Monthly Archives: September 2011

Salve, Bufo

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having not fun?  I’d fully intended to follow up the last entry but in the event August just flashed past and now I’m blessed if I can remember what it was I hoped to report.

The first drama of the diversionary set was the establishment of a one-year program of ‘infusion’ treatment with Remicade/Infliximab for Graham, aimed at inducing a remission of his Crohn’s condition.  This involves visiting the hospital at regular but decreasing intervals, laying quietly on a bed and letting the infusion wash into the system through a vein in the arm.  Because of the risk of quite serious side effects he has to have a full set of blood tests every two weeks.  It’s not a gentle treatment, and he was visited by several nasties after the first infusion.  Those symptoms reduced up until the second one, last Thursday.  Then they came back with much less severity so it looks as though he’ll be a regular visitor to the Singleton hospital day clinic for the next year.  We’re hopeful that this will be the way forward.

I have to act as chaufeur of course, dropping him off at the hospital in the morning and then returning in the afternoon/early evening to bring him back home.  I expect to become truly expert in driving through the Swansea heavy traffic before we’re done.

I’m still waiting to see the venous specialist — there’s a long, long waiting list — and in the meantime have developed a full-scale ulcer on my left calf.  Not at all pleasant, this, especially when I was told that a swab had revealed that the wound was dripping with ‘more bugs than you can count’.  Hey ho.  I am on a course of three high potency antibiotics and need to see how things go.  I’m visiting the doctor’s clinic two or three times a week for wound cleaning and dressing changes.  It’s painful.  It’s horribly painful.  It’s most painful for the twenty-four hours after the dressing is changed and I’m coming to realize why it was that Henry VIII, who suffered a similar wound in the days long before antibiotics, became impatient with his nearest and dearest, to the extent that he was inclined to chop their heads off.

“Don’t worry,” I said to Graham as he was cleaning the leg up for me.  “I shall not send you off for decapitation treatment.”

“Just as well.  You’d have a job finding someone else to do this job.”

“I know.  I know.”

On a totally different, non-medical subject (isn’t that a relief) we seem to have adopted or been adopted by a new pet.

When Dolly went off on the long trip we resolved never to have another cat.  Or dog, for that matter.  And we’ve stuck to it.

People said it wouldn’t last and that if we didn’t relent then a passing cat would drop in and adopt us.  “Over my dead body,” Graham said.  “Don’t say things like that.”  “Oh, alright then.  but we don’t want any more pets, do we?”  “Nope.  Not no way.”

Well, the vacuum has been filled.  Not with a furry, cuddly pet, but we’ve been adopted, just as people said we would.

Not to prolong the agony, the new member of the establishment is a toad.  A ‘common toad‘.  It has taken up residence in a planting trough out on what was Dolly’s catio.  I suppose we’ll have to rename it as a ‘toadio’ now.

First we noticed of its intention to move in and stay was when it began to excavate a nice cosy nest for itself, under a clump of small house leeks.  Over the period of about three days the earth moved, was shifted from side to side and subtly arranged to provide a good, solid front door behind which he retires at first light, emerging during the night to go foraging for juicy invertebrates of several kinds.  Most gratifying is his appetite for slugs.  Try as I may I can summon up no sympathy for slugs.

“Looks like he’s intending to stay,” I said.  “We’ll have to give him a name, of course.”

“How about Twm-our-Toad?”

“Nah.  It’s a good name, but liable to offend passing Welshmen.”

“What, then?”

“I rather fancy Bufo.”

“Is that a literary thing?”

“Only slightly.”

“Well, alright, then.  Bufo it is.”

So now, at first light when I step outside to get a breath of air, I call out a warning “Salve, Bufo” just to let him know I’m about.

Well, you wouldn’t want to step on a Bufo now, would you?