Using public transport during chemotherapy?

Hello again,

I’m going nuts right now because neither of us drive and he’s a few weeks away from starting chemotherapy for Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML), he’s like everyone here vulnerable to infection even before chemotherapy starts.

Today someone got on the bus sat in front of him and spat on the floor! How can he avoid contamination during chemotherapy with people like this around.

We can’t afford to pay for taxis constantly to minimise risk, he’s already wearing masks and we’ve got plenty of hand sanitizer, but the local buses are often packed and drivers aren’t particularly conscientious and allow far more passengers on the bus than they should.

I’ve told him that if too many passengers are on the bus that he should let it go and get the next, but I doubt that he’ll follow this especially after chemotherapy if he’s had a bad experience with it, although we we were told that this chemotherapy was a gentler form I don’t know how it’s going to go for him.

Does anyone know if there’s any help available for him?


Hi @Hellodolly a very good question which @2DB has answered and has given you good information for.
I have a good quality face mask and hand sanitiser like you and try and get a seat by a window so I can look away from the crowds.
However I have realised that I am in a very minority group and I certainly cannot control what another person does, unfortunately.
I try and walk, even a few stops, instead of getting the bus.
The expenses and practicalities are part of our diagnosis that nobody realises
Thanks so much for raising this very real issue.
Take care of yourselves and please do keep us updated

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This is such a good topic, @Hellodolly. Also just wanted to say I love your username!

I don’t drive like you and your husband, take daily chemotherapy, and have probably lived with immunity-suppressing Polycythaemia vera (PV) since way before diagnosis last year. I also somehow got through the pandemic and travelled by public transport locally and internationally without ever testing positive for COVID-19.

While I understand your worries about catching some lurgy in public or on public transport, I think the public health advice we’ve been given about masking up around others and maintaining hand hygiene must surely work. My other half and I didn’t stop doing social things during the pandemic all while respecting reasonable safety measures and we made sure to mask up in spaces that were crowded and never caught COVID-19. Still do mask up, in fact!

Something that helped me not feel worry or angry about how others behave in public is to try just letting it go. It’s their behaviour, not ours. We can’t change other people and how they interact with us in public, but we can keep ourselves safe. By wearing masks you can also be a role model to others still coughing up and sneezing into the air around others which, frankly, has always been gross. Again, that’s down to others and their poor manners. We don’t need to add to that!

While not a medical opinion, I’d say if your husband and you are vaccinated fully and take basic measures like wearing a good mask like those N95s and keep hands clean then you’ll be about as protected from viral infections as you can be. It’s either that or being stuck indoors or within walking distance of home, and I don’t imagine you’d want that!


I know unrelated but my husband had a terrible experience this week on the train with a group of young lads being abusive toward him. It wasn’t even that late at night around 7pm. My husband is only just turned 60 can you imagine if that was a much more frailer person. He does though suffer from PTSD from many years ago from an incident through his line of work at the time so this wasn’t a good experience for him!
Anyway sorry the point I was was meant to be making was that public transport isn’t great anymore and more to the point the manners of those using it like @Erica said . I mean who spits on the floor!
If you are able to obtain support to get to the hospital that would be amazing. I know you are supposed to use the cheapest transportation but it does say in some cases taxis are approved.

Hope all goes well thinking of you


That’s horrible @Jules, sorry to hear that happened to your husband and about his PTSD. I live with PTSD too, it can be grim. Abusive people are going to be abusive wherever they are and it sounds like they picked on your husband that time. I hate the vulnerability that can come with using public transport, especially poorly managed types!

Was just reminded of a long train ride I took from Brighton to Cardiff during the pandemic when people were meant to be wearing masks but everyone took theirs off for whatever reason in a carriage without openable windows. Many folks were tipsy and en route to sports games and all up in each other’s space so I got off and waited for another train. We can only protect ourselves and if that means removing ourselves from risky scenarios then so be it!

It’s great that there are options for healthcare-related transport, I’d be tempted to use them. One less aspect to worry about in amongst all these other concerns, I’d say.


Jules In Ireland one of the cancer charities have volunteers that drive people to and from hospital when they are getting their chemotherapy. Might this be a possibility? I hope something gets sorted soon.


Thank you @Duncan for your kind words he has had one of those weeks! Whilst waiting to collect me in the car park at the hospital on Friday (the day after the train incident ) he was rear ended by a very old man who clearly should not have been driving. To say he has been tested this week would be an understatement. Then I come out with the delights of more biopsies- what a week- but heh dust ourselves off and carry on.


Hi @Jules, yes, what a week you have both had, I really feel for your husband, final straw time
Yes, dust yourselves off and carry on (regardless) but I would be feeling really, really hassled and stressed.
Be kind to yourselves, treat yourselves and I hope you can have a better long weekend, both of you.