Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chemo: Day 1

Also known as Ass-Kicking Day #1!

Appointment is at 10:00am and I am supposed to put the numbing cream around the port 1 hour before this, so that it has time to numb the site. Jumping in the shower at 9:15 I suddenly remember this fact. AAAAH! So, obviously need to shower fast and hope the first 15 minutes of the appointment are for asking what my birthdate is. By the way, putting this cream on is a funny Christmas letter moment in and of itself. The port site feels weird to touch, so I don't want to put it on myself. (Now, if you ever need this done, I will gladly do it for you...but easier to do on someone else than yourself). I make Keith do it, and he's actually freaking out more than I was. I think this process actually takes 10 times longer than it needed to. Cream must be covered with Saran Wrap and taped down. Keith, again in charge, obvious thinks the area needed a 9 x 13 pan-size length of wrap and lots of athletic tape, so it's pretty comical to look at. Kind of like when we "stitch" up the teenager's wounds with superglue and tape.

We get there on time, and proceed to yet another wing of the cancer care center. Where I get asked all the pertinent questions...BIRTHDATE, name, etc. And I get a fancy plastic ID bracelet (which actually doesn't fit and I could slip off if I wanted to hand this off to someone else). And lots of stickers with my name, id, BIRTHDATE, patient number, etc. on them.

I get my "room," lucky number 16. Comfy chair, TV, window (view of the parking lot...fancy!), chair for guests (which becomes my foot rest). I get weighed and measured, blood pressure, heart rate, all the good stuff. My normally low blood pressure (90/68) is through the roof comparatively speaking (117/80). This is the first time it's been over 100 in my life time. But I'm the only one freaking out by this, so apparently not a worry.

Lots of blood taken for lab work that has to be done first. Then we need to wait for the results. And here's where it gets interesting. THEY HAVE LOST MY CHARTS! Actually, physically, LOST them! Nowhere to be found. Cannot give me the doses without them. You have got to be kidding me! How does this happen? After quite some time is spent stalling and looking for them, I've been told to go waste some time somewhere. Like actually leave and go get a coffee or something. Come back in 45 minutes. Grrrr...

Keep in mind, appointment was at 10am, so I'd be done around 1-1:30pm. It is now 11:10am, and can't even hope to start before noon. So, Keith runs to get gas in the car, and I sit at the cute little coffee bar with my cappuccino and cranberry pound cake and read.

When I get back at noon, they're still looking for my charts! But, about 5 minutes later, the mysterious folder is found. It was so "thin" that it fell behind the cart they're kept on and no one looked on the floor!!!! Deep breath....

By 12:30pm, the labs are back, drugs are dosed, and I'm being hooked up. First up are the pre-meds (anti-nausea maybe? They really need to write all this down for you, because your brain only remembers snipits of details. Like red pee vs bloody pee...that sticks). Then the first drug, "A." This only takes about 15-20 minutes to push. Then some blood draws I think. Then a saline wash. Then the second drug, "C," which takes about 90 minutes. Rumor has it I might be out by 2:45pm or 3:00pm.

Good thing I brought my new sock monkey friend to keep me company. This is a gift from AJ because she wanted me to have the same someone to keep me company every time. And my new pharmacy technician friend stopped by and chatted for a few minutes. And the nurse I had all day was great! 

Notes I made to myself as the day went on:
(1) Ask them to bedazzle my chart so it never gets lost again!
(2) Make the husband go get noise canceling headphones...NOW! You can totally hear the "neighbors" and their conversations. Today I had the conspiracy theorists on my left, and the cute little senior citizen couple blasting The 700 Club (or other such church channel) on the right. And to add to the fun, not only do you have to listen to them check, double check, and triple check the spelling of all your names, your birthdate, and your patient number OUT LOUD, you get to hear them when they do it in the other "rooms" up and down the hall.
(3) Remember to bring hand lotion! They make you wash your hands so much, but don't have lotion on hand. My hands cannot take all the alcohol in this hand sanitizer.
(4) I forgot to wear the great grippy socks a friend got me. The floors are slippery and you don't want to keep slipping your shoes on/off when you go to the bathroom. Must get more pairs too!
(5) Must bring a warmer blanket next time. I brought a coat, and a nice shawl, but next time, I'm bringing the FUZZY brown blanket sent to me by a friend living in Idaho. One that will cover all of me.
(6) Must also bring my own Kleenex. I am not kidding when I say that the hospital tissues in this place are DENSE and one step above low-grade sandpaper. The toilet paper was softer, and that's not saying much.
(7) Find some sort of leash/sensor system for my "sippy" cups. I'm sure they have fancier names when them come from Starbucks/Keurig, but I still call them sippy cups. I keep leaving them everywhere at these appointments and it usually involves Keith running back in to find them.

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