Monthly Archives: November 2008

Chemo delays

I was supposed to have my first dose of chemo on Friday but was advised on Thursday that there would be a 2 week delay. The hospital cannot proceed until I discover the results of my assessment for the Radioactive Spheres trial I am being considered for. I am now scheduled to begin on 21st November

Normally the delay would only be for one week but next Friday is Show Day in Christchurch.

Two weeks gives me a chance to eat dandelion leaves, drink dandelion tea and other concoctions to build up my immune system before it gets hit with the chemo. After the treatment starts we will be monitoring progress closely along with the medical staff to ensure the best outcome.

There will also be much prayer plus personal study to discern between the various alternative treatments available: between the snake oil pedlars and the legitimate proven natural treatments.

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Posted by on 8 November, 2008 in Medical


Why surgeons are called “mister”, not “doctor”

Have you ever wondered why doctors are titled “Dr” but when they become surgeons they are called “Mr”? I have it on very good authority from a learned legal expert in Australia, that in the early days of medicine doctors diagnosed and prescribed medications but did not wield the knife, or the saw for dissections or amputations. That task was deputed to the local butchers who only bore the title “Mister”. Once the art of body opening and cutting became more precise and entered the mainstream of medicine the title was retained.

While experiencing some indelicate cutting and prodding under a local anaesthetic the other day, I briefly mused that perhaps it still falls within the brief of the meat trade!

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Posted by on 8 November, 2008 in Humor


Aftermath of portacath insertion

To receive the fortnightly dose of chemo I had the option of a picc line inserted in my arm that would require weekly dressing and would also have tubes permanently protruding on my arm inhibiting things I could do. Instead I opted for a portacath that is inserted in the shoulder area and sits just below the skin.

I had this inserted on Wednesday in a 20 minute operation under local anaesthetic that took 2 hours!!

A junior surgeon was ‘learning’ under the supervision of a specialist vascular surgeon. I think I was the first guinea-pig for the young surgeon. He started by putting the wrong anaesthetic in so that when he started cutting, I could feel every stroke of the scalpel. So I said “ouch” and the nurse got told off for giving the surgeons the wrong numbing agent. Two or three times as they cut deeper they drove into areas that were not anaesthetised.

And then they couldn’t find the right vein. At one stage the junior surgeon pointed out what he thought was the correct one only to be told by his senior, “That is an artery!”

During the operation the senior fielded a telephone call for which he used the speaker phone. I felt like asking him if he was still keeping his eye on the apprentice who was still poking around inside my shoulder.

Eventually, with the aid of ultra-sound and a portable x-ray especially brought into the theatre to aid the doctors, they learned that they had managed to secure the line into the correct vein. More pushing and tugging went on to get the junction into place and then the senior left the theatre and allowed the apprentice to sew me up on his own.

During the whole procedure I still managed to have a cordial chat with them both and proffered a couple of humerous stories as well, just to keep their spirits up. I even apologised to them that my veins were too small to stand out. There were times that discretion prevailed and I said nothing so that they could concentrate on the job in hand.

The photo of my chest shows the incision and the aftermath two days after the procedure.

Aftermath of portacath insertion

Aftermath of portacath insertion


Posted by on 8 November, 2008 in Humor, Medical