Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MLK day, a snow/chemo day

Monday was MLK day, and in Seattle it was also a big SNOW DAY, which to you non-Seattleites might not mean much. But here it means, EVERYTHING IS CLOSED!, the roads are A MESS, and there's a complete overkill of 24/7 news coverage about the fronts coming in. They even christen the storms, much like hurricanes, for the news coverage. This one is named, "WINTER BLAST!" but I've seen "Snowmageddon" and "Artic Chill!" and numerous others over the years. Complete with their own logos. In Seattle, the storms themselves become local celebrities.

Aside from the hype, it's a fun time to live here. Everyone's sledding and skiing and filled with that particular sense of excitement that potentially perilous side streets and closed-down businesses bring. People unite in their giddiness. They whip out the furry snow hats, sleds, and hot cocoa. Plus, with its surrounding mountains, lakes and huge pine trees, this region is GORGEOUS when covered in snow. Tough to beat. 

So. I wasn't thrilled about packing up and heading to Swedish Hospital for the fun snowy holiday. Especially if it meant another day of shuddery, steroid-induced writhing, pain, and then too much morphine and dilaudid. At least on the 12th floor, there's a nice view of the neighborhoods below, so we could vicariously share in the fun.

Ah, but here my story turns happy again. 'Bout friggin time. Without going into too many details, we have learned that I am NOT in fact allergic to oxaliplatin-- PHEW-- as this is one of my two main chemo drugs, and I kinda need those to keep working for me. Instead, I am allergic to Avastan, and I'm actually the first person my famous oncologist knows who is! Aren't I a specemin to behold.

I was able to take in all my chemo, and we left the hospital the minute it was done dripping into me, at 4 in the morning. NO, WE DO NOT WANT TO STAY THROUGH TIL THE MORNING, THANKS. 

Now that we know I'm not allergic to "Oxali", I don't have to have receive my chemo at such a preventative, slow rate, and I don't have to be dosed with loads of steroids and Benedryl beforehand. This means I am able to spend the long chemo day alert, chatty, and doing useful things, like watching Netflix, reading, or walking the halls. 

And I should add, that when I'm walkin' those halls, I'm not just walking. I'm HAULING ASS. I hitch up my teal-colored hospital pants tight (who cares about my bare open back swaying in the breeze-- all the ladies at the Golden Globes were backless), and I grab that IV stand and WE MAKE SOME TIME DOWN THOSE CORRIDORS, SISTER. In fact, I took one turn so fast that part of the stand snapped off and crashed to the floor, batteries flying. I like to impress all the nurses with how frequently I pass their station, letting them witness firsthand the blistering speed with which I am able to circle the entire ward. YOU CALL THIS 'SICK', MOFOS?

On a side note, while Neil and I were pausing in the lounge, a man strutted in. He wore a delivery-guy uniform. He glanced at both of us, me standing there in my teal hospital uniform, one arm on my chemo stand. So I said, "Hi! Pretty day out there, isn't it?" He nodded quickly, almost angrily, and he spit back, "Yep. It's comin' down all right. 'Sposed to get more, too. And I HAVE TO DRIVE IN THIS! IT'S MY JOB! Jesus!"And he stormed out of the lounge dramatically, allowing the impact of his situation to sink in.

Neil and I looked at each other. I looked down at my barf-colored regulation jammies, then looked at the sign directly behind me reading "ONCOLOGY UNIT", and we just burst out laughing. BOY, does HE have it bad! I'm just glad he was able to let it all out. Sometimes all you need is an understanding ear.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness. That delivery man story just takes the cake. If only you could drive a mile in his shoes, Shelly, I'm sure you would learn an *important lesson about compassion and empathy.* What a cross he has to bear [once, maybe twice a year].
    On a serious note, I'm so glad the allergy mystery got sorted out! Hooray for famous oncologists.