So I took the neupogen shot yesterday, the 12th day of May, 2008 (and learned how to spell neupogen, too!).
The nurse gave me a nice cartoon band aid, probably indicative of my immature emotional state at the time. It made me feel better. I waited around for a minute, but when I realized a lollipop wasn't also coming, I eventually slinked out and headed for home.
So that my white blood cells could build up aritificially, so that I could - woohoo! - get some chemo today. Mmm, boy! Talk about a glutton for punishment.
Today I show up at OncoMan's Chemo Palace, not realizing that Friday the 13th was happening on a Tuesday this month, and they take three vials of blood, as they do every time I go there, it seems, and then the Physician's Assistant meets with me, and she says, it's cool, you want to see OncoMan or just go ahead?, and I say, I don't need to see him unless he needs to see me, and she says follow me, and I'm thinking, I've been doing that for nearly three years now off and on, more off than on, I'll admit, and it always leads to the same place when I do, and not the one I have in mind, but I do anyway, and I do this time too, and so it is off to ChemoRoom itself, and she tells me to have a seat.
I do. Next to a lovely black lady who is wearing a wig well. This story would have a pretty happy ending, because I HAD to sit next to her, because the place was so busy (this cancer fad is taking a hold, folks, on the country, so consider yourself a trendsetter!) I couldn't take my usual isolated seat in a cave somewhere.
And it should have had a pretty good ending because she and I began to talk, and we talked of hope (and humor, of course, when I got to talk) and she said I spoke quite well for someone who had had half of their tongue replaced (I show everyone my scars, thinking the chicks will dig it, at least until I go bald), and I said, well, you speak pretty well for someone wearing a wig (I DID NOT!!!!), and I said thank you, and we really did have a nice, short conversation about hope and positive thinking (despite what the studies are telling us now...and more on that in a minute or two).
I'm thinking, okay, maybe I won't have to sit here getting pumped full of poisons while reading and sleeping! Maybe I can sit here getting pumped full of poisons while talking to an intelligent, pretty, and positive human being wearing a wig. Maybe she can even tell me where to go for a wig :).
If I haven't suggested so before, I can be impatient, especially when it comes to getting hooked up for chemo. The reason for this, really, is that I know that all the time while I am not hooked up is time that I could be hooked up, and we could be moving on WITH NO ADDITIONAL HELP if they would only hook me up. It is not like we are in an ER and triage applies. I am UP ladies and gentlemen, let's get to me, let's get moving, so I can get to moving out of here! The sooner the better and all of that.
This one elderly nurse is kind enough to stand up behind the counter that protects THEM from US in the event we turn into zombies from the poison drugs, and acknowledges me each time I raise my arms to show that I am not yet getting my fix, not yet getting my jones on, and she smiles and even waves, and I have odd thoughts about her ability to drive herself home or even give a taxi driver the correct address, and I'm hoping she is not the one doing me today, not that I have anything against dementia. Not me.
Heck, I'm the poster child for dementia, probably. But I don't want someone that smiles and waves at me from behind the zombie barrier every time I raise my arms in surrender to be the one to stick me, to say nothing of administering exotic and poisonous drugs.
Then she comes from behind the barrier and comes directly to me and asks if I am soccerfreaks (:)) and I say, yes, that's me, and I admit, I have already forgotten the dementia thing and the weird smiles and hand waves because now I am being waited on, if you will, and all is good: "Yes, I'll have the Carboplatin, medium rare, with the Taxol. Um, give me the decadron, of course, some saline solution for the palate, and this would not be a complete meal without the benedryl. Is there anything I've forgotten? Oh, yes. Can I have rolls with that?"
She sits beside me. (Trouble. Alert! Alert! Alert! They DO NOT sit next to you!!! Is she going to wave as if from far away? Is it, irony of ironies, that SHE suspects ME of dementia or some other crowd-disturbing personality issue because I kept raising my arms as if I were a hostage or a game show contestant?)
She sits next to me and looks at my papers, my passport to Chemo Palace. It is NOT a forgery! Soccerfreaks, she says, your platelets are low.
Platelets, I exclaim, softly, because some of the other zombies are sleeping. Platelets? I just got a shot yesterday and even know how to spell it now...n-e-u-p-o-g-e-n! What's this about platelets?
Oh, yes, your white blood cell count is nice and high. The neupogen worked, that is for sure! But your platelets are a bit low. Nothing to be concerned about, just a bit below our minimum limit.
Nothing to be concerned about? You CAN'T give me chemo, you CAN'T try to poison me because I'm TOO SICK too be POISONED?
The pretty black lady had been talking about platelets when we were conversing prior. She usually goes to the Red Cross just for some sort of platelet booster, she said, but was in the Chemo Palace for some additional stuff, some sort of chemo. The irony!
I am BELOW the limit? When have I heard THAT before? Um, never. I'm BELOW the limit. Holy cow. There's a first.
I've been kicked out of a bar or two over the years, notably in my youth. Even a bowling alley once, which still brings a smile to my face (I am famous in family drunken foolishness lore, and there is lots of it, to be sure, to this day for exclaiming as I was leaving, standing in front of the biggest guy in the entire bowling alley, "You LOOK like a wall."... to this day I have no idea what I meant, but it lives on in infamy :) And would not have been funny or memorable if I too had been a big guy.) That and the fact that I lived. They make it funny, I think. Otherwise, it is not so profound as it is famous (or not so famous, as the case may be) last words, is it?
This is the first time I've been kicked out of a Chemo Palace.
To be honest, as I stepped up to the zombie barrier to get appointments for next week, one part of me felt like a kid with a license to skip school. No chemo! Woohoo!
The other part, which will prove to be the responsible adult in me some day, was thinking, geez, platelets low, what is going on, and how is this affecting my chemotherapy picture?