Monday 28 December 2009

Pleading the 5th chemotherapy

Goodbyes without tears

I went for my fifth chemotherapy session this afternoon; it was a bit emotional because my guest, a friend of over 25 years who had visited to spend Christmas with me was also leaving.

His flight arrangements were such that he could not accompany me to hospital as he had done on Christmas Eve, we had to part ways to the tram stop and go in different directions.

I would dearly miss the company as I return home this evening from the library, but my heart is full of thanks for the visit, the company, the gifts and much more.

My tea time, again

Since the bus routes have changed, getting to the hospital is no more as easy as it once was, my walk was a bit brisk and slightly halting but I got to the oncology/chemotherapy room, just in time after getting some chocolates to share with the staff and visitors.

There was just one available place for me to settle into, so put my coat in the cupboard and settled down to my cup of tea – I always prepare my Smoky Earl Grey tea in a flask to take when on chemotherapy.

Two of the faces were familiar from earlier sessions but I had never met the others, the man to my left was being infused with different parcels of fluids, the red ones, I later found out to be blood.

Aging with laughter

Anytime a patient is to receive an infusion, the nurse cross-checks the date of birth with what is on the parcel, our man was 87, quite active, quite spritely and with a quick wit.

It was not long before one of the nurses named Nicolette ended up in joke with Nicorette, the anti-smoking patch, that drew laughter even from me who generally cannot follow Dutch jokes.

This time, I took my infusion through my right wrist; I could later pour tea with my left hand but could never get to unscrew the top of the milk bottle, I had to call the nurse for help.

We had some banter about Christmas and how she spent it, but earlier she expressed delight in seeing I was without crutches, walking almost completely normally and without me special shoes.

Now for sleep

Most of the patients had left before my session was over and when the young man of 87 was leaving, he said goodbye and as I tried to reply, the nurse said I was English and in almost perfect English, he bid me farewell and hoped we would meet again.

Within 75 minutes, it was all over, I tried to catch a nap to no avail, instead of going straight home, I took the tram to the library having walked through the park in front of the hospital seeing a national monument to slavery that I had never before properly observed.

My next visit is in 3 Fridays to see the oncologist and the sixth chemotherapy session is slated for 18th of January, nothing that eventful happened and really now, I just want to get some sleep.

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