Tuesday, April 22, 2014
And Today I Rant
I'm trying really hard not to complain about my treatment, but somedays it is hard to keep that "Rosy Attitude". My doctors and nurses are telling me that I'm doing great, and that I'm sailing through this. All my side effects are normal and expected and we can work with them. And it's everything. I've lost my taste for food. Nothing tastes right and even textures are funny. One minute I think I'm constipated, and then in the blink of an eye... I'm really not. I have days that I am tired from deep within my bones. I have days that I'm nauseous and I haven't found the right anti-nausea to completely neutralize that for me. I nearly cried during Easter Dinner when I tried my sister-in-laws mashed potatoes. They were the very best thing I have eaten in literally weeks. I have tingling and numbness in my fingers, toes, and balls of my feet. My white blood cell count gets too low so I have to get injections for the two days after treatment to get them up to a healthy level. The bonus here is that it was three days, but I responded really well and have been been able to scale that back to two days. So yeah.... it's all super fun.
I have officially passed the half-way mark of the chemo portion of my treatment plan. Today was treatment 7 of 12. And today I witnessed the most self-centered nimrod I have encountered in a long time!
Chandler has April Vacation this week and really wanted to take me to chemo. I understand how much he wants to support me and at barely 18 years old, it can be a challenge to find the ways to do that. So I let him be part of my journey today. He took me today, in his car, and bought me a cup of coffee on the way :-) He's a great young man and I love him dearly.
My chemo takes 5 hours, give or take, to administer. Plus I see my oncologist right before my chemo appointment. Thankfully my oncologist office and the Infusion Center are in the same building, and on the same floor, so it's pretty convenient. But there is no way around the fact that it's a long day. I know that I am a freak in that I kind of enjoy the quiet time. I prefer to go by myself because honestly it is 5 hours of guilt free relaxation! Sure I get poked and prodded and asked a bazillion personal questions, but people... I am telling you that it is also 5 hours that I cannot fold laundry, sweep floors, clean toilets, walk dogs, grocery shop, pay bills, etc, etc, etc! I can read, knit, watch Mad Men on Netflix or anything else my little heart desires, absolutely guilt free! It's like a little slice of heaven :-)
Obviously the Infusion Center is a clinical environment, but they really have done a nice job of making it as comfortable as possible. Chandler comes in with me today and I get to pick which of the open chairs I want today. As nice a job as they have done, not all the seats are equal. They all recline, but a couple are power recliners so that you can find that perfect sweet spot. Some are a little bigger which is great if you have a long day as they are easier to snuggle in with a blanket a pillow. A handful of them have heat. Not quite half of them have Direct TV, so you can watch TV if you want. I have a favorite chair. It is the coveted corner chair, because it has ALL of these lovely amenities, is directly across from the nutrition center, plus being in the corner it has lots of natural light on two sides!! Sadly for me today, my favorite chair was already taken, so I chose the chair beside it. Really not a big deal, but I did explain to Chandler why that was my favorite chair and he completely understood why I like it so much.
About 10 minutes after I got checked in, the young woman who was in my favorite chair gets up. At first I thought she had left, but then I realized that she was sitting with the woman in the chair on her other side. I didn't think much of it at first. I just figured that it was someone she had met there and that woman was sharing some good news that she had just received from her doctor. Good for her! Good news is exciting and always welcome! It wasn't until the young woman returned to my favorite chair that I realized what a jerk she was. It's now the busiest part of the day in the infusion center. There's only one open chair for patients left. Volunteers are milling around and checking in with patients. Do you need anything? Can I get you a drink? Or some soup? A sandwich? Anything? And then I heard the words come out of her mouth that made my chin drop. "I'm not a patient. I'm just waiting for my mother." And she stuck her nose back in her book. EXCUSE ME....?!?! WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY?!?!?!?!? I looked at Chandler with my mouth hanging open and he looked back at me with the same expression. She did just say that. Who does that? Who accompanies a family member or friend to a facility for specific patient care and just occupies a patient space simply because they feel like it? Furthermore,when it's busy and that space could clearly be being used for PATIENT CARE? Seriously, who does that? It just really blew my mind. I just don't understand the mindset of some people. There are plenty of chairs available for the support people of the patients. Admittedly they're not as comfortable as the patient recliners, but the visitors aren't getting chemo. Suck it up Buttercup, this is not about you. If you're going to accompany someone to their treatment for support, then maybe, just possibly, perhaps, you might actually try supporting them.
The icing on the cupcake though was when she was leaving with her mother. "I'm all set" the mom says. "Good. Can we finally go to Barnes and Noble now" the young woman asks? Good grief. I guess it really does take all kinds of people to make this world go round. I hope she knows that Karma can be a real bitch.....