Being good

Chemotherapy came together with a new set of guidelines. As a rule I tend to keep to guidelines by nature. Now I’m faced with dilemmas or get caught up in confusing situations.

It started quite simple… I thought:

  • Don’t eat grapefruit or pomelo, ugli, mincola or tangelo – that’s easy as I hardly ever eat grapefruit; the other fruits I hadn’t even heard of.
  • Restrict the use of alcohol to nothing or one glass at the most, somewhere in the second week after chemo – Hmmm, a pity, but all right, I’ll keep to it.
  • Drink 1,5 to 2 litres of water each day – I thought I did already, by swallowing all these pills each day. But this appeared to be insufficient. The result was an extra severe headache.

Two examples of instructions I find harder to follow:

  • Brush your teeth at least 4 times a day, after every meal, with a soft brush and rinse afterwards with salt water (or use Paradontax toothpaste) – Whew! This is quite a hurdle in practice. As I have to eat a considerable number of snacks in-between meals, it comes down to more than 6 times daily teeth brushings. Brushing should not only be done very carefully, but also very subtly as the enamel can be damaged by all the brushing.
  • After using the toilet flush twice with lid closed – This I gave up after having stood beside the toilet several times, waiting till eternity before I could flush a second time. I hope that separate toilets for me and my visitors will turn out to be sufficiently safe.

The letter with the appointment for the next chemotherapy also contains the hospital’s general guidelines to combat Covid-19. One of them is: Come to the hospital by yourself. I thought, well I’m certainly able to. Perhaps the chemo will affect my driving skills, so it won’t be suitable to drive. Rather on foot or on my bike. Arrived at the oncology department, I meet a surprised glance: ‘Are you on your own? Did nobody tell you to bring someone for company’? If they did, it has escaped me in the wealth of auditive information. And then the next surprised utterance: ‘Did you come on your bike to your first chemo? Can you please call someone to collect you afterwards’? So, I left my bike at the hospital and called a friendly neighbour.

A dear friend drew my attention to the fact that cats can be risky for people undergoing chemotherapy. Rightly so: via Google I quickly found more information with another set of guidelines like: Sleep in a different room from your pets. Oops. Does this balance the enormous advantages such as the ones I mentioned in earlier blogs?

I decided to take a few risks after all, and keep to two sets of regulations: the majority of the indicated guidelines plus a number of ‘gutlines’.

P.S. I want to express my appreciation to a good friend of mine who is kindly translating my blogs into English for my Anglophone readers. The more so as every now and then I throw untranslatable sentences/expressions at her to chew on, such as the above guidelines vs. ‘gutlines’!