Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Chemo Room Gossip

Yesterday, I had my fourth chemo. On Friday of this week, my CT scan is scheduled to see what progress we have made and we will find out the results next week. After that, we will figure out what is next. Yes, I am scared but I want to know what is going on inside of me. God keeps whispering to me, "Fear not, for I am with you--always!" Of course, I have no choice so being fearful or worried is wasted energy.

I realize I have been lucky to be having a tranquil existence this summer while I go through all of this. Yes, Apolo barks way too much but Dave has agreed to stop yelling at him which upsets me and instead, he squirts him with water from a spray bottle. Now if we could get someone to spray the Oxyclean guy with water, my life would be totally relaxed. Yesterday at SCCA, they put me in a little curtained off place with just a chair instead of a hospital bed. It was extremely noisy and it made me miss my normally pleasant chemo days. The chairs are for folks who may just need to be there for a couple of hours but my chemo takes 4-6 hours. I did not complain but before they started me with my Christmas tree of IV bags, they asked if I would prefer a more private room with a bed. Evidently, they were busy busy and a bed had just opened up. "Yes, please--I would much prefer it."

While we were waiting for the bed, I could not help but hear the conversation through the curtain from the chair next door. I'm probably invading someone's privacy here so I will not use names but I thought what I heard was interesting. Church and faith come up a lot when you are receiving chemo. The first question the social worker asked me during my second chemo was whether or not I had a faith community. The minute she said it, I burst into tears. I told her I had the most wonderful church with a fabulous priest who was retiring and an equally fabulous priest who was replacing him. And I continued to brag about my church friends--the entire congregation. She explained how important this aspect of my treatment was and informed us of the chapel in SCCA and the always available chaplain.

As I was sitting in my uncomfortable chair, the man next to me receiving treatment was evidently was a doctor himself. He was telling the nurse that when he was in church Sunday, he noticed a very familiar face along with his wife. Let's just say this person used to be the richest man in the world but I think he is down the list a ways at this point. The doctor was explaining that this was a Roman Catholic church and "the" family was there for their child's First Communion. Now I know that the rich man's Mom who died several years ago of ovarian cancer was an Episcopalian because she was very involved in the church in Seattle where we attended before we moved to Mukilteo. I assume she had some influence on her son although she was never happy he did not finish college. Obviously, rich man's wife is Catholic so they are bringing their children up in this particular faith. The doctor continued to tell the nurse that "the" family was there just like any other family with no body guards or limos or fanfare. After the service, they hopped in their car like everyone else and drove off.

Finally, we were led to a more comfortable and quiet room with a bed. However, one side was curtained off from another bed providing another opportunity for eavesdropping. Ok, it is not my nature to be snoopy but Dave was quietly doing some work in the chair next to me and you cannot help but hear. Besides, I am curious by nature. The elderly gentleman next to me was also a doctor---long time retired and living in the San Juan Islands. His wife had died a few years ago of cancer so he was accompanied by a younger man who was his friend from church. The nurse asked him if he was Orthodox something or other because of the interesting cross he was wearing. He explained it was a Celtic cross and he was an Episcopalian. I wanted to rip the curtain open and yell with my thumbs up, "Go, Episcopalians!" but I thought discretion was the better option. I loved how he then proceeded to tell the nurse about his beliefs and how being an Episcopalian was for him the best way to express his faith.

The elderly man was there for about as long as I was. But instead of going home, he was heading for his sailboat to be with his son and other friends and family. To complete this story, I'll drop names. He said his son was good friends with Diana Krall and Elvis Costello and they would be joining them on the boat.

You never know what you are going to learn when you get chemo.