Sunday, April 10, 2016

Appendix One - Horlicks

So it turns out that "Perhaps my last post" wasn't.
But I liked the idea of having an ending, so the posts that follow will be "Appendices" to my completed cancer story. OK?

This post is about sleeping in hospital. For me, sleep is so crucial for health, but in our ward, everyone has to be checked three times in the night for blood pressure and oxygen saturation and pulse, so (given how my steroid doses make me weird and sleepless anyway) I have never had more than one quarter of a night's sleep in the last six days in hospital. And it's not just the personal checks that wake one up. The ward is always full of lights going on and off, doors opening, special mechanical beds that make fizzing electrical noises and clunks for hours on end, and an army of crucial machines each with their own bleeps, pings, and klingon photon torpedo sounds.

Tonight, Mr Snooze who is in the bed diagonally opposite me had an insulin check-up using the special bleep clatter bang machine, with the optional mandatory bright light pointing straight in my face for one hour starting from 4am.

(We are four inmates in this bay of ward D9. Mr Snooze is very genial and spends much of his time successfully asleep. I'll tell you a bit about Mr Crutch and Mr Fisher in another Appendix.)

So, this post is about coping with the sleep deficit. Basically, I don't cope, and yesterday morning before I wrote "Perhaps my Last Post" I spent 10 minutes crying like a soggy jelly with the nurses who had come to give me my 6am injections, just crying with the cumulative sadness of being stuck in a sweaty bed and unable to sleep for (at that point) five nights.
The nurses were lovely. I'd tried various sleeping pills over the last week and they hadn't been any use for me. So, they suggested, how about going for something simpler - a nice milky cup of Horlicks - just ask for it.

This was a plan! So in Sunday night I rejected all the sleeping pills and planned ahead. Happily, I felt sleepy enough to go off unaided at 10.30pm, so I decided to ask for the Horlicks when the 1.50am observation came along, to see if that would sink me a second time.

My 10.30pm sleep didn't last fantastically because of the appalling sauna conditions that developed in our bay - more about that in Appendix Two, I think!

I woke up roasting as if I was in a desert hot-box.

Managed to doze a little more.

Then came the time - Rang my magix nurse bell... "Annabella," I said, "please could I have a milky Horlicks to help me sleep?"


Ah, she's from Barcelona. [To those with a politically correct sensitivity, I immediately apologise for my racist joke and retract it; all complaints to John Cleese as normal please.]

I explained about Horlicks and Annabella kindly went through two iterations of making Horlicks, the second of which was warm and milky and quite good.

Unfortunately the Horlicks didn't do the job, and I laid awake trying to sleep for over two hours, eventually giving up and watching two episodes of Big Bang Theory to try to reset myself.

Then it was the aforementioned visit of the bleep clatter bang machine for Mr Snooze's insulin, with the gestapo light pointing in my eyes, so after a while I decided to write this blog post.

It is a pretty pink sunrise.
And oh, look, it is 6am, so it is time for Katie to come and take another set of observations.
Beep-beep=beep, beep-beep.
Beep-beep=beep, beep-beep.


armchairprogrammer (at) googlemail (dot) com said...

Everyone has their own favourite sleepy-time drink: mine is warm milk with a spoonful of honey dissolved in it. Though I won't pretend it's anything more than a mild palliative to the general embuggerance of things.


Unknown said...

How about whisky? ;)

Ramesh Ghiassi said...

As David's wife feel duty bound to write and say I am saddened to see David's comments about lack of sleep misrepresented in the Telegraph today. He received compassionate care at Addenbrooks.

Ajay Kalva said...

consider Vodka man, just kidding....!!

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ajay said...

Dear Ramesh
I am keeping on reading all about our David. My condolences to you and your family. I pray that you get more strength.
It is very unfortunate that we haven't met, but I heard good things about you from David.

Our prayer remains with you.

Ajay from Lesotho

ajay said...

Dear Ramesh
I am keeping on reading all about our David. My condolences to you and your family. I pray that you get more strength.
It is very unfortunate that we haven't met, but I heard good things about you from David.

Our prayer remains with you.

Ajay from Lesotho

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