a nice little tune.

      Oh, and I nearly forgot about Madness’ “Cardiac Arrest.”

  • nbrightside 4:08 pm on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    put things in, take things out 

    Back amongst my friends in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) after my temperature hit 40 and I nearly chomped my own tongue off, the nurses took yet more of my blood, the microbiologists analyzed it and the doctors prescribed more industrial strength antibiotics to combat the infection.

    As for the root cause, well, the clever doctors were looking suspiciously at any foreign or external bodies that had recently been introduced to my body as a potential source of infection. Obviously, I still had several drains attached, a neckline as well as the portacath (inserted months ago to deliver chemotherapy). I wagered a fiver on the neckline as it was red and itchy at the entry point but the doctors seemed to favour removing the wireless access point. This seemed strange as this portacath had been in place for months with no issues whatsoever and had been accessed during the surgery (to deliver the anesthetic) but still. After lengthy discussions with various interested parties, we compromised and decided to remove both.

    An anesthetist came to visit and reassured me that this was a minor procedure and could be done under a local, sedation or a general anesthetic. I just said ‘Please just put me under and wake me up when it’s over’ and he agreed.

    After it was over and they woke me up, I laid back and tried to go to sleep. I was interrupted by a doctor wheeling a trolley. ‘Hello – I’m here to put a neckline in’. Yes, hours after removing the neckline which may have caused an infection, they were going to insert another neckline and hope it didn’t cause an infection. Worse, she was going to insert this tube using sharp implements and a local. I averted my gaze while she quickly performed the procedure.

    Weeks later, I learned that the root cause was actually a urinary tract infection (internal) so the removal and insertion of the necklines and portacath had all been irrelevant.

  • nbrightside 3:37 pm on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Guest Post – How I Was Affected By My Wife’s Cancer 

    Things you never thought you’d say – I am delighted to announce a guest post on this blog. This article is by Cameron Von St. James and is a very moving and inspirational post detailing the feelings a husband and parent goes through when supporting a loved one with a cancer diagnosis.

    On November 21, 2005, I heard three words that I never expected to hear, malignant pleural mesothelioma. On this day, my wife Heather, was diagnosed with cancer, and I became her caregiver, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was distraught. The diagnosis came three months after Lily, our first and only child was born. We were entering a phase of our lives that could only be described as complete chaos.

    Heather and I were supposed to make treatment decisions together almost immediately upon receiving the diagnosis. She was in shock and sat there silently, unable to comprehend the situation. When given the option of a local university hospital, a regional hospital, or a specialist in Boston, I quickly jumped in and chose the specialist in Boston, Dr. David Sugarbaker. I wanted Heather to have the very best care she could possibly receive, and felt that a specialist would be our best chance.

    Our lives were chaotic after the diagnosis. Before the diagnosis, both Heather and I were working full time. After the diagnosis, she was not able to work, and I could only work part time because of the numerous other responsibilities I now had. I had to make travel arrangements, take care of my daughter, and make my wife’s doctor’s appointments. My thoughts raced out of control, and I was overwhelmed.

    Constantly, I thought the worst, despite my best efforts to stay positive. I was terrified that I would lose my wife, and be left a widower to raise my daughter alone. My life was slowly unraveling before my eyes, and many days I would lie in my kitchen on the floor and cry uncontrollably, feeling crushed and overwhelmed by my fears and the pressure on me. However, despite these moments of weakness, I never let my wife see these fears. I always stayed strong and positive in her presence, as I knew she needed me now, more than ever, to be strong for her.

    Without the help of my family, friends, and strangers, I would not have been able to cope with my wife’s diagnosis. We received comforting words and even financial assistance during our time of need. It was incredibly helpful, and we advise everyone to accept help when it’s offered. It took me a while to let go of my pride and accept these offers, but when I finally did a huge weight was lifted off of me.

    While I was a caregiver, it was stressful and challenging with many days of uncertainty. Keep in mind that being a caregiver is difficult. Some days you will want to give up, but no matter what, you cannot walk away from your responsibilities. You have to use your resources and try to remain sane.

    It took years for life to return to normal after Heather’s mesothelioma surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Today, Heather is cancer-free and has been this way for seven years. To beat mesothelioma, an extremely aggressive and deadly cancer, is an incredibly rare task, but my wife’s strength and our community’s love and generosity helped us accomplish just that. We hope that by sharing our story, we can help others currently battling through cancer today.

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