Thursday, March 18, 2010


I went for labs yesterday morning. I'm almost equidistant from the downtown hospital and the suburban satellite clinic. I try to do ecerything except transfusions at the suburban clinic, not because of the distance, but the time/traffic/hassle of shlepping downtown, plus having to pay for parking. I can't believe that after paying thousands of dollars for chemo, transfusions, or whatever, they ding the patient for parking!

Anyhoo, it's not a long drive, and it's on a major thoroughfare, so I can usually get to the suburban clinic in 10-12 minutes. On the way there, and on the way back, I passed major, multi-car, ambulance-requiring accidents. Coincidentally, they were both in the opposite direction, so I wasn't caught in the ensuing traffic snarls, but it was frightening, even as a passer-by. And a reminder that we're all a second or two away from tragedy caused by a texting moron, a chattering bimbo, a distracted dingbat.

Although I was "borderline" I decided to get a transfusion today, and another dose of Aranesp. The transfusatorium was mobbed and I couldn't get an appointment until 1pm. If all the planets lined up, the whole thing should take about 3.5 hours, getting me out of there just before rush hour proper. For the first time in all my many visits... there were kiddies in there. Not one, but two. Not as patients, but stuck with accompanying visitors.

Honestly, one of my perpetual rants is against people who seem to think that hiring a sitter is some kind of child abuse. Either they're too cheap, or too lazy, or incapable of separating from their child for a few hours. Whatever; the people who drag their kids everywhere just set my teeth on edge and make me sit on my hands to resist dope-slapping them. And of all the annoying, inappropriate places these copter moms drag their poor kids to, this has GOT to be the most ridiculous. Why would you drag your otherwise healthy kid to a germ- and vermin-ridden hospital, and force them to sit for several hours, to the annoyance of scores of SICK people?

The four year old little girl, bless her heart, was good as gold. Her hair was in the Little Black Girl 'do, with a dozen little braids springing from her head. But some genius put bands with square plastic bobbles at the base of each braid. I couldn't imagine trying to lay back and sleep with a head full of those things. I was also freaked out that her great-gran (who was probably about my age!) had three-inch fingernails. I know I'll have nightmares about those. Anyways, between the television and a hand-held video game, she stayed quiet and amused through her mom's afternoon-long ordeal.

The one that really got me was the little boy, maybe a year old. I didn't see who his mom was accompanying - a husband, sister, friend? Doesn't matter. I can't come up with any reasonable excuse for shlepping that baby to the hospital. He was a new walker, and just wanted OUT of that goddamned stroller. And every time I dropped to sleep, he let out a shriek.

Of course, my fun wasn't over. I should have beaten rush hour by several seconds, but I got in a traffic mega-snarl. (Thank goddess I'd made a pit stop before leaving the hospital.) More than fifteen minutes to go a single block; no way out! The reason, I finally discovered was that some rookie genius pulled a car over on a major thoroughfare. He did not have the sense to direct this car around the corner for ticket-writing, and instead backed up traffic for miles and miles. When I finally finally finally got out of there, it really was rush hour. Not the end of the world, but a 35-minute stressfest instead of a 20-minute cruise.

When I finally got home, I laid down on the sofa and didn't move for three hours. I think it may be time for me to stop driving.


tim's wife said...

Not only are these parents bringing their kids to a petri dish of bacteria but I think it's unfair to bring kids to a place where people have compromised immune systems. Kids get live vaccines, are at risk for and can be carrying all sorts of childhood illnesses that can spell big trouble for cancer patients/people who are already ill. We never bring our daughter to the doc's office or cancer center and a big part of that is out of respect for other patients. I am definitely with ya on this.

Sandy said...

Totally agree with tim's wife... it's a lose-lose situation for both groups. Why don't the hospitals offer some kind of "parking care" for the kiddos? Most people shouldn't be visiting for longer than 20 minutes anyhow!
My deepest sympathies, MIss Cranky-pants, that anyone would put a twist in your knickers because you certainly don't deserve it... didn't order it and don't want it... ranks right up there with the idjit rookie - bet he'll get a diversion task next week!!!

Karen said...

Hmm. Well. Just to offer another point of view: I take my daughter with me to my checkups all the time. She's four. I was diagnosed with myeloma when she was six months old, so this whole cancer thing is just a normal part of her life. (I never take her to the big ones at Mayo, and I never take her if I need to discuss something serious with the doc. I've never had chemo, so I'm sure I'd never take her to a chemo appointment, or if she'd even be allowed) I think it's really important that she sees that my doctor's office is a normal, friendly place, not someplace "scary" that Mommy disappears to. I want her to know that my doctor is a nice man who is helping me out. He loves having her there and brings her juice and granola bars. She's also watched me have blood drawn, to see that it's just a normal, fairly painless thing that I have to do. Nobody has ever complained to me. In fact, she seems to cheer up the old folks in the waiting room.

La Cootina said...

Karen, I have no problem with kids in the waiting room. (I wouldn't do it, but as long as your kid isn't sick, it's not an issue.) I'm talking about a place that is exclusively used for chemo and transfusions. If only out of consideration for the other patients, I think it's thoughtless to drag toddlers there, but I think its a bad idea in general to bring kids to a hospital and expose them to all that crap if they're not the patient.

Beth said...

Now I'm stuck on the notion that parking for cancer patients should be free. I'm going to see if I can get a bill introduced that will give subsidies for parking to us all!

Seriously though, when I first got my diagnosis, I thought it was so weird that the doctor told me I have cancer, said some other stuff and then sent me out to pay my bill. It sort of seems like that one should have been on him.