Yes. I hooked-up this morning. It is a 21st Century definition of hooked-up. Just not the one that refers to finding a willing and active sexual partner. That would have been far more god-damn fun!
Saturday I offered him the extra bedroom to use Sunday night so, we can both leave for the oncology center Monday morning from one location. He said he did not think he would. He had a show and party with some friends Sunday night. I went to bed Sunday evening and my son was not here. I figured he decided not to come to my home. Meaning that Monday morning I would have to pick him up from his house. Not a problem. Just a minor distraction for me.
It was hotter than not only I could stand last night. Even Jewel (my dog) was panting on the linoleum floor of my bathroom instead of under my bed as is her custom. I tossed and turned. Turned the fan on me. Which, is not out of the norm. Turned the fan speed up. Turned the fan speed up again. It was turned up as far as I could go. Every time I turned over I could feel the heat of my body infused into that spot of the bed I had just inhabited. If I could see UV I am certain I would have seen waves of heat rising not only from my body but, from that place I had just been. That only made me hotter. Sweatier. Tossing and turning-er. I repeatedly thought about just sleeping downstairs. There is a portable A/C downstairs. A gift. A meaningful GIFT!!!
I just couldn’t make myself get out of bed. I was friggin’ tired. My mind was tired, my body was tired, and I was just too anxious to sleep on the couch. Maybe too lazy to move. Probably, all of that and ornery, too.
After an hour with TV on and off I finally fell asleep. Fitfully. But, what’s new about that? Nothing. I woke up to Jewel barking. It is pretty unusual for her to bark in the middle of the night (unless, its July 4th). I listened to her bark and realized it was not her angry or scared bark. After listneing to her for a bit I realized it was a bark of familiarity. Whoever she was barking at she was familiar with. Coming out of my fuzzy-sleep-headed-ness I realized it had to be my son. He had decided somewhere late in the night to come to my house. Worked out.
Good thing. I was late all by myself. I got a little…not fair. I was very anxious about this morning. He was keeping as calm as possible. He was just as anxious and succeeding better at not showing much emotional or physical vibrations. We both had our dampers on. His more than mine without a doubt.
My appointments were set a week ago. Eight-thirty a.m. I would begin radiation. Nine-thirty I was expected to go one floor up to have my blood drawn to make sure everything showed I was strong enough, and healthy enough to get started with Chemo.
We got to the Radiation department a bit early. A very good thing to my way of thinking. He brought his computer and sketchbook to keep himself occupied. I walk up to the front desk to check in. Presenting a strong and prepared face to the front desk person I sign in. I am the next one on the list. I am told to hold on a moment while she checks me in. She goes to her omputer. Her fingers typing things in again and again. Simultaneously the look on her face is one of “holy shit. Uh-oh, I am being watched. Get back into control she is standing RIGHT there WATCH-ING me. Breathe. Breathe damnit.” She does. she gets her face back into control and her fingers begin to fly. Across the keyboard to the telephone keypad. Typing and dialing almost simultaneously. I will not leave the counter. It is clear something is wrong.
Remember me? The skeptic!?! I can smell the “something wrong pheremone.” I ask her, “What’s going on? Is something wrong?” “Well, I am trying to, uh, (pause) check you in.” “Is there some kind of problem.” “It’s probably nothing. Why don’t you go have a seat and I will call you when I fix this.” “Are you telling me I am not on the schedule?!?” (Please add the appropriate level of adrenaline fueled tension, fear, anger, and doubt to that last question.)
She tells me that she’oll get it sorted out. I disbelieve her but, say, “Ok.” and go sit down. I tell my son what is going on. He tries to keep me from allowing my femmefearhatefulcreature from jumping out of my eye sockets and ears and joining one anohter to root feet into concrete right in front of this poor woman. I try to breathe. I try it again. It isn’t exactly working. Not quickly anyway. He keeps tellling me that it is just a minor glitch and she’ll get it sorted out. “Mom, you’ll be fine. She’ll get it fixed and you will get your radiation. It’ll be fine.”
I remain in my seat. I pull out my phone. I try to read texts or emails and none of them are in my realm of reality. The phone is solid in my hand. I can feel it resting (or being somewhat gripped) up against my lower interior finger joints and that of the opposing thumb. (Neat how that one works, huh.) I know I am pressing the right spaces on the face of my smartphone. But, it is acting like a dumbphone. The letters are there and I am reading them. It’s just that my brain refuses to process them correctly. Or at all. I stare at the magazine rack wondering if there is one up there I might find interresting. Quickly, the internal diaglog goes something ike this, “You know even if you find one you like and it doesn’t look like you will. The Titles such. Not a People of Discovery in the bunch. Who are you kidding? Even if you find one you are interested in you’re not going to be able to read a magazine any better than your phone messages, emails, CNN, or whatever. Sigh. Just sit quietlly and try to quiet yourself.”
