Friday, April 3, 2009

Chemo Day #6

One of my favorite movies, Bridge on the River Kwai, was on TCM this morning. I love that movie. There are many rewarding moments for a moral absolutist, with its nostalgic themes of honor, loyalty and sacrifice... not to mention outstanding performances (Bill Holden: young, beefy, and shirtless), exciting plot twists, and perhaps the catchiest theme song in movie history. It was hard to tear myself away long enough to jump in the shower and get presentable for the infusatorium.

Normally, I check in and then I get blood drawn; while we're waiting for the results, they put the IV in. I've waited more than an hour before the results are back and the IV drugs are ready, so today I started a new protocol. I asked to hold off on putting the IV in until everything else is ready.

What a difference. I was happier and much more comfortable spending that hour in the waiting room chairs instead of the grizzly-sized barcaloungers. By chance, I got to visit briefly with Supernurse G. It's a great comfort to occasionally see the one and only person involved in my care who knows my name, and at least a little about my cancer, and my life. In the course of treatment, cancer patients will be in the hands of dozens, scores, maybe hundreds of health care workers. They are caring individuals, but you are a number, a condition, a situation, to all of them. I'm pretty sure even Dr. A forgets everything about me between visits; I guess that's inevitable when someone has a 2-300 patient load.

Most of the time, everyone sits quietly in the infusatorium waiting room, but once in a while, it's a big chatfest. Today, we were talking, mostly because one other lady there was a talker, a nervous talker who managed to tell us pretty much everything about herself. But also because I was wearing my Magic Purple Shoes, which are always conversation-starters. Today they sparked a chat with two sisters across the room, both very tall Nordic beauties... one of whom turned out to be a blog reader! It is the first time I've ever been "recognized." Reader L is a smart, funny, amazing girl and it was such a pleasure to talk with her, even for a few minutes. I hate what she's going through, I hate that we have this horrible thing in common. I hate that someone so strong and courageous and well, wonderful, has to spend her energy on this, instead of just enjoying her family and friends. But our chat was brief and mostly light-hearted, and so I'm proud to report... I got through the whole appointment without weeping. Yes, a new standard has been set.

In the afternoon, I managed a bit more decrapification - the seemingly endless task of filtering, uncluttering, tossing, donating, etc., in preparation for house-selling. Then, I picked a big, beautiful, cheery bouquet of daffodils. Thanks to Mom's efforts last fall, I have several beautiful new varieties to enjoy. I was eager to pick a big vaseful in case they get hammered by predicted thunderstorms. Then the daily nap, an abridged version thanks to the dex.

This is a much tougher round of chemo than last year; the nausea, although very minor, has been almost constant, the breathlessness is back and the fatigue is much worse. So I'm always glad when I can get a few things done, and not just knuckle under for the better part of the day. And I'm profoundly grateful that there haven't been more side effects. My heart really goes out to patients who haven't been as fortunate. It's like trying to row a leaky rowboat across toxic, dangerous waters to a safe shore.

The day winds up with the ER finale. I've been an intermittent watcher over the years. I occasionally stray away when the "BLOOD AND SCREAMING! SCREAMING AND BLOOD!" seems more prominent than the storylines... but I always come back. I thought the finale was a little bit of a disappointment: saccharine and predictable. And yet, still an impressive level of gore. (I managed to vent my saved-up Dex weepies.) Well, I will always have a soft spot for the show that brought us Goran Visnjik or whatever his name is - the only guy who could turn my head from Mr. Clooney. Briefly.

Meeting you was the highlight of my day, Reader L, and on a day that actually had several highlights! I would have given you my Magic Purple Shoes if I thought they might help... and if you weren't a foot taller than me. Hey - I wonder how they'd look as earrings...


Laura said...

It was so nice to finally meet you! I'm glad you wore your purple shoes so we could start up a conversation and I was able to recognize you. I really am a big fan of your blog. I feel like a celebrity that you mentioned me. Thank you for your kind words and I guess since we both have to deal with this I hope to see you again sometime. I pray that your treatment continues to go well without many side effects and please keep writing.

La Cootina said...

Likewise: good wishes and healing vibes back atcha. Thanks. :)