Friday, April 27, 2007

Only real illness makes you a hypochondriac

I've got a cold.

I've been sneezing all morning. (Even over the bingo client that came into brief us on a pitch. He must have loved that.)

Yesterday I thought it might be flue. My glands have been up and down a lot over the last 10 days but I've just put that down to not really being totally over the op when I went back to work. Then yesterday morning I woke up with golf balls in my throat. They didn't go down.

I didn't take anything. I don't want to suppress this - I want to get through it and be over it by Tuesday. The BC nurse has told me that if I have a temperature or a chest infection I won't be able to have the portocath operation or have the chemo. Which would delay everything and throw the next 4 mths out of whack. I've even started briefing people I work with to try and fix any important meetings in the third week of my cycles. Which if Chemo I got delayed next week, would suddenly become week 1 of my cycle. Not good.

So it is with relief that I have realised it is merely a cold. I should be through the worst of it by Tuesday. But it does mean I probably won't be off to Hereford this weekend. Boring and annoying but I should be staying at home taking it easy rather than driving miles across the country. R can get a lift to London on Monday instead of coming back with me Sunday. He has keys. And it should mean that he won't catch my cold if we avoid eachother until Monday...

When I was worrying about the possibility of flue I took my temperature on my new digital thermometer and it declared I was 35.4 celsius. Clearly my flat is too draughty - that's really low isn't it?

Then I looked up temperatures and what's normal on the internet and found this marvelous bit of writing from Lena Wong:

"Rectal temperatures are an internal measurement taken in the rectum, which fall at 99.6 °F or 37.6 °C. It is the least time consuming and most accurate type of body temperature measurement, being an internal measurement. But it is definitely, by far, not the most comfortable method to measure the body temperature of an individual."

I've never tried to take my temperature that way before and I'm sure I'm not going to start now. Under the tongue is fine for me. And your oral temp should be 37 degrees apparently. Unless you have a particularly low metabolic rate, in which case it could be lower, or if it's early morning, in which case lack of muscle activity before the day starts will mean your body is at a lower temp.

Well, I got the reading of 35.4 late last night after some frenetic muscle activity tidying my flat so my metabolism must be buggered.

God I've turned into a boring old hypochondriac. I never used to think this much about colds, temperatures, sniffs and sneezes.

In my current BC book I'm reading there is a quote from a woman who said "Once you've had cancer, a spot is never just a spot again". It seems that this new found hypochondria is not a unique experience.

I have spots too, but I think they're from coming off the pill. But more mysteriously, my left eye has had a recurring nerve twitch all week.

What can it all mean? Nothing, I suspect.


Steve said...

You'll be amazed at just how tied to schedules you get. When your life is lived on a strict regime and you're counting days and pills at every turn they become immovable.

I was so determined to go on vacation at the end of my radiation that I had them move up the cast fittings, tattoo me immediately and up the doseage so I could do 20 rather than 23 sessions. All arbitrary but I had a date in mind and I wasn't going to miss it.

Rest up - and let us know how (fancy) treatment goes

Sara Kocher said...

Found your blog through Marie's, really like the way you write (although of course I wish you didn't have BC to write about). I think I show up as in Los Angeles on SiteMeter. :-)

We've tried a bunch of digital thermometers before finding one that seemed to work. During the search, I once spent about an hour and a half trying to get a consistent reading off one of those in-the-ear ones. Sometimes I had a raging fever, sometimes I was presumably dying of hypothermia, according to that thing. Finally gave up and shoved it in the back of a cabinet.

Sara Kocher said...

Oh, and I hope your cold gets better soon.

Anne-Marie Weeden said...

Actually I felt (strangely) a lot better and less cold-like by Friday evening so I treated myself to a lie-in and have been able to drive myself west for a last blast weekend at R's in Hereford with dinner at my parents place tonight en route back to London. So feel satisfyingly back IN CONTROL again.

It's definitely a virus of some sort because I am a bit congested. The guys who gave it to me had it much worse. I can only imagine that my super fighting fit diet full of seeds and fruit and fibre has meant I am immortal when it comes to the common cold. Well, immortal for at least the next two and a half days until they start pumping me full of poision...

By the way, I've banned the culprits from infecting me with anything as of Tuesday onwards but how do you stop a sneeze in a self-consciously Open Plan styled office?

Steve - I re-read your entire blog the other day. I read it all last summer when Dave K pointed me in the right direction and altho it was emotional then (catching up with an old friend's life online, only to discover he's got cancer) I have to say it's scary to re-read it as someone with cancer and have it mean so much more. Because it shows you just how easy it is for someone who has no direct experience of cancer (i.e. me last summer) to casually absorb but dismiss information. Reading it this time, everything has meaning and resonance and I recognise the emotions you're going through (and yes, I remember the saga you had trying to fit in radiation...). It was quite an emtional experience...

And Sara, it is so cool to have my first comment from a real life blogosphere fan. Thank you for the thermometer advice. The boy sometimes has an odd job driving doctors around so he's going to try and steal me a good old fashioned mercury one. At least they seemed to work!

Do you know Marie from Comiculture presumably? Just went for a nose on your profile. Will have to give your blog some proper time when I'm back on broadband next week but it all looks very intellectual compared to my whining and moaning!

Sara Kocher said...

Hi Anne-Marie,

Glad you're feeling better.

I didn't meet Marie though Comiculture, actually. We both went to Antioch College and worked at Marvel Comics. So we've known each other for about 20 years and have a bunch of friends in common. I love reading her adventures, but don't actually know her well beyond the blogs/journals.

It's cool to be someone's first (commenting) real life blogosphere fan. I feel so cutting edge!

Hope the chemo goes well and is highly successful.

dk said...

Just remember to wash the thermometer after you take the rectal temperature and before you go for the oral... ;p

i feel some filthy levity is in order round this place :D

Roxanne said...

I pray that you get better soon.. God bless you.