Friday, 5 February 2010

All cares with chemo number 7

Getting out to hospital

It was another hospital day today, a Friday morning appointment that almost had me rushing out of the house and then wondering if I had picked up my hospital card as I saw the tram I am planning to board park at the tram stop just before mine.

I once told my cousin, if you could see the tram moving you have probably missed it, thankfully it was held up, I just about made it and I got to my appointment with a couple of minutes to spare.

As I got to the oncology counter, the young doctor who has seen me 4 times out of the last 5 visits was chatting to the receptionist and he appeared to have a sidekick, he recognised me and said once I was booked in he will be out to get me.

All feelings expressed

In five minutes, he returned to get me and introduced me to the intern, his sidekick, a young lady probably training to be an oncologist. The office had that interesting hierarchical feel I once talked about. The doctor in a swivel chair with arms and a high back rest, the intern on a stool, a type of alertness therapy, I suppose.

We launched into how I was feeling and how I felt after my 6th chemotherapy session, physically, I felt fine, emotionally, well I talked to them about Dick who would have been a patient in their department, they commiserated expressing condolences and we moved on to the topic of the day.

The anti-emetic medicine worked a treat, I told them, I did not once feel any nausea and I hope I could have that drug again. He willingly obliged, the drug is quite new, quite expensive and the prescription is engraved in a rubber stamp – making it easy for the doctor to prescribe without error and with great simplicity – that is marketing for you.

Numbering the footwork

They then had a look at my feet commenting about me wearing winter socks that come up above the knees, well, they were football socks, one does not approach winter carelessly, this winter has been exceptionally cold.

After all the prescriptions were given I tried to combine all my blood tests into the express access to the blood clinic but I was told one of the tests could only be done on either Mondays or Tuesday – crumbs!

I now have 4 more appointments at hospital, the 7th chemotherapy session on Monday, seeing my main consultant the next week on the Wednesday, my last oncologist appointment in three weeks and the 8th chemotherapy session in 4 Mondays.

At the chaplain’s

As usual, on oncology days I call on the hospital chaplain, the Roman Catholic priest who has been so supportive and helpful in his ministry to me. My face was like an open book; he looked at me and surmised I had been through a lot. I bared my soul to him about all the events of the last three weeks as things unravelled and took shape in meetings, conversations, negotiations, commitments and the loss of a friend.

Even more, we talked about my concerns, my deep conflicts and much more, he listened, comforted, advised and encouraged, he was such a blessing, I probably spent an hour with him before he had to attend another appointment.

He assured me that there was much to talk about, the issues covered could not be fully managed in one session of talks, it would appear I would maintain contact with this priest long after I have exhausted my appointments at the hospital – I learnt a great deal, there is much more to learn and understand as one tries to get one’s life back on an even keel.

Teaching a drowning man to swim

It could not be a water baptism but an analogy exists somewhere where he must have fallen into dark murky waters, having not learnt to swim he was drowning and flailing around for help, some froze with fear, others tried to lend a hand and get him out, surely, this is not the time to give swimming instructions – a drowning man is not at the point of learning how to float.

What great practicality comes from pulling the man out of the water first, ensuring he is fine with resuscitation techniques and any other means that ensures he will be well. When he is up to strength, the first lesson learnt is not to fall into murky waters again the further lesson to be taken is probably taking swimming classes.

I do appreciate the ministry of ministers, priests and chaplains, as I unburdened myself, I found succour and comfort, the therapy of talking really does go a long way to helping you resolve many dark areas of life and living.

Monday will be an interesting day.

No comments: