23 Feb 2011 – first chemo session

Went well, eventually…

I arrived as instructed at 8:15 for OP registration, to discover that IV Therapy didn’t have me on the schedule. Somehow, between Dr. Bajaj’s office calling IV Therapy and them receiving that call, there was a miscommunication. I was left hanging out in the OP waiting room – “someone from IV will come talk to you” – but for a long, long time no-one did.

Finally I asked the OP clerk to check and see whether I should come back another day, but for some reason they were determined that I not leave. After I’d been sitting there an hour, and after my third request to the clerk for information, a very nice lady (supervisor) from IV Therapy came, took me back to her department and explained what was happening.

They’d had to wait to call the doctor’s office until after it opened at 9:00 AM. Dr. Bajaj’s office told them their records indicated I’d had the first treatment on the 16th. Wrong. I explained to the nurse, who explained to the doctor’s office, that because I was late getting the portacath implanted, Dr. Bajaj had moved my first session back a week. I was standing there with him and his nurse when he discussed that, and the nurse picked up the phone to call IV Therapy. However, somehow my chart was not updated after Dr. Bajaj instructed that change to be made in my schedule – and the change never made it across the street to the hospital.

So, Dr. Bajaj now had to re-write orders for me, for today, and fax them over to IV Therapy. Once they were received, I had to go back out to OP, register, and return to IV Therapy. Since the supervisor was accompanying me, that process went pretty fast. Everyone apologized over and over, saying, “Please don’t leave, please don’t leave, we’ll get it straight.”

And they did, but I would have been okay with re-scheduling for another day. Sitting there not knowing what was going on was very annoying, that’s all.

Which might explain my blood pressure… the initial reading back in IV was 180/85. A second reading five minutes later was 177/80. A last reading just before I came home was 172/80. I’ll have to check it daily for a few days and see if it returns to normal; it’s been 140-145 over 80-85 routinely in all the various doctor’s offices for the last month, right in the usual range for me.

Talking with the supervisor while she gave me the first IV medication, I think we figured it out – I saw Dr. Bajaj late in the day (5 PM or so), after the secretary at IV therapy had already left for the day. Someone at Dr. Bajaj’s office should have called IV Therapy the next day to get things rescheduled, but they didn’t. Anyway, supposedly it’s all correct now.

A nurse (Veronica) came in and did “teaching,” which consisted of going over the details of the procedures, the medications, side effects, general practical information, etc. She gave me copies of the printed materials to take home.

The therapy procedure itself wasn’t complicated or painful. The nurse who “accessed the port” was very good, just told me to take a deep breath, which I did, and she then inserted the needle directly into the port with my barely feeling it.

Dr. Bajaj had written on my orders for them not to draw blood today so that speeded things up a bit. They ordered my medications from the pharmacy, hooked the IV to a saline drip, and I watched TV and read my book in a little waiting room with several other patients. Why? No available beds. They share rooms with Day Hospital and had to wait until some folks were discharged and the rooms cleaned before escorting each of us to our own private room. That took a while.

About 11:30 I finally got into my own private room, complete with bed, TV, telephone, recliner, sink and mirror. The bathroom was in the hall just outside the door. (There’s one bathroom for every two patient rooms.)

At 12:30 lunch was delivered, a pleasant surprise. Stew beef on rice, steamed squash, cole slaw, a delicious dinner roll and an oatmeal cookie. Unsweetened tea to drink. It was all good, and afterward I asked for and received a nice cup of hot coffee.

About 1:00 my medications came. The first one had to be slowly “pushed” by the nurse and took about 20 minutes. She had on gloves and a special gown to protect her skin and clothes, since Adriamycin burns the skin and stains the clothes. It’s commonly called “red devil,” and I could see that It Is Red!

While that was happening we chatted and I asked her questions about herself a little. She then asked if I knew about the wig shop – Color Me Pink – run by volunteers and only open certain days and certain hours. Everything there is free, wigs, hats, etc., all donated. It’s located in one of the little houses back where the train station is. (The gray house, where personnel is.) It will be open from 1-4 PM tomorrow, so I plan to go check it out when I go to Dr. Sonfield’s for FU and then back to IV for the Neulastin shot.

After the first medication was finished, the second one was hung on the IV pole with the saline and the nurse didn’t have to stay for it. That one took an hour. I read my book, watched Home and Garden TV, NCIS, a bit of CNN news, and the hour went by easy enough. The nurse came back, flushed the port with Heparin, took the IV rig out, which I also didn’t feel, put a little bandaid over the spot, and that was that.

She walked with me to the hospital exit to be sure I wasn’t wobbly, weak, or nauseous. I wasn’t. Just a bit tired, but I felt that way before I went this morning. I’d parked really close to the back OP entrance, a short walk. I called Shelby from the car and said I wouldn’t stop by, I just wanted to get home and lie down. (Which I will do, any minute now, probably in the chair in the living room!)

They had called in two prescriptions to CVS for nausea, Phenergan and Zofran, so after thinking about waiting until tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and get them now. Best to have them and not need them… I also got some gas while I was still out and found the price had gone up again (Sav-Way), now at $3.09-9/10 per gallon.

All the people at McLeod were very nice, understanding, and apologetic. I told one of them to quit apologizing for the scheduling mix-up, it wasn’t her fault. And it wasn’t. I would have been fine to come back a different day, next week, whatever, but sitting around not knowing what they were doing was bad for me. I was much, much better after the supervisor explained everything. Information! It’s my stock in trade, so to speak.


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Bette’s Journal

Bette Cox 2010

Christ is the "Big C" in my life!

That was told to me by a good friend recently, and it's so very true.

Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I believe Jesus. I hope you do too.

I have one request of other believers reading this journal:

Agree with me that the invader will shrink, shrivel, die and disappear from my body, whatever method the Lord uses to accomplish that.

Thanks in advance.


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