My first chemo session went swimmingly. A vein popped up on command. The drips moved rapidly into my bloodstream and I hardly noticed when they were changed. It was a breeze. I was clearly a model patient…or so I thought.
And I expected nothing less this time around. I waited for my chair to be vacated – a tiny hiccup – and then settled into it. I smiled at my fellow travellers and held out my arm for the needle. Three tries later, the first nurse called over a colleague. The other arm seemed a better option. Two more attempts and it was clear we had a problem. My veins were staging their own little rebellion. They’d gone underground and no one was going to persuade them to come up for air. Linky was called over. She suggested a little walk and some power fist pumping. Back in my lazy-boy, she whispered a prayer before trying to hook me up. Two tries in and she was stumped. By now, I was centre stage in a drama I hadn’t signed up for. My doctor was called and Heather, a retired matron still working part-time at the hospital, appeared at my side. “Let’s get you out of here,” she suggested as she took my elbow. She led me into a side room, held my limb in some warm water and ordered me to pump a fist. “I can feel the vein,” she said as she removed the basin, dried my arm and plunged right in, smack on target. I was hooked up!
Back in my seat, I was surrounded by concerned nurses and they kept a constant vigil as the first drip went in, followed swiftly by the Red Devil. A third drip was hooked up and the whole room breathed out when the final one settled in. I bit into the sandwich I’d asked for and chatted to my visitor. Dr Gudgeon reappeared and I quickly agreed to a port insertion for future visits. “Respect with a capital R,” my neighbour pronounced. “You are one brave woman.” I smiled at him and pulled the blanket over my wobbly legs. My journey board with an earth angel (and I’m not kidding) Corrie of Bluedoor, as well as a talk with the legendary Dr Jeffrey Rink, had prepared me for today. But that’s another story…
Saint Vincent Pallotti was all about the healing power of love. No wonder this hospital is filled with so much of it. At home, vegetable soup is on the go and Archie has already come to make sure there is also fish involved. I get the feeling he’ll join me in bed tonight. If he doesn’t I may just break my no alcohol promise and have one shot of ice cold Russian vodka!