I became one of those people in the closet!

I know what you are all thinking. You think that I wore my pajamas to the closet. Nope, actually according to Jim, I looked like I was not ready for combat and looked very relaxed and beautiful. I should have worn the combat outfit. We will not mention that I was being my usual stubborn contrary self when Jim had to convince me to eat some protein. I have usually done this and when I don’t…let’s just say things don’t go that well. I should have known to prepare to do “battle” when I waited 40 minutes just to go back for my treatment. There was much confusion as to where I was going. I came so close to being upgraded, but found out later it was all due to the “bad” nurse being in the upgraded room. How does that all work? When entering the closet, I had the choice of sitting next to a crazy closet mate (noticed a newbie chose to sit next to the whining yelling complaining man over the crazy closet mate), so my next choice was the broken chair literally wedged in the corner of the closet lacking much oxygen. There were 2 women there who seemed to be laughing, so it looked safe. Back to my outfit, I had this blue hoodie with my skinny jeans and a pink scarf with blue butterflies (one of my favorites from Amsterdam).

It all started with the usual discussion of the slow drip as if this is something new for me. My nurse (I haven’t had her for a while) was convinced that this is completely foreign and had to find the doctor. She also kept telling me that I should have been in the other closet and apologized. I saw one of my favorite nurses who also commented about me being in the upgraded room.  After checking my blood levels which are improved slightly and I am happy they are not getting worse, I am told that the drip will be slow. Yipee or so, I thought. I learned that the cheerful woman has lung cancer and had 36 treatments and she comes every month for 3 days. She was very funny and told stories about all the people who say stupid things to her. I thought my time in the closet was long?! She left and was replaced by another woman who had melanoma and was in remission for 3 years and it started coming back since November. She was very pretty and wore great earrings. My cousin, Margie and I did our same thing which is laughing especially when Margie does her Saturday Night Live impressions and making our usual jokes.

Lessons learned again, you must be your own advocate and document everything. Stand up and look at your IV, write down times, ask questions, and when you have a feeling that something is wrong, it usually IS! My nurse came over to announce she was doing the flush which is at the end of the treatment. I looked at the tube with the medicine and it was not empty. Both Margie and I told her that it did not seem to be time for the flush and we definitely asked questions. Well, she just proceeded and as she did so, I felt as if my body was burning from my toes to my chest. My heart was racing and I felt like I could vomit. As you know I have vomit phobia. I looked at Margie and said something is not right. She yelled to my nurse who said, “what” and Margie jumped out of her seat, asked my favorite nurse for ice and told her something wasn’t right. I was trying to take my scarf off, but was choking myself. Luckily, Margie untangled me. There was no oxygen at all. It was an out of body experience at that point for me. Margie getting cold paper towels, ice water, can of cold soda since there was no ice. My doctor bringing a block of ice as big as a ream of paper wrapped in a pillowcase placing it on me, nurse taking my blood pressure, doctor taking my pulse, doctor rubbing my knee, doctor telling me to look at him and everything will be okay. My closet neighbor’s husband stood up, grabbed my hand and started praying out loud for me. It was all so strange and I could not  express myself as I wanted. I was on the verge of tears, but more focused on stopping the thoughts of vomiting. My blood pressure was high, but all I wanted was the nausea to go away. Things started getting better slowly as they continued the IV with fluids. Luckily, Margie either by being related or having mental telepathy, knew just what to do to help me avoid the vomitosis. Jim was getting me pretzels at the time and was not too happy to see what happened. I have never had that reaction. Of course, the nurse and doctor had no explanation, but I had to wait longer to make sure I could leave and get in the car for the ride on the 405 parking lot. So, I became one of those people in the closet that has “a reaction” that the fellow closet mates worry either, will they have the same reaction or they worry what is happening to that girl. Either way, it is not a positive experience for all closet mates. We are all too close for any comfort. We are all feeling the lack of oxygen, light, and sense of calm.

My night was very drug induced. When I woke up this morning, I was without a voice, but with a terrible headache and the nausea resumed. I tried everything not to take the anti-nausea drugs and had to be my “just say no” self when I should being saying “yes”. I took the drugs and called my internist since she is easy to reach. I told her of my saga and additional new fun symptoms and she called some more drugs into the pharmacy just in case. I have so many drugs that the pharmacist had to call me and tell me what not to mix. I told her I will not do “a Michael Jackson” and she said, “seriously, you will not take all these simultaneously”. Of course, I will not. I will just add to my collection of drugs. Some of the ones I thought I did not have, I found in the kitchen in a random drawer. I am sure that was one of my clean up days-oops. I guess I need to organize the pills better, but I would like to think that I won’t need them. So, after a careful replay of timing and discussions with all those present, we are convinced that with my “flush”, I received a giant dose (or too giant for me) of the drug. This was also concluded because of a slight similarity, but less of a reaction when I got the speed drip from the “bad” nurse which was nausea during and very bad nausea the day after. Again, lesson learned and will not be repeated. By the way, I changed the toilet paper in the bathroom in the closet and reported of little soap left. Almost thinking I should get a case of soap dispensers soon and really look for the number to call to complain AGAIN.

Next time, I am going to wait for a better chair, look at my drugs, write down the times. I saw the bill from the closet in January and they charged double the medication when I had written down that I received 1/2 the amount. So the mystery is did I have 1/2 the amount or double? The anti nausea drugs started to work and I feel better, but surely more wiped out than I had intended. My next visit to the closet, I will be wearing my combat outfit!


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