Monthly Archives: June 2007


We had to make an emergency call for an ambulance today, and Elaine is this evening still in Calderdale Royal hospital.

Elaine has not been well for the past week to ten days. When she visited Cookridge last Wednesday for her assessment prior to the chemo, they diagnosed a urinary tract infection, and prescribed more antibiotics. With hindsight, they should not have told her to go ahead with the double dose of chemo on the Thursday, but they did. She seemed to bounce back Friday and Saturday – possibly because of the antibiotics or possibly because of the steroid they give her with chemo.

However, most of Saturday night, Elaine was up vomiting and remained in bed Sunday and Monday, hardly eating. This morning, Elaine seemed a little better and even drove down to the shops.

About one thirty, I heard a series of gasps and went in to see her. She was shivering violently and was in serious distress. I called the doctor but was told it was lunch time. They would try and find a duty doctor and ring us back. For a moment, I didn’t know where to turn.

I rang Jane who is a doctor and friend living down the road. Thankfully, she was in and came straight up. She took one look at Elaine’s colour and told me to ring 999.

The ambulance was here very quickly and the ambulance men were very friendly and re-assuring, although one later told Elaine when they first saw her she looked like she would have a heart attack any moment. By the time, Elaine was in the ambulance, she was rallying and her colour was returning. The ambulance men did some more tests, blood pressure etc and then informed me that she was going to hospital “whether she liked it or not” – Elaine was feeling better enough to start saying she didn’t think it was necessary for her to go into Calderdale Royal.

While she was being taken for an X-ray, she had another attack of the extreme shivers so the doctors were able to see exactly what the problem was. They said the condition was Rigor which Wikipedia describes as “shaking occurring during a high fever. It occurs because cytokines and prostaglandins are released as part of an immune response”.

She phoned me around half ten this evening, and said they were now wondering about a pulmonary embolism which Wiki says “is blockage of the pulmonary artery (or one of its branches) by a blood clot, fat, air, amniotic fluid, injected talc or clumped tumor cells”. They are going to run more tests but in the meantime have given her some anti-clotting medicine.

Update: Wednesday, 9.30am – Elaine has just phoned and they have more or less ruled out it being a pulmonary embolism. It looks as though she will be discharged later this morning. Hooray!