Monday, December 9, 2013

The Beginning of the Scans...And the Waiting...

There hasn't been a lot of news to share recently. I survived the food fest that was Vegas at Thanksgiving. I'll have to do a post showing all the pictures of all the yummy food and fun we had. It was a MUCH NEEDED and relaxing vacation with the family.

I still have to finish my "I'm so Thankful for..." posts. November ended before I could finish, and then I promptly forgot that I had many more gratitude posts to write (chemo brain!).

Today, however, marked the first "post-treatment" scan. 

Now, before you get too excited for news, you should know better. It's all about "hurry up and wait" as the follow-up appointment to discuss the results isn't until the end of the week. Awesome scheduling on their part. Whatever. 

And, as I discovered today, it's HIGHLY likely that today's scan was NOT scanning the parts with cancer, but every other part of my body that lit up on previous scans (pre- and mid-treatment) to see what's going on with my lungs, liver, kidneys. The technician was pretty convinced that chest and armpits would not be seen in the scan. UGH! Guess we'll be having that discussion with the doctor. I kinda thought today was a full-body, see everything you can, scan. Guess not. Did I already say UGH?!

But, lest you think I've lost my sense of humor, let me tell you about my day anyway.

I arrive at 9:15am for an 11:00am MRI. This is because the doctor has requested that I get a blood draw before the MRI, and so that the anesthesiologist has time to get all the IVs hooked up. (Yes, I finally discovered that I would not have to remember my trip through the scary tube of death...I could be completely under while it was happening. Thank you insurance company for paying for today's adventure!). In the reminder phone call, the doctor's office says, "just pop on by before your MRI for a blood draw." To me, that means pop on in when you get here and we'll draw your blood in a hurry and get you on your way. HA! What was I thinking? I should have known better! I've been dealing with these people for over a year and they are NEVER speedy...or on time. I was spoiled by the on-time percentage for radiation and forgot what a cluster the rest of the place was, especially on a Monday. So, after waiting 10 minutes just to CHECK IN, it's a 30 minute wait for the blood draw, which makes the MRI people really happy, by the way. I consider wandering the hallways of the hospital looking for anyone that could draw the blood for me. Keith even considers doing it at one point (and he probably could have after watching it done so many times). Four vials of blood and 40 minutes later, I'm on my way to check in for the MRI.

And this is where the day gets kind of interesting. And still has me considering writing a letter of complaint to the hospital. Now, I normally get awesome and friendly service from everyone not associated with a billing department. I only complain about time delays, I don't really hold it against them because everyone is still so pleasant. However, today was definitely an exception.

So, I check in for the MRI and am waited on by the RUDEST. GUY. EVER. Seriously. If he was my child, I would've smacked him. He's rude to me, he's rude to his coworkers (which actually pissed me off more)...he has me saying snarky things under my breath because I know he will not appreciate my humor today. And it just might make the situation worse (see, I am able to keep the humor in check when the situation necessitates it). I'm trying really hard to chalk it up to a bad morning on his part...maybe he just found out they're laying him off...I don't know. But then I realize that it's not just him. The MRI technician is rude to the anesthesiologist, the anesthesiologist and the nurses do a very poor job of communicating nicely to each other. All of this anger right in front of me, before a procedure I'm a little terrified of. Did the hospital just cut everyone's salary? WTH was going on there this morning?

Angry energy aside, there were some entertaining parts:
I was asked no less than 26 times today about my port and where it was placed and what kind it was. Which was removed in June. Which I've mentioned each and every time I've been in the hospital for a procedure since then and been asked the same question. Which everyone claims they will "update in my records." No, you may not administer drugs and/or do blood draws through the port...IT DOESN'T EXIST. How tough is this?!

The anesthesiologist could probably have given Hans and Franz a run for their money. He must have his scrubs custom made. Biggest muscles I've seen in a long time on someone not The Rock.

Said anesthesiologist kept forgetting what required questions he had already asked me (allergies, etc.) and was repeating himself a lot. Does not really inspire confidence in someone in charge of making sure I come out of this alive.

I am wheeled all the way down to the MRI "station" and only then is it discovered that no one has the drugs I'm supposed to get. And they all look at each other like they can't figure out who's supposed to be in charge of this. Again, really inspiring confidence.

A couple of positive takeaways from the day:
Hans/Franz did the IV himself. And he was good at it. And he thought to bring pediatric IV needles, and recommended that is what should have always been used on me. Thank you for this tidbit! Will be asking for these from now on!

Keith and I were sitting outside the oncologist's office (in the lounge area...anyone who drove me to radiation will know where I'm talking about) waiting for the blood draw. (All the seats inside the office were taken). At the table next to us was an older gentleman who had purchased a vitamin water and was waiting for his turn to be called also. I have my back to him, but Keith is watching him struggle to open the bottle. And Keith knows this because it is the same look and struggle that I have opening these bottles (damn, do they superglue the lids on these things?!). And chemo kills any hand or joint strength you might ever hope to have, so he knows that this guy is never going to open it. So he stands up, walks over to him, and asks if he can open the water for him. And the guy is so appreciative (because he's probably desperately thirsty like I am). I loved the whole interaction. Hubby was being nice to someone, not just me. I realized that I wasn't the only one in this situation. And this gentleman accepted the help (which could have seemed offensive or intrusive). Lesson to us all: offer help if you can give it. Accept it if you need it!

Stay tuned for news and results...will update when/if I find out anything!

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