Am I The Only Cancer Patient In A Hurry?

January 31, 2011 at 1:57 PM (Energy, Funny, Karma, Real Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

WARNING: The following blog post contains a fair amount of selfish kvetching.

Last Friday morning, I had a CT scan scheduled for 12:00, which meant I needed to arrive for my delicious contrast (don’t forget to ask for Gastrografin in Crystal Light instead of the thick banana shake!) at 11:00. Now, as frequent readers will surely recognize, this runs into my inviolate naptime of 12:00, which allows me to get up at 2:35, get a parking place in the pickup line, and get my kids when they’re sprung at 3:00.

In the spirit of taking the bull by the horns, I left home at 9:45, which would normally get me to The Cancer Factory by 10:30 – nice and early, in hopes of pushing the whole process forward a little and getting me home for some vestige of my dear, sweet slumber. (It didn’t help that the cat was snoring peacefully under her paw and the furry nap blanket when I left.) Unfortunately, the universe had other plans.

Traffic was a nightmare. Pursuant to our drubbing of snow in the recent weeks, there is nowhere to put it, any of it. Thus people pulling off the interstate were unable to find parking places, meaning surface streets were jammed. As a result, the interstate was jammed, too. FOR EIGHTEEN MILES. So my quick little jaunt in town got me to the radiology department promptly five minutes late for my 11:00 appt. Thus I started my contrast drink at 11:15, and didn’t get my scan until 12:30.

While I sat and sat and sat and sat waiting for my scan, I couldn’t help but notice that not only did everyone else in the waiting room have a friend with them, but they were all placid and peaceful and walking slowly. I, on the other hand, was tapping my foot, looking impatiently down the hall, and checking the time repeatedly (why? So someone would notice and move me up the list? Bitch).

I was starving (and fuming about how I wouldn’t get home until 1:30) by the time I left, but as they’ve recently opened the new treatment building here at TCF, the cafeteria had moved there and it was too far to go for food; I’d have to wait until I got home.

And the people in front of me as I was leaving the building were walking too slowly. And the nice attendant who showed me how to use the new parking pay-station was helpful but clearly not going anywhere. Neither were the parking attendants who made me park FIVE floors underground, even though there were plenty of empty spaces above that. Neither were all the twits who were obviously out for a lunchtime scenic drive as I was trying to get back to the highway.

I know that most cancer patients tend to be older people, often retired, and that they have nothing to do that day but their appointments and possibly some liver ‘n’ onions at the Early Bird Special. I know that cancer patients, whatever their age, are worn-down and tired beyond comprehension. I know it’s uncommon to be a five-year cancer warrior who has to pick up her elementary school kids but sneak home for a nap first. I know that I’ve had a bit of a speed-demon issue (stop laughing) since I first learned how to drive. But seriously, I don’t have time to waste in traffic anymore! I can’t shuffle slowly into the elevator and whistle cheerfully while it hits every. floor. on. the. way. down. My life is SHORT, people, and I think I oughta get a special sticker or a dome light or something, at least a special parking place, to indicate that while I am a cancer patient, I’m also BUSY, and way too cute to be stuck in this hospital any longer.

At least I had a good excuse all lined up for the statie who never pulled me over: CT contrast creates a vigorous urge to be near your home plumbing. NOW.

****************************************************************************

Oh, the scan results? STABLE DISEASE. A little fluid around my left lung, but only 10% tumor growth since 12/15. I’ll see a thoracic surgeon in the next 10 days Thursday to see about tapping the fluid, but it appears that the drug is doing SOMETHING. I’ll take it.

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Private Parts

December 17, 2010 at 11:43 AM (Funny) (, , , , , , , , )

As I was mentally preparing myself this morning for today’s stent insertion (which included a fair amount of leg-shaving and heel-moisturizing), I was struck by the irony of my repeated exposure to complete strangers.

I’ve always been a fairly (all right, extremely) physically shy person. Not that I won’t hang out in a bathing suit (tanning is more important than modesty), but for the most part, changing in locker rooms, getting nekkid for physicals, etc. have never been something I’m comfortable with. I’m definitely not the lady who leaps dripping out of the shower after her workout, toweling her hair and launching into conversation with her friend at the makeup counter, for instance.

