10/10/2014. Day 4: A Litany of God bless
I actually woke up in a fairly good mood. I've been sleeping well since starting the Xanax. It's a blessing. I keep waking up expecting to feel sick. Although emotionally bruised and battered, I don't feel bad. I am strong ( burpees pay off), my energy level is over all good. I don't feel sick. I'll randomly crack jokes. I keep asking the doctors if they are sure they have diagnosed me right. I mean, cancer patients usually look and feel sick. I don't really look or feel different. At least not yet. I'm sure I'll feel differently when they start pumping my body full of poison. But for now, this really seems unreal.
I tried to have a normal day today. I got up early to go to work. I usually enjoy work and it can be cathartic. I don't mind the mundane. Normal is good. I did have a moment when I totally went off on someone for bringing up stupid in the middle of what I was trying to craft as a normal day. In my defense, I've been assured the person WAS being stupid, but I generally don't go off on people. My tolerance for stupid right now is low I guess. I digress, in the middle of trying to find normal, to work, to calculate survey results and provide an analysis on public health impacts, everything was working against me: time, my computer, my brain, technical upgrades to the software I use, people and red tape. I was a slow burning fuse. And then I got a call to go back to the hospital.
I was called back to the hospital to fit my prep testing in today. It wasn't going to wait until next week as planned. Next Thursday I will get a CT guided bone marrow biopsy under sedation and a full appendectomy. I've just realized that running will be out for awhile. I am annoyed. To hell with burpees. Those are tabled too. My Christ walk goal is to get as many steps in each day as I am able. It's a one day at a time sort of life I live these days.
Anyway, so I am back at the hospital. Third time in three days. I'm a nurse and I hate hospitals. They bring back every memory of being a sickly kid. I want to apologize to every patient I've ever had over the sheer indignity of the medical experience. I like to think that I was a good nurse, but I still want to apologize. The medical environment is so hard. I mean seriously, as a staff member, you know your way around a building, as a patient, it's a maze just as foreign as Timbuktu.
I've had amazing doctors, nurses and support staff, but I've also given my full medical history to about ten people. I've been poked, prodded, stripped down, examined and looked with pity as they read my age and diagnosis. "However did you think you had cancer?" they ask.
I never thought I had cancer. Some days, I still don't think I do; Except I have this pesky lump on my left clavicle that reminds me they are right. :(it's begun to hurt. I think it is my mind.
I'm 38. Thirty year olds shouldn't have cancer ( for that matter NO ONE should have cancer--if I haven't said it before, I'll say it again, this cancer crap sucks. Let's not sugar coat it--this stuff doesn't belong in ANYONE's body). This isn't just about me. This is for every single person that has it. We all have one heartfelt, longing thought: Go away and leave me and my family alone. Forever.
Every time I've been at the hospital I've had at least six people ask me if I have an advanced directive or living will. I fell a part on the first lady who asked me. Poor lady--I made her cry. Thirty year olds shouldn't need advanced directives and living wills. That sort of question is just plain wrong. I mean it's right, but just wrong in the place where I am in life and so I bawled. And then they ask me if I'm an organ donor--which I am proudly--I'm just not ready to give them up yet--not that anyone is going to want them after this. *sigh*
This medical world we live in is so sterile. It's only made human by the kind people that work in this bureaucracy of healthcare...they are the only things that bring a humanistic sense of something warm and friendly to an environment that strips you of all that you are. God bless humans for being a part of that sterile world.
I don't miss working the clinical setting, but I know if I ever go back, my patients will never be just patients to me ever again. They are people. People in a situation that strips them of any sense of normal. Any sense of dignity. Any sense of feeling they are in control. Between the decor, the questions, the crap on TV, the waiting (waiting, waiting and waiting), the smell, the fake lights and technology-- everything screams that nothing natural goes on here. Except the people. The people give it some sense of I am not alone.
God bless my nurse today Wendy as she let me put my head between my legs and breathe as she asked my questions and I almost hyperventilated. God bless Monique, the woman who joked with me about getting a tattoo as she looked me up in the computer. God bless Theresa who cried all over me as I cried all over her when she asked me for an advanced directive. God bless Dr. Jax who promised he wouldn't make any mistakes in my surgery. God bless Dr. Ludwig who called me in prescription for Xanax without making me feel weak for needing help. God bless Sherri who has arranged all my appointments. And God bless Dr. Johnson who showed me how to be objective about my cancer in the middle of the emotion. And y'all, pray for a good case manager for me who will help me seamlessly transition my care from Kansas to Virginia.