Original Writing – Prose: A day in the life of Lauryn-Emily Jones!

I woke up feeling worried about the day before me, The other staff members had warned me that Thursday was always the worst day but refused to tell me why. Since Monday I had been working in the oncology outpatients department of the city hospital and so far had dealt with all the different emotions adequately. It was hard work not because of the jobs I had to do but because seeing people in and out everyday either recently being told they had cancer or having suffered for years they were still sad when they got bad news and happy when they got good so all the emotions were mixed up.

When I walked in on Thursday morning just before nine as I had for the past three days things looked normal. The walls which had been freshly painted were looking bright and fresh and all the staff still looked happy and were smiling so I hoped it was going to be a good day. I went behind reception and there was nothing to do so I stood and watched the people. Most were quite old but all had someone with them for support.

I wished silently that everyone that day would get good news but I knew deep down that it was not going to happen and I felt a slight pain in my heart for all the people sitting there, Who were not lucky enough to be seen by some of the best doctors in the world. The disease that was slowly killing could be cured in some cases but it also had lots of side effects to go with it including hair loss, feeling sick at most times, plus the risk of killing too many good cells while killing the bad ones and being in great pain a lot of the time.

As I stood thinking about all these things something suddenly popped into my head, What about all the people that did get better? These people included my own Nan who had suffered with throat cancer for a long time but was now cured? This is the proof that these treatments although terrible did work and that even if someone is diagnosed with cancer things can get better. I carried on looking around when a little girl who I later found out was only four came running in, She seemed to know her way around the department and as I looked I realized she did not have very much hair and then I saw her mother.

She was a feeble looking woman in a wheel chair; Her husband was pushing her along as she was too weak to do it herself. I decided to talk to this wonderful family and found out the mother had been diagnosed with cancer not long after the doctors told her their daughter had a brain tumour and without a lot of operations and radiotherapy would not live very long and if she did she would be very weak for a lot of her life so may not enjoy it as much as she could. I watched the girl.

She was very small and thin and she had tiny patches of hair on her head where the chemotherapy and radiotherapy had made it fall out. Her mother said she had a cancer which they could not specify because it was a mixture of two and she had to have more tests until they could find out. The little girl continued to run around and say hello everyone always keeping a massive smile on her face! This made me smile and I noticed that her father was a very strong man who obviously loved them very much.

They soon had to go as the little girl had to have some more radiotherapy. As soon as they went I decided to see what I could find out about radiotherapy. I was told that if a child has to have radiotherapy they get fitted for a mask which fits right over their face, head and neck this is then sent to be made into plastic mask. When the mask is sent back and the child is ready for the radiotherapy, because they can not stay still enough the mask is put over their face with only two little holes for breathing as eye holes are too dangerous.

The mask is bolted tightly to the table to stop the child moving because the equipment they use is just a small laser. Unlike chemotherapy it can only be used on the affected part of the body to kill the cells and not on other parts of the body as it kills too many cells and can be very harmful. I stood and thought about this for a minute and wondered whether I would be able to cope with this and how that lively, amazing little girl could cope with it and was told by the lady who does the radiotherapy that most of the time patients have to be put to sleep because they get too distressed by the mask.

This thought frightened me and once again I thought how lucky I was to be a normal, healthy 15 year old girl. I found that being in radiotherapy was too distressing and decided to go back up to oncology but when I walked in straight away everything was different, the atmosphere had changed while I was away and I could feel it. I carried on in through the doors and as soon as I got round the corner I realized the whole of the oncology department was full of young men! To any other teenage girl this would be wonderful but to me it was scary.

I turned to look and saw a young man no older than 22 sitting in a wheel chair and when it came to going to have his blood taken needed help to get up because he was so weak due to the all the treatment and the disease. I went back behind reception and carried on looking around when I was startled by a lad who slammed his arm down on the desk he looked at me and I noticed he was about the same age as me and he did not look very happy, he had another lad with him who I guessed was for moral support they both smiled at me but the smile was small and not very positive.

I decided to go and sit with the lads to see if they would talk to me. I explained what I was doing and they were ok to talk to me. The lad who’s name was Rikki told me he was 15 and had been diagnosed with teratoma cancer when he was just 13 and had recently had an operation to try and get rid of it after chemotherapy failed. The other lad who was there was his best mate Ashley, he had been there through everything and they were very close.

He said today he had come in to find out whether they had got rid of the cancer or not but was told the chances were small, he gave me a glance his eyes looked sad but I could tell there was a glimmer of hope in there but as he explained he didn’t want to get too excited for just in case the news was not good. He said he had to stay for a while because he also had to have blood tests and that he would come and see me before he went. I looked at the time and realized I had missed nearly half of my lunch!

Although it was raining I wanted to go and sit outside in the fresh air so I could think and I had a chance to clear my head, I watched the people walk in and out and made the decision I would take each day as it comes because I never know what is around the corner, I also decided I would keep very busy after lunch so I could not think about it to much as deep down I was very distressed and was finding it very hard. When I had finished my lunch I went back in to find the waiting area not so packed but was still full of young men waiting to see the doctor.

I went to find one of the nurses to talk to and came across Zoi??, she had been in the oncology department for 2 years but was leaving soon as she wanted to finish training as a nurse because she never had the chance to do the things she had wanted. We talked about all the people and my feelings; she said the best way to deal with it is to just pretend that everyone was going to be cured and to think myself lucky it was not me. It sounded like a good idea and she also told me Audrey my supervisor wanted to see me at 3 o’clock.

We went back to reception and I was asked to do some filing and pulling. This meant taking people’s notes and putting them back on the shelves and getting the lists for the next week and pulling all the files for that which is hard because sometimes they are not there so I have to go to other places around the hospital. Once again when I was reading through the lists thinking about whether I had seen any of the sets of notes I was startled by a hand slamming down on the desk but this time when I looked up I saw a smiling face!

It was Rikki again but this time he had the kind of smile I knew no one was going to get rid of! I asked him what the doctor said and in the most wonderful happy voice I have ever heard he said “It’s gone! ” I smiled at him and he carried on jumping around laughing and then proceeded to try and get me to go to the pub with him to celebrate. We chatted for a little while then I realized I had to get on with my jobs so he gave me one more very happy smile and walked off. Even with his back to me I knew he was going to be smiling for a very long time and it was going to take a lot to get rid of that smile!

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