“Can you come back up here?” “Yes,” I say as I am already on the move. “I cannot find you on today’s schedule. I show you on tomorrow’s schedule.” “I was supposed to be on the schedule to start my radiation on Monday the 1st.” “I can look and see if I can squeeze you in this morning. But, I don’t think that you should be too hopeful.”
Another woman caem out to speak with me. She acted at first as if I made a mistake. I insisted that I knew I had not. I had my son to back me up. He agreed that the appointment time I recalled was exactly as he recalled. While I did not have the actual appointment card with me I did have my smartphone calendar. Knowing me I have to check and double check dates and times or I may make an error. My mind is no longer as clear as it once was and certainly with this added strain it performs at a somewhat lesser capacity.
I was so emotional. I got my act together and asked her if there was a private room to continue this discussion outside of the earshot of the everyone in the lobby. Of course. We were immediatly and very respectfully moved to another room. I think this is the point where she recognized that I might actually be right. She listened more carefully now. Ultimately, she asked for leave to go look into the matter further. But, not before telling us that the radiation targeting process is normally 8-10 days as it is quite complex. It had not been completed. I get that. Still, not my fault.
It was a few minutes. Myself and my son were distraught. I felt as if I had been thrown away. A theme in my life. My son was distraught on my behalf and on his own. I know he does not want to loose me. While he gets frustrated with me for treating him as I did when he was a child. I get that. However, he IS my child. I AM his mother. That has not changed.
What has changed is him. He has grown into a remarkable young MAN. He may well be my child. But, my child is now a MAN. I have to change my interactions with him, my expectations of him, and my choices of how I approach him.
I know he has been holding up strong and acting positive in order to bolster me. This time I wouldn’t let him do that. He was just as upset as I was and I felt the need to let him feel his frustration and fear and let loose his tears.
We both cried. Holding hands. We cried.
Utimately, the timing of radiation is tied to chemo and beginning chemo is scheduled on the same date as radiation begins. She returns to tell us that she has confirmed I was originally scheduled at eight-thirty. Somehow, it got rescheduled and I didn’t get the message. She was trying to get me rescheduled for this WEEK.
I was having none of that. I was not allowing their mistake to set my chemo or radiation back another week. She seemed to ultimateely grasp our stance. She went away. More time went by. Dr. P came in. He looked me in the eye and apologized. To both of us. He assured us that they would get the targeting DONE and I would be informed before we left of the correct schedule. I told him, “I am so upset that after the prior radiation positioning and tatooing debacle and now this should there be another instance like this I believe I will bolt.” I believe he took me seriously. Chemo would begin today. NOT held off until, tomorrow or next week. Thank god.
We then, went upstairs so I could get my blood drawn. We waited. We waited. We waited. I read and accepted the notice that says, “If you have waited over 15 minutes please, let us know immediately.” I went up to the front desk. I told the front desk clerk it had been much longer than 15 minutes. She was upset. She instantly checked her computer. From the look on her face, (this is getting old) it was clear she recognized they were late. Stood up again. She said someone would be out for me in just a minute. I went back and sat down. One minute later the lab tech opened the back door, called my name, and asked me to come back.
Time to get hooked into the port!
The paperwork and nurses suggested geting a lidocaine cream to put on the implant site to numb it so, it wouldn’t hurt when the needle was plunged through my skin into the silicone center of the Porta-Cath to accept chemo liquids dripping into my heart to be shot out throughout my body. Luckily, I already had gel lidocaine from a prior terrible sore throat. It has a much higher concentration than the recommended over the counter cream. It totally worked. I was told to apply it to the port site before I left the house this morning. It had a looong time to work.
After puncturing my skin, clearing out the port to make sure it works, wasting the first tube of blood because, it was diluted by the saline solution she just checked my port with. Then, she plugged a few new tubes in to the tube extending from my body to get the requisite amount of blood. Damn. They test for nearly everything.
After that she I told her it was pretty weird that this thing was implanted into me. I said I didn’t even know what it looked like. Except for in pictures. She asked if I wanted to see a real one. Hell, YES!!!! It is smaller than I thought. Not much larger in diameter than a quarter and no higher than a nickel. It is a beautiful purple metal with silicone inserts. Even the tube that is threaded through my vein stopping just above my heart is a pretty purple. It made me kind of happy to see this. I showed my son and he was duly impressed.
Then, we went upstairs to the “Infusion Suite.” Lots of people in different states of slumber in various giant recliners. I was given the option to be in the quiet area or TV. You know, I opted for TV. While I was having the first two chemicals infused a woman from the radiation department came up to explain in detail what happened. She apologized profusely for her error. Though, it seemed more of a communication failure on the note given to her to change my eight-thirty appointment Monday to twelve Tuesday.
So, that’s done. It’s official. I am not sure at the moment whether I am more anxious or less now that it’s done. Or as done as it’s going to be tonight.
Radiation tomorrow. Please, god let this go without a hitch already.