I don’t know how many of you have taken trips to far away lands, but being an immigrant I have had my share of being in cramped airplanes , sitting down for hours . This has prepared me well for chemotherapy. Getting Chemotherapy feels like being on a plane for long, long flight. There is a clear destination. Journey if its comfortable is celebrated, if not ,its still worth the trouble as long as you get where you wanted to. I imagine myself to be on a plane when I get chemo with all the other patients as my co-passengers.The cancer center is my airport.There are delays happening, and there are cancellations too, when the white count isn’t what it should be.
I have to say though that the check in for chemotherapy is easier than checking in for a flight. And there is no security check point. Just a whole bunch of insecure and disturbed folks waiting to get on board.I hate the cancer center’s waiting room. Its too quiet. If I had my say it would have blaring music and a strobe light with a big neon sign saying “Welcome aboard and enjoy the ride!”.
The chemo suite offers a plane like chair, “in flight” entertainment and you can get pretzels by pressing a button . The “crew” is present to get you through. The only difference, they ( “chemo nurses”) are actually trying to keep you grounded so you won’t “take off “.This time my nurse checked me in, we were in a room that is on the opposite hallway of where I was to get my chemotherapy and told me “Ok I will see you on the other side”, I said immediately, “Not on the other side!’ She cracked up. Having been with me for the last 3 chemos, she now knows me well.
The Barf bag is another thing common to both settings and one hopes to God that you don’t get to use it. For those who have been to hospitals for deliveries or other reasons, very well know that blue bag ( the one that looks like a wind sock) that’s presented when they see you retching. I get easily nauseated. I vomit easily too. Thus chemotherapy and I aren’t a match made in heaven. I throw up with a migraine, I throw up with the flu , I throw up just like that, when I am feeling blue. I have thrown up during labor, I have throw up post -op, there are things that make me vomit, there are things that make me not. If only I was an alcoholic, I would have had much less nausea than I had to suffer through. Apparently alcohol use beats up the Chemo-receptor Trigger Zone in the brain pretty good so its not as sensitive to chemo therapy agents. May be its time to take up drinking. This time when I was nauseous, the nurse asked me, “do you want Ginger ale” , I told her not unless she wanted to ‘blue bag it’. I don’t like ginger ale at all. Unfortunately the drink cart there doesn’t have much else on it.
I have 11 more flights to go and I am racking up frequent flyer miles.Once I am done with the remaining 11, I hope I never earn a free flight and they would ban me forever from getting on. That is my destination and that is my hope.