So I can’t help but chuckle/wince/shudder at the amount of time I’ve spent completely bare in front of complete strangers over the last few years. It started with childbirth, certainly, but at least the L/D nurses closed the door of the bathroom while they helped me change after the process was over. I remember being prepped for my first surgery in 2006, feet in stirrups, gown at waist, while OR nurses, medical residents (some of them really cute guys) and assorted personnel kept coming into the room and introducing themselves to me. I finally said, “Is it just me, or is it a little drafty in here?” They got the point and grabbed a blanket.

But once you’ve been cut open from stem to sternum, there’s just no privacy any more. After my last big surgery in 2007, I remember the (delightful, sensitive, thoughtfuln’t) surgical residents popping into my room at 5:30 AM for rounds, cracking on the overhead klieg lights, ripping off my blankets and having a look-see at my incision before I had even opened my eyes. (I did NOT bake cookies for the surgical residents.)

And today, a cute man I’ve met with for approximately twenty minutes will be inserting a stent…well, you know…while I’m unconscious and naked from the waist down. Just another one of those things I have to let go…

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Random Realizations

November 9, 2010 at 1:09 PM (Funny, Help, Real Life) (, , , , , , , , , )

With the exception of catching a cold, it’s been a fantastic week. Fun things to do, plenty of excitement and opportunities to wear high heels. And along with my trend of expanding wisdom with increasing age, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve discovered over the past seven days. Maybe some of them will be helpful.

  1. Birthdays are awesome, especially when your kids make you cards.
  2. With chocolate inside.
  3. It is possible to survive a week without diet Coke.
  4. When staying in a chic hotel with exciting on-site nightlife, you have to expect drunken hotel guests.
  5. Who are incapable of moderating their voices in quiet hallways.
  6. At 1:25, 1:54, 2:17 and 3:20 am.
  7. While lying awake silently cursing rude hotel guests, it is possible to forget all semblance of manners or empathy or respect for human life.
  8. Children get tired-and-cranky exponentially faster when playing at other children’s houses.
  9. A good playdate can last for eighteen hours, but requires devoted host parents. (XOXO)
  10. The best possible time to run into people from your past, say, college, is when you are decked to the nines in an expensive dress, killer shoes, hip jewels, and freshly-straightened hair and out for a date with your cutie-patootie hubs at The Four Seasons.
  11. No matter where you order it, shellfish-over-pasta is just shellfish-over-pasta. Lesson learned.
  12. However, it is possible to do some very exciting things the next morning with french toast.
  13. It is possible to still have things to talk with one’s husband about for nearly a whole day, even after seventeen years.
  14. Chic young things at swanky, hip bars in boutique hotels spend too much time on their cell phones texting people who are elsewhere and not enough time enjoying their surroundings.
  15. Although they seem to enjoy their fifteen-dollar vodka-and-tonics plenty.
  16. Thirty-nine and cancer-ridden means that four cocktails over the course of an evening, even with food, will result in a hangover.
  17. Irrespective of the quantity of water consumed during the same evening.
  18. Hangovers are quickly dispatched while lying in a pouffy hotel bed watching TV and eating salt-water taffy for breakfast.
  19. Coughing at night is more annoying than drunken hotel guests outside your room.
  20. Divorce can be avoided by sending the coughing party (me) to sleep in the guest room.
  21. All drivers who are not me are complete and utter morons.
  22. Especially when I’m running late.

I hope I have enlightened you with some of my new old-woman wisdom. I’m home from chemo and off for my daily kip. If you need me, I’ll be in my office.

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More Funny Stuff I Didn’t Write

May 6, 2010 at 4:37 PM (Funny)

I got this list in an email the other night. With apologies to its original author, whose identity I don’t know, I have to repost it – sage advice clothed in sarcasm? Right up my alley. Enjoy!

Truths For Mature Humans

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger. [Ed. Totally!]

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. [Ed. And I’m on it. Can you think of a creator more qualified? Stay tuned.]

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired. [Ed. Boo-yah.]

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save changes to my ten-page technical report fourteen-page creative-writing ode that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this – ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite shiraz than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option. [Ed. Seriously! Esp. in Hartford.]

21. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text apply lipstick.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber and dumber [looking] every year?

29. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

31. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

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