The story so far: in the West Wing of the Churchill Hospital in July 2017 I was diagnosed with a terminal form of leukaemia and given 12 to 18 months to live. This week, trips to A&E, an accident with a kettle, and a glimmer of hope

THIS column has been the description of walking on a knife edge for the past few weeks. I had been kicked off a cancer trial that was not working to control my disease and had been waiting to see if I were eligible for a brand new trial of a drug that had not yet been tested on human beings but might prolong my life.

Nothing turns out as you expect it will; and this has been a roller-coaster of a week. The barriers to my joining the new trial were set impossibly high: I had to reduce the cancer count of my white blood cells from 180-plus to 24, and my calcium levels were in need of some severe trimming.

Then there are the unknown unknowns. Let’s start with scalding water entering the equations. My legs have leukaemia sores running up and down them. They are completely bandaged; I can hardly walk. On Monday morning I was filling a hot water bottle and dropped the kettle full of boiling water over my foot. The bandages made it difficult to get out of the way. I was caught; so now the whole bottom of my foot is covered with a blister that needed to be ‘de-roofed’. It is a minor surgical operation, but now I’m hobbling instead of walking.

The doctors need to check your blood levels constantly in order to give you top-up supplies. To facilitate this the patient has to arrive at the hospital early in the morning for the staff to take a sample of the patient’s blood to cross-match it with the huge Oxford blood bank. I know this is a big operation to keep all the blood donations and all the samples in order. My blood samples were lost in the system on Saturday and Wednesday this week. All this means I have to come back to hospital for a repeat sample and stay until after midnight.

In between these disasters I spent one evening with the Accident & Emergency section of the John Radcliffe Hospital which was so crowded and the frontline service so stretched that that patients who already had a bed got up and left in desperation.

Finally in the middle of this chaos I received the news that in spite of all expectations to the contrary, someone was offering me a minor miracle on a plate and I was accepted on this new drug trial to fight my kind of leukaemia. Of course this new drug has never been tested on human beings and it is important to be careful about what you wish for. I’ll give you more details about that in the coming weeks.