On my first day, I received a call from the Chemo clinic telling me that my “port insertion” would be that Friday. (more on that later). Then later in the afternoon, they called and said that my first chemo treatment had been moved up and it would be the following day. I asked the Missus (former nurse) if that would be a shot or what? She said….”Stick”. I asked, “whats the difference?” She went into the medical explanation and after listening to her for all of five seconds, I said…”So each has a needle, it just depends on whats on the other side of that needle. If its a syringe, then its a shot. If its an IV tube, then its a stick.” In return, I got the look I’ve been getting for 25+ years of marriage that basically meant….”you are partially right…you have boiled down something quickly to suit your needs and I will say OK just to get you to be quiet.” (I feel that I have perfected this maneuver over the years saving time and energy and, based on her silence, telling myself that I am correct in all that I think. Its the little things you cling to.)
So she summed it up by saying…..”Jack Daniels”.
Now for anyone that has been married over time, you know that you can get your point across with small, simple phrases that only you and your spouse know. In this case, it goes back to a social gathering we had at our house awhile back and the discussion came up over the difference between bourbon and whiskey (and why people drink whiskey and rye singing this will be the day that I die…but that’s another discussion). Basically, all bourbons are whiskeys but not all whiskeys are bourbons.
So in this case, when you get stuck by a needle…..all shots are “sticks” but not all sticks are shots.
As soon as she made that reference, I got it.
SEE? Educational and entertaining!
Soooo…after radiation treatment that morning you arrive at the “Infusion Center”. So I’m all fat, dumb and happy thinking that its a quick shot…stick…and then I’ll be on my way. But noooooo….
They plant you in a recliner and go over the procedure. First, you get blood drawn. Every week. They run your blood thru all sorts of tests. I can tell you the levels of my sodium, calcium, glucose, platelet count. I have no idea what they mean but I can tell you what they are.
Then they “stick” you with a big needle and you get an IV of saline. It seems chemo dehydrates you so they start of with a bag of saline. For anyone that has had an IV, its not exactly a quick experience. It takes about an hour to go through one bag.
After that, you get a bag of anti-nausea drugs. Again, it takes awhile. Then you get the bag of chemo. It is basically poison that kills everything in your body. It doesn’t discriminate. After that, you get another bag of saline. Now for anyone keeping score, that is four bags….yessir yessir….four bags full. And the whole time, I’m sitting in a recliner with no TV and only my phone reading emails (30 min), reading twitter (30 min) and texting anyone I can think of so keep from going bonkers. Also, as you can imagine, with all that fluid going in, its gotta go out, So you unplug the monitor and you and your IV pole wander down the hallway to the restroom. I felt like the astronauts in “The Right Stuff”, and I was doing this alot. I told one guy I felt like I was at a bar….(not that I have ever been to one…I’m just imagining.)
So as you are finishing up, they come in and tell you about ALL the potential side effects…and there are alot of them. Basically the big one is nausea. They prescribed me three different anti-nausea medications. Now remember, I am only getting chemo once a week. They tell me the following two days, the chemo will still be in my body and they are the worst times for nausea. And as everyone that knows me can imagine, I immediately think to myself….”well I’m sure they are bad for your wimpy patients but not for me!” yeah, right.
AFTERMATH….after struggling to go to sleep and finally dropping off around midnight…woke up at 2AM with what felt like the worst case of heartburn I have ever felt. By 3AM, still awake and still hurting. Finally conceded my mortal-ness and took a anti-nausea pill. 4AM….I’ll spare everyone the details but the full force of nausea hit. Not pretty.
Never did get to go back to sleep but in my misery the next day, all I could think about was that I only have to receive this once a week…what about those poor souls that have to get it multiple times? Sheesh.
I’ll go for now. They just announced that a free dinner is being served. Whoo-woo
Next I’ll share stories from the Nutritionist and the throat coach. (wait, what?)