I’m learning the process slowly. A lovely doctor rang today with a detailed explanation. Most of it I didn’t understand but she promised to let me have a written report.

What I did understand is that they want some more of my bone marrow. The last lot looked ok to me, but apparently it was lacking something.

I think that it will be extracted next week. Then it will be sent for analysis and it could be 6/8 weeks before a conclusion is reached and treatment is decided upon.

In the meantime it will be weekly blood tests and, if necessary, blood transfusions.


Jack Smith


This morning Gretchen gave birth to this handsome young man. All are well.

We hope to talk to him on line tomorrow!


Hamwick House

At the back of the Southampton General Hospital site there is Hamwick House. I go there for blood tests. Other people go there to see consultants.

I learnt early on, that if you go for a blood test, you find the machine that issues numbered tickets, take one and try to remember the number. Then you put the very small ticket somewhere safe, on the basis of that after waiting for the number to be called you will have forgotten the number.

There are usually 40/50 patients and supporters sitting there in 40/50 chairs so you need to sit in the first one you find that’s free and get out the Wordle, or Suduko or Kindle.

If you are there for a consultation they stand at the front and say your name (usually a mumble) when they are ready to see you. But us blood test people are waiting to hear a number shouted/mumbled so that we can try to guess how many are ahead of us in the queue.

Last Thursday I arrived about 15minutes ahead of the appointed time. I took ticket No 36 and started the day’s Wordle. After 30 minutes no number had been announced so I had no idea how much longer I would have to wait.

After a time I thought someone at the front mumbled ‘Richard Smith’ but I realised it couldn’t be me as I’m a blood test person. I’m a numbers person. I heard Number 35 called out and realised I was next. And then again I heard ‘Richard Smith’ being shouted out. I got up and at the same time another man came out of the WC and said ‘I’m Richard Smith’. That threw the nurse. She looked at me and asked if I was born in 1963. Close I said. 1945. Well it’s not you I want she said. I was devastated!

She didn’t seem surprised that she had 2 Richard Smiths in her clinic at the same time!

Almost immediately No 36 was shouted out and I went off for my blood test. The assembled audience seemed to have enjoyed the Smith show.