‘With six weeks in isolation for leukaemia treatment, what you really need is someone to give you a good laugh’ – Telegraph.co.uk

Patients are very isolated. The staff nurses on the ward will obviously go and see the patient, but youve got long periods of time on your own. It is easy to imagine that, with the chaos of the Christmas period, the loneliness for inpatients will grow even more intense.

And that loneliness is frightening for patients, says Smith: When youre there, in isolation for six weeks, your mind whirrs. Your relatives can come, but only if they have no coughsor colds or diseases. They dont want to come if theyre going to makeyou poorly. But Shirley comes in once a week and talks to me, he says, with a chuckle.

Emmerson explains: I work with the nurses, and they tell me whos where, and who they think would like a visit, or if theres anything I can do. And then, I just go along and introduce myself. Thats how I met Steve. Yes, it was during my first blast of chemo, in May, Smith begins, and Emmerson adds, smiling: Ive been there all the way through.

This consistent support has been invaluable to Smith, who recalls sitting alone in his room, wondering whether the chemotherapy was working, and what would happen next. It does play with your head, he acknowledges, as you sit by yourself, thinking: whats going on? A typical Thursday when Smith is an inpatient goes like this: he wakes and has breakfast between 8-9am (I try to get a full English out of it, he jokes, though he soberly acknowledges that the treatment makes most patients lose their appetite.)

Then he might watch some television and await Emmersons visit at about 10.30am. From day one, Shirley would always laugh with me, he explains. Shirley would say, Have you thought about this or Have you tried that but what I really got out of it was having someone to sit and talk to about my family, about her family. Its just a giggle, but that laughter makes you feel better. Emmerson would stay until around lunchtime.

In the afternoons, Emmerson heads to the bright haematology outpatient ward, which sees 500 patients each week. Here, the waiting room has a side room with a collection of row after row of pamphlets from Macmillan and other charities.

In a voice inaudible to the dozen or so waiting patients, with their accompanying family members, Chatten explains that the room used to be closed off, but a bereaved family donated money so it could be spruced up and opened to the waiting room, so the range of available help would be easily discoverable.

Continued here:
'With six weeks in isolation for leukaemia treatment, what you really need is someone to give you a good laugh' - Telegraph.co.uk

Related Post