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The transplant

Last week Father In Law had his stem cell transplant. He was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, battered with chemo on Thursday, and had the transplant Friday.


One of the things we have struggled with is the contradictory information issuing from a range of specialists. Coming up to the SCT, we could not get an accurate impression of what was involved. The first estimate had Brian in hospital for a couple of weeks; then we were told it would be four to six. There were dire pronouncements of Brian’s response to the transplant: according to his oncologist, he would be unconscious for a week and allowed two visitors a day under strictly controlled conditions.


As soon as we arrived back from South Island, we called into the Bone Marrow Unit at Auckland Hospital. Brian had a pic line installed pre-transplant and was in positive form. In the BMU pantry we met a patient two days out of his SCT. Although he looked grey, he was up wheeling his IV around and fixing himself a milkshake, which was rather comforting.


We saw Brian just before and after his transplant – the procedure itself all went to plan. The preparatory blast of chemo strips the lining of the mouth, so we were warned he could get pretty miserable. On Friday he had a sore throat and that was the start of it.


The next few days were terrible. We called in to see him on the Saturday and he was in severe discomfort, exhausted and nauseous.


“D’you think you’ll survive?” I said and Brian was good enough to manage a weak chuckle – or he might have been gagging.


“Don’t you think that was a bit tactless?” asked Husband later.


“I’m not the one who went on about the fish and chips we had for dinner last night.”


We had been told to expect this, but it was still a tense and anxious time for everyone. When we visited the BMU on the fourth day after the transplant, we knew Brian was fighting his way up when he talked about the features of his I-Phone for ten minutes.


I have never been so thrilled to listen to geek speak

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