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  • Debbie Murphy

Day 2 – The C Word

I can’t say I had a lot of sleep that first night and it was a bit of a shocker to realise I was hooked up to a morphine drip, catheter and an irrigation system – not how I normally wake up! The biggest shock was yet to come. When the ward rounds began that day I was greeted by a doctor, he was alone and closed the curtain around me and said that the consultant radiologist would be performing an embolisation on my kidney to stop the bleeding. Having had little sleep and being in obvious pain I probably looked rather vacant and asked what this was to which the reply was ‘you do know you have a cancer in your kidney?’ That was it, right there! Now I may be a little naive but I’m sure this isn’t how Monroe delivers bad news to his patients and I swear on Holby City I’ve seen them take relatives into a side room and explain the seriousness of a condition. I really wasn’t expecting to hear the C word like that, I mean no introduction and no bloody fanfare just ‘you have cancer’. To be fair he was very gentle and he did hold my hand but it seemed wrong. I didn’t cry because it wasn’t the right time and I don’t suppose it sunk in – that came later when I told my husband. As the doctor left a nurse came in and asked what I’d been told, she was not happy and chased after the doctor presumably for a ‘few words’ of her own. She came back to apologise and said it that news should not have been broken in that way. I had a visit later that day from another doctor – I don’t remember who or why but that maybe because I was on morphine and not completely ‘with it’. I do recall though being told the ‘lump’ was 7cm diameter and they were looking at removing my whole kidney. In the meantime they would have to stop the bleed with this embolisation procedure. I was also told that unfortunately the surgeon was away and so the surgery to remove my ‘lump’ and/or kidney would have to wait but this would not have an adverse effect. I was fine with this, I had by this time grown quite attached to my left kidney and was in no hurry to have it removed. The other matter of the cancer hadn’t quite sunk in… As the day went on so the pain increased again and I was given more pain killers. I hadn’t left the bed now since I had been admitted and wouldn’t have been able to if I’d tried. This was slowly dawning on me as was the fact I had a catheter which I was going to learn a lot more about…

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