It was the evening of Saturday 24th February. My first ‘cycle’ of BEP treatment complete, it was now time to go home.
Physically and emotionally weakened I got the approval from the nurse that I could be discharged. After some last ‘reminders’ and a checklist of what to look out for whilst out of hospital, things like feeling drowsy, high temperature etc it was time to say goodbye to the staff that had looked after me over the last 5 days we headed out.
The weather had really turned since I got in to the hospital and we faced a journey home through some icy and snowy conditions. I remember taking my first step outside of the hospital and the intensity of the cold air hitting me.
Robin made me stay in the building whilst she fetched the car as we were both a little paranoid about me getting an infection / cold given the beating my immune system had just taken for the last 5 days.
I waited in the entrance room to the hospital alongside an elderly couple to whom I warned them to be careful outside as it was very icy. They thanked me and said they were waiting for their son who was getting the car. they then went on to say “it’s not very nice visiting loved one’s in here is it”, I replied “I’m sure it’s not, but I know I appreciate my loved one’s visiting”. I think they were a little surprised the guy stood next to them was one of the ‘patients’.
Robin pulled up outside the doors a minute or so later and I slowly got in the car. Feeling relieved I called my parents to let them know we were on our way home (they were house and doggy sitting for us), I remember my Dad answering the phone and me saying to him “I’m heading home Dad” at which point the emotions of the week got the better of me and I broke down. It was a mixture of emotions all coming together at a single point in time, happiness, thankfulness, anxiousness and relief.
As we drove through the city of Sheffield I recall trying to take everything in, the lights, sounds and what people were doing on their ‘Saturday night’. Although it had only been 5 days at the time it seemed I was very disconnected from ‘normal’ life.
After a steady drive we arrived at our home, greeted by my Dad coming out to the car with a blanket to keep me warm I entered our home. I was about to experience one of the ‘side effects’ from the treatment. A seriously heightened sense of smell. My lovely home that I normally loved the smell of was ‘off limits’ to my senses. None of the scented diffusers were welcome anymore, I felt I could smell every meal that had been cooked in our kitchen over the last few days and our dog, Lola just spelt very strange to me.
Talking of Lola, I was gutted to discover she actually didn’t recognise me at first, whether it was the hat I was wearing or the smell of the BEP chemotherapy drugs that I smelled of (another smell I detested) something had clearly masked over the familiar look or smell of me that she was used to.
Spending just a few minutes downstairs with Robin and my parents I headed up to bed, exhausted in a way I’d never experienced before. The only way I try and describe it so you can relate to it is as a mix between having a bad dose of the flu combined with a bad hangover and a good dose of jetlag thrown in for good measure.
As nice as getting in to our bed felt, the sheets had just been washed and to due to my hyper sensitive sense of smell and newly found general dislike for all scents, I really didn’t appreciate the lavender scented fabric!!
Getting to sleep the first night home was pretty easy, but as I’d find out over the next few days, this was going to get much more challenging.
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