Warning: A long post, but a much happier one.
Linda is our host for JusJoJan. For today’s June 18th prompt, John has provided the prompt of complaint for us today.
Wednesday I had my appointment for my second chemotherapy infusion. Traveling to Pasadena can take 40 minutes to 2+ hours depending on traffic. I was supposed to arrive by 8:10 for an 8:20 appointment. We left at 7 AM. My spouse woke me so I could get dressed while he prepped for our journey. Because I knew better what to pack this time, my bag was ready to go. Unfortunately, the traffic gods were not on our side. There was a terrible accident on the i210. We had planned on going to get a freshly made, right out of the oven bagel, at Goldstein’s before my appointment. There was no reason to complain about the traffic. Everyone in California knows the freeway overlords are in control of our routes. They randomly decide if drivers will make it to their appointments on time. Skipping the bagels would allow us to get to my appointment on time.
My spouse dropped me off and then traveled to get himself a bagel dog. He made no complaints when I requested, he didn’t come this time. He has a cold, and it made no sense for him to expose others. He even joined me in wearing a mask in the car on our drive.
Moments after checking in at the front desk I was taken back for vitals by my oncologist’s nurse. She is amazing. Never have I felt so cared about by a medical professional. She was surprised that I made it to the appointment on time. She had heard about the bad accident on the i210 and expected me to be late. It’s terrific when people understand there are some things that you have no control over.
We discussed my current pain levels. I informed her that I was currently taking no pain meds at all. My tailbone is currently a 3 or 4 on the pain scale. We discussed why I shaved my head. I told her I was tired of finding my wayward hair on the couch, on the bed, on my clothes, and all over the floor. (Just as I never complain about cleaning up Annie’s hair, I shouldn’t complain about picking up mine. But mine annoyed me.) The nurse is a cancer survivor. I openly talked about the pain I was feeling on my scalp every time I laid my head on any surface. She had also suffered the same discomfort. Each of us had the same experience that once we shaved our heads, the skull pain ceased. We discussed head coverings and the site where I purchased a few. She had used the same site. She was very encouraging about my improvement since my last visit. It was great to hear.
My oncologist came in right after the nurse departed. I was pleasantly surprised at her early starting hours. We discussed every question I had listed on my phone as well as the new protocols for the coming treatment. She informed me of which nausea med to start with and why. We talked about the head pain and lack of scalp sensitivity. As usual, I felt heard. I talked about the spasms I had last time. We are both hoping this time, I won’t be in the 8’s and 9’s. I told her about my acupuncture/chiropractic appointment I went to on Monday. I was grateful for her openness about my tribe member. She stated that even though there was no empirical evidence for acupuncture, she had patients that felt it helped them a great deal. I told her that even if I only had a 40% decrease in pain due to the placebo effect, I’d take it. She wanted to know if I felt the need to have a follow up visit post my infusion this time. I was confident that I did not need one. She agreed but said I could call anytime and come in as needed. After our lengthy discussion, she walked me over to the infusion department. I have zero complaints about each interaction I have had with my oncologist.
Much to my surprise, the infusion lab nurse had a terrible cold. She stated the obvious, before explaining that she followed all medical protocols with protective gear. I won’t say I was totally comfortable with her being ill, but if the hospital is OK, I guess I should be.
The nurse clarified all the possible side effects of the meds I would receive before the infusion. She explained that she will do this before every treatment. To be honest, I do not recall her stating this on the last visit. I was so focused on the possible side effects of the chemo; I didn’t recall anything about the other meds. I was also in a great deal of pain last time.
We began with her giving me a pain shot in my arm to help with my tailbone . The doctor had informed me that because I would be sitting in the chair for hours, I needed help with the pain that would be caused. Then came one, two, three different pre-chemo meds. As soon as she started the Benadryl, I began to feel loopy. I could feel the medicine traveling through my veins. The nurse and I were having an ongoing conversation through all of this. Once the Benadryl was in my system, I told the nurse I was very loopy. She told me she was aware of that.
My nurse asked if I had eaten something light before the treatment. I explained the traffic issue prohibited my doing so. She was aware of the i210 traffic jam. I told her I had graham crackers in my bag, but I sure would like a Chick-fil-A breakfast sandwich. She wondered why my spouse had not come in with me. I told her about his cold. She said I should call him and have him bring me my Chick-fil-A. Instead of doing so, I sank back in the chair, got as comfortable as I could, and drifted off. Shortly after that, two nurses came in to administer the chemo drugs. The proper protocol when the chemo is injected is to have two nurses present. Once they departed, I feel back asleep for a few hours. There had been nurses in and out while I dozed. I could tell because things had arrived that weren’t there before.
When I awoke again, I decided to listen to my Audible book on the biography of Robin Williams. I was sure I was capable of comprehending the material. I decided to call my spouse to request my chicken on a biscuit. I also asked him to bring up my neck pillow that he thought I might need, from his car. When he arrived, I was ravenous for something other than graham crackers. (Note to self, bring something more to munch on.) I will bring some organic baby carrots and celery sticks next time. The small peppermint dark chocolate I brought would have to wait until after I ate something real.
My spouse arrived with food which made my brain clear up immediately. The nurse came in and changed the med bag once again. She was happy to see me eating something I wanted. Her statement went something like, you should eat anything that appeals to you right now. Of course, she then added, within reason. I chuckled at that. I warned my spouse that I was traveling through states of awake and asleep quite often. He was fine with it. He played solitaire as I repeatedly drifted off and then snored myself awake. I’m sure glad no one was filming me.
My day was long, but I felt very hopeful. To get as comfortable as I could, I laid in the backseat on the drive home. My spouse took streets instead of the freeway for most of the drive. I drifted off again several times. Each time I woke up, I asked where we were. I was convinced I had been asleep for hours and hours. We made it home around five-thirty.
As soon as we got home, I made myself some soup and toast. I decided against split pea just in case I start vomiting tomorrow. That is not something you want to see coming back up. (Even though I never saw the Exorcist movie, I did unfortunately see that scene.) I forced myself to stay awake after eating dinner. I was worried about not sleeping at night. I wrapped up the gifts for Z3’s birthday tomorrow. My spouse will deliver them after school. I can’t make the four hour round trip with the shape my tailbone is still in. I am confidant that there will be less trauma to my body this time. I am doing my best to deal with all I need to do win this battle.
I have plans for my future.