Normally, Friday would be a day of relaxation and family dinner (outside the house, I mean). Instead, I am getting ready to eat a sumptuous dinner of salad, tossed salad, grilled chicken salad, and sugar-free orange sherbet, specially cooked (I meant, specially microwaved and / or right out of the industrial sized refrigerator)...
This is all done for the "GOOD OF ME" -- so that my sugar levels are "well maintained". I am 48 years old, fairly knowledgeable about various meds -- it is the "Predinosoles (steroids)" that is given before the chemo that swings the sugar levels.
I tried telling this to one of the well-dressed "Ambassadors" (as they are called) once, and I got a nice commentary on how they "preserve" the food fresh for the patients and guests !
Today began two times for me -- one, right after 2 minutes from midnight (for blood work) and another at 4am for "vital signs" -- if I am talking, walking, seeing, breathing, drinking a sip of water -- aren't these enough to determine my vital signs are active and working...do they have to pump up my cuff to determine the pressure...
From 4am to 10am -- it was the "patience test" -- first, I tried to beat the breakfast line and order mine first, thinking it would be "extra fresh" -- no, the lines were jammed to the point I had to wait 15 minutes for my turn. Talk about a lesson in patience at 4 am. How about we send our children to such a class ? Wouldn't the world be a better place ?
Next line, freshen up and wait for the "Gods" (oh, I meant, Docs) to make their rounds...it is not one doc, it is a team of 10 doctors and soon to be doctors, pharmacy techs included.
The doctor goes like this : "How do you feel today ?" Me: I feel good, a little tired; otherwise doing well;
In my line of work, accountability goes both ways. So, I didn't miss my chance here : Me to the Doc: "How do I look and feel from your perspective? Am I on track for recovery?"
He politely turns to the Resident and gestures him to answer. He is the only one who came prepared to share my blood count numbers; so he reels off the numbers. I go "What do those numbers mean to me? Good, Bad, Terrible ?"
Silence..with a shoulder shrug...
Except the Resident, no one else talked or took notes, no questions after the main GOD left...is this called "learning on the job". Suddenly, patience turned to silence...what an awesome phenomenon.
Skipped lunch in favor of a quick nap, as I knew I would be woken up at 2pm for "pre-chemo"
meds. And promptly at 3pm the "blue chemo" drug began dripping from my former girl friend. For a moment I thought why is she crying blue ?
30 minutes later it was clear tears dripping; then the light blue tears.
The nurse then warns me -- your urinal might look 'aqua green"..great and important observation!
This one for my post chemo memory !
It is 7:25pm -- ordered dinner around 6:10pm....let me eat before the plastic spoon melts in the heat !
The most important lessons I learned today are -- patience, accountability. No matter who you are or what high (or low) position you hold, being accountable is fundamental.
On a final note, having stayed at this Cancer center last year, I picked up on an unique culture -- every one who works for IU Simon Cancer Center, when they complete their service or delivery or seeing a patient, all of them, without regard for their own position or time, will ask this question, in the most sincere way : "Is there anything else I can do for you today ?"
This culture has engrained a new and sincere practice in me, and that is -- "Thank you so much"...
With those words, I am signing off on this beautiful Friday. I hope to be enjoying warm and sunny Fridays very shortly.
Cheers for a good weekend !