A Week At Whipps

As I'm sure that many of you have already heard, the past seven days have not been the best for me. For the first time in my life, I had to have a hospital stay. Considering I am twenty-two, riddled with cancerous disease and really quite accident prone, it was a miracle that I held out for so long. So please enjoy this post where I will try and explain my experience through virgin eyes. Also, I hope you appreciate the added bonus that this has been written while on a morphine high.

So first things first - 'Livin' With Lymphoma' has a readership greater than the population of world's fifth smallest country, San Marino. I feel like a king. I'll try and think of a suitable name for my kingdom. Egos are soaring.

I'm still hoping for some random tourist board to take pity... This boy likes freebies!

Since the last post, the first obvious correction would be that the mentioned future chemotherapy session was cancelled. All it took was a common cold which opened the gateway to a chest infection. My immune system was also weak at the time so I was unable to fight the infection alone. It spread to my ears, nose and throat before the hospital could control it with antibiotics. It just shows how careful I must be in public settings. A simple cold has kept me in the hospital for a week.
Casual Simpson's reference.
For anybody reading this who is either undergoing chemotherapy or caring for somebody who is, I want to emphasise the importance of taking things seriously. I was feeling rough but I would never had said it was worth a hospital visit. Look at my example. Who knows just how unwell I would have been if I hadn't gone to A&E? Get that sniff looked at!

Technically, the infections were all cleared up in a couple of days and I thought I could then go home. Nope. You know when you take antibiotics and it says you must finish the full course? The same things applies in hospital with intravenous antibiotics. I was told then I would be staying a minimum of a week. It would have been nice if somebody explained me this at the beginning, however that's that. Fine.

Since my admission, I've also had to start with the growth factor injections that I mentioned in a previous blog post. A lovely nurse sat down with me, guided me through it and my grandparents watched proudly. In hindsight, it was a worry over nothing. Perhaps my needle phobia is cured.

The next event came on the Valentine's night when I noticed my legs were very achy. Two hours later, I was paralysed from the waist down and in the most excruciating pain ever. It took four more hours, in the foetal position, until the emergency doctor came and sedated me with morphine. This wasn't enough though, and more morphine was given throughout the night. For some reason, I managed to scrawl a little poem during my high which I will share with you now.

I must lose all concept of grammar when drugged.
The doctors are still unsure what caused the temporary paralysis although I've already regained most of the control back. The only thing taking its time to return is strength in the legs. I'm a little wobbly. I'm still being given morphine, slowly decreasing the dose until I'm weaned off again. It's believed that a bad reaction to the growth factor injections caused my bone marrow to swell up, causing pain and being unable to move.

Regarding the hospital, the facilities here at Whipps Cross are brilliant in most ways and below par in others. I have my own ensuite side room which is beautifully modern and clean. It is soundproof, so I cannot hear the snores and moans of the rest of the patients in the same ward. Unfortunately it has zero mobile phone signal except for a small part near the window. I'm also in isolation due to infection control (protecting me, not others). It's been possibly one of the most lonely experiences ever. After sweet talking the admins, I was given the staff wifi login so I've been connected for the past two days. It's so much better.
Maslow's REAL hierarchy of needs.
It's the staff who have really made my stay bearable. The nurses have been brilliant. The doctors have been concise. The food has been alright too.

All visitors were required to wear infection control aprons. Dashing!
I am hoping to be discharged from here within the next couple of days and restarting with chemotherapy as soon as possible. A massive thanks to everybody who came to visit me, sent cards, presents and their love.


Joshua Lerner

Hi! I’m the 'star' of Livin' With Lymphoma. The blog was founded on the 31st October 2013, on the day I was diagnosed with Stage 4B Hodgkin's lymphoma. I hope you find it funny and informative.

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  1. Joshua - You don't know me at all but I stumbled upon your blog this evening and I have just read every word. I am a friend of Pete, Belinda and Freya and saw a link on Frey's FB page. Just wanted to say you have touched and inspired me with your words and wit. Keep going. Keep climbing. Keep strong. Love and Light from a stranger - Ann

  2. Hi Josh, it's Holly here (Shams and Alan). Sounds like you've had an awful time since Christmas but am in awe of your positivity. You are a strong independent man (who don't need no woman)! Glad to hear Shams is providing the curry- a good alternative to the forbidden takeaways! Am thinking of you at this time as i'm sure the other 30,000 people are!

    Lots of love and positive vibes from Brighton,
    Holly xxxxxx