Cancer Talk #14: Going Home and Pneumonia

March – April 2015

The ride from the hospital to the airport was hell. Every bump gave me a back cramp. My mum kept gently stroking my back and gave me some muscle relief gel but nothing worked to soothe the pain. The driver saw that I was in agony, sweating and cringing in pain so he went very very slowly even though we were on a highway. I saw him let out a huge relieved sigh when we finally arrived at the airport.

I had to be in a wheelchair since I had trouble walking. It was so strange being at the airport in a wheelchair, I was usually here with a backpack, heading to my next adventure.

Wishing I was at the airport heading on my next adventure instead of being sick
When the plane took off, I had a back cramp but tried to keep it quiet since I didn’t want to draw attention. When the plane landed, the same thing happened. I was so happy when we finally arrived.

Before I went home, the doctor and nurses gave me a set of “rules”. As I was in a post chemo condition, I had to be extra careful since my immune system would be weak. I was to avoid crowded places, take care of my food and wear a mask at all time when in a public space.

Being home was strange. My dogs greeted me like crazy, but I couldn’t come near them as I was afraid of catching some sort of bacteria from them. I was weak, I felt vulnerable, everything around me felt like a threat.

At least this is home, not the hospital

A few days in at home, the back cramps subsided and it was easier for me to get up from bed though I still needed my mum’s help. I was happy about that at least. However something else came up, I had a high fever all of the sudden and to top that I had trouble breathing. I was petrified.

It was good that I had an oxygen tank at home, it was a small one that lasted 3-4 hours. It wasn’t enough though, soon I was so dependent that I was breathing through an oxygen mask 24/7. A friend of my dad lent us his oxygen tank, a small one too but because of my condition my parents decided to borrow a big oxygen tank that was delivered to our home, it would last one day and then we would call them to exchange the tank for a new one.

I couldn’t breathe (again). And I couldn’t sleep flat since it made my breathing harder, so I was always sitting on a chair, sleeping was just terrible. My mum tried to stack some pillows but it was hard for me to move as my muscles were still stiff and with the addition breathing problem, I was frustrated and scared.

My dad e-mailed my doctor in Malaysia and he said that I may have pneumonia (he said I may have caught it on my way home) and should be treated immediately. The doctors here at home also checked and confirmed that it was pneumonia, they gave me some antibiotics but were afraid of doing anything else since I was also on post chemo condition and had jaundice. They suggested that I went back to Malaysia, to my hospital there.

But how could I go back to Malaysia when I could hardly breathe?


2 thoughts on “Cancer Talk #14: Going Home and Pneumonia

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