Today has been Isita’s best day by far since we started high dose chemotherapy. It was a bit of a restless night, and she is still losing blood from her lower bowel, but she has started to enjoy periods without pain.
First thing this morning, as Florence was putting up her meds, Isita was telling us about the marmalade cat she hopes to get, which will be called Daisy, or Pete if it is a tom, or maybe she’ll have two cats. She likes them better than dogs.
It sounds innocuous, but it’s been weeks and weeks since we heard her sweet prattle, until a week ago she wouldn’t speak a word all day. Florence had to nip out to shed a tear she was so moved and some of the other nurses and staff popped in just to get a glimpse of the old Isita whose return we’ve all been waiting for.
One of the greatest tributes to Isita’s spirit is that the nurses all love looking after her so much. Over the past eight months we have, likewise, got to know and love the whole team: Andrea, Annie, Ashley, Carol, Carole, Daisy, Darryl, Emily (who’s just left to go round the world), Florence, Hannah, Hannah, Harriot, Helen, Izzy, Nicola, Rachael, Rachel, Rebecca (who went to the heart and lung ward), and Sara. Isita has been carried along on a great collective effort of their dedicated care, and so have we.
So Shirlei, the play specialist, arrived with glue, bicarb, saline and food colouring and we made slime, some of which I had to scrape off the ceiling. Later Jen came by and gave Isita a mango-scented foot massage.
This afternoon she was grumpy from the pain. It may yet take weeks to fully recover from what the doctor from the gastric team called a ‘toxic insult’ to her lower bowel. The bleeding is reducing. An ultrasound this afternoon showed an improvement. In fact, every technical indicator is improving by the day. The neutrophils, about which we have worried so much, were 5.0 this morning.