Musings from the Chemo Chair

Musings from the Chemo Chair

It is Monday. Every other Monday finds me sitting in the chemo chair. Today is that day.

Observations from the Cancer Center

When you walk into my clinic, you are greeted by this huge Chihuly piece. When I first started coming here, I posted a picture of it on Facebook. I thought it was as ugly as could be. I was thoroughly reprimanded by those in the know. Until then, I had never heard of Chihuly.

When I first saw the piece, I thought it was depicting a gigantic malignant tumor with tentacles going everywhere. After all, it IS at a cancer clinic! What's your opinion about the piece? What do you see? Funny! There are new visitors here today discussing the piece just as I started writing about it. I am getting a kick out of hearing them trying to figure it out. One thinks it looks like a spider web.

A Busy Clinic

It is busy here. As always. Does anyone else find it sad that the cancer clinics are getting busier and busier? There is a flip side to that thought, though. There are lots of us who are outliving our prognoses ... so many of us are still filling chairs at the clinic. Hmmm, maybe it isn't a completely bad thing that the clinic is so full, right?

It is so loud here today. Both waiting rooms are packed with people so there are numerous conversations taking place. I am on sound overload. I tried to listen to some music using my earphones, but adding that to the rest of the noise nearly sent me over the edge.

As I said, I come to the clinic every two weeks. I find it a little strange that I rarely see the same people. Am I the only one on a 2-week rotation?

Have you ever wondered how the nurses, aides, and doctors keep their spirits up? I would think that working at a cancer clinic would be unbelievably difficult. I have a friend who tries to bring the staff little treats every time he comes for an infusion. I wish I was as thoughtful. He said he does it because he appreciates staff so much. Gosh, I do, too, but I just don't think to bring them anything. Maybe next time.

It must be flu season. Every patient is being asked to wear a mask. My glasses fog up! Ugh! Worse, I feel like I can't breathe as well and my nose itches!

When I first started coming to this clinic, every person receiving chemo was put into a private room. I loved the privacy. Now, due to staff and space constraints, we have the big room where many of us have to go for treatments. It seems impersonal to me.

Do you get your treatments in a big community room? Do you like it? I know some really enjoy visiting, but I like to use infusion time as quiet time, me time.

What Is Your Appointment Routine?

While I am in the community room, I am all alone in here. I don't know where all of the folks in the waiting rooms are going. No one else has to have a treatment today? Odd.

An empty infusion center

Do you sleep while you get your treatments? I don't sleep. I like to play on my phone or tablet or read a magazine. Of course, my time in the infusion room is usually no more than 2 hours (an hour for the pharmacy to fill the order for Opdivo and an hour to infuse). When I was getting chemo, it took far longer to get treatments.

Do you go to your appointments by yourself or do friends or family members accompany you? For the first six or eight months after I was diagnosed my mom and husband went to every appointment with me. When I moved to a different clinic, my mom quit coming along, but my husband continued to accompany me. About a year and a half ago, my husband quit coming with me most of the time. He was recuperating from quadruple bypass surgery (getting older is not for sissies!). He fell out of the habit of going and I discovered I don't mind coming alone. Anyway, when I have to get my infusion in the community room, there are not many places for him to sit comfortably. Besides, if he isn't here, I don't worry about him being bored or uncomfortable.

Well, it turned out my drug was infused over 30 minutes this time instead of an hour. I guess they just changed the protocol. I was lucky today. It only took Pharmacy about 15 minutes to fill the order and then it only took 30 minutes to infuse!

WhooHoo!!! I still have a lot of day left that can be spent somewhere besides the cancer clinic! Thanks for journeying along and keeping me company today!

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