Aileen Lamb
Posted by
Aileen Lamb


Aileen Lamb
Posted by
Aileen Lamb
23 Nov 2015

How I've occupied myself during my long stays in hospital.

I made a promise with when I was admitted – minimal day-time TV. And I can honestly report that I’ve fulfilled this promise.

That’s not to say it’s been easy. But given that my chemo might already be giving me ‘chemo brain’ and making me less on the ball, I don’t need to add Jeremy Kyle into the mix and damage my remaining brain cells!

So how to fill the days which stretch endlessly from 9am into the afternoon, and a visitor or two, up to evenings with Steve-doll and trying to find new and interesting stuff to chat over.  During and after round one chemo my saviour has been the current trend of adult colouring books. These come in many guises – intricate Indian inspired patterns; some inspired by horticulture or pop-culture. Friends have been sourcing a wide selection of books. I’ve tested them with pens and pencils – pens are my preferred option. 

It’s easy for me to fill two or three hours simply concentrating on my colouring. The most challenging decision is which colour to use next. Very calming. Very theraputic. Very un-me. But very welcome over the past weeks when I needed calm, relaxation and peace and when initially I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

‘Chemo-brain’ initially left me unable to read more than a chapter of a book in one sitting. This really bothered me as I’m a voracious reader. I panicked because I love to read and didn’t want to loose this enjoyable passtime. 

Thankfully towards the start of round two the chemo-brain faded and has not come back. Fingers crossed that’s my share of it. Although its actually quite a good ‘excuse’ for me to use when I inadvertently forget a fact, a birthday or a name – who is going to argue that its actually just my rubbish memory;)

Radio has been a saviour too. Radio 2 is my prefered station; podcasts from across the BBC including some fab Desert Island Disks – who knew Jo Malone turned to smell to compensate for her dyslexia. I’ve uncovered some fab new music on Spotify simply because I’ve had time to browse the site properly.

I’ve not got into Suduko; Crosswords or puzzles. You’ll not find my dining table covered in 2,000 piece jigsaws and I’ve not become a movie buff. I’ve watched a wee bit more on Netflix but not overdosed on it.

So,  that’s how I’ve been passing my days. Gone is the calendar chokka bloc with meetings, events and appointments. I no longer moan about folk ‘stealing’ the only remaining hour in my diary for another needless meeting which could actually have been a simple phone call. Now appointments are at Outpatients and meetings replaced with blood tests.

I’m getting used to this (a wee bit) but don’t plan on making this a permanent change!



Another great blog Aileen.

I remember the chemo brain only too well and found concentrating on anything for too long a bit of a challenge. I also suffered greatly from tiredness after the radiotherapy in the build up to my transplant and even fell asleep watching the FA Cup Final which never happens normally!

The mindfulness colouring in books are great and really therapeutic too. It sounds like you've found lots of things to occupy your time but you forgot writing brilliant blogs to that list!

Wishing you all the best going forwards and looking forward to your next blog.

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