Yesterday I left the Marriott Courtyard in North Druid Hills near Emory at about 10:15 a. m. I was getting the results from my latest scan and wanted to get a breakfast sandwich from the cafe next to the lab before the days activities commenced.
Jaimie was still in bed. She wasn’t coming with me. As if you needed further proof that no area of life has not been touched by the chaos, Jaimie can no longer come with me to my appointments. I told her she could stay in Greenville if she wanted, but I guess she just looooovvvves that Courtyard by Marriott, because she wouldn’t hear of it. Despite the fact that four hours in a car causes havoc on her back.
Not coming to the doctor with me really freaks Jaimie out. There are two major reasons:
One—it breaks her heart that she can’t be there to support me. She takes her role as care taker very seriously. Anyone who knows her or has seen my show or read my book knows that. (davidleenelson.com/hopeinthetimeofchemo)
I’m incredibly fortunate. There is no substitute for having someone by your side during this process. Someone to laugh with and cry with and do life with. And as much as I tell her she doesn’t have to come to things, and as much as I wish she would take a break from time to time, I really like having her there with me.
The second reason she hates missing my appointments is that Jaimie loves, Loves, LOVES, watching them rip tape off my chest.
When they access my port, they secure the tube in place with lots and lots of tape. Tape that, as surely as it’s being placed on, will have to be ripped off. And few things in this world make Jaimie laugh harder than the pain the removal of that tape causes me.
And by pain, I mean excruciating pain!
You can tell she doesn’t want to laugh. It just starts, and once it starts, she just cannot stop.
Now granted, this has been less fun for her recently. About three treatments ago I discovered the wonders of the tape for people with sensitive skin. But for three straight years Jaimie would laugh hysterically while I winced in pain as they ripped off layers upon layers of skin. My skin. It was like that scene in 40 Year Old Virgin when Steve Carell gets waxed for the first time, only this is real and happens a couple of times a month.
So yesterday, with not seeing the tape get ripped combined with her not being there for scans, when I left for the hospital she was uniquely depressed.
And what a day she missed!
Things were off from the beginning. I was too late for the breakfast sandwich I wanted. That dream, apparently, ended at 10:30. So I had to settle for the driest, grossest, most disgusting turkey and Swiss on whole wheat with honey mustard dressing that I had ever had the opportunity to eat.
Also, to reduce traffic in certain areas of the clinic, my labs are not happening in the lab room. They are happening in the examining room. Not a huge deal, except for the fact that it increases time spent in a certain rooms. When you’re at the doctor’s office for four hours, one of the few things that makes time go by even the slightest bit faster is the changing of space. That is no longer a thing. Plus, the Guest Internet services in the doctor's offices and examining rooms is worthless, which means I'm stuck in the Dark Ages trying to pass the time. I'm back to taking my weight over and over again. I’m back to re-reading that disgusting flyer on the wall about the different stages of colon cancer. Yesterday I noticed that my nails were dirty, so in order to clean them I stole one of those wooden sticks they use to look down our throats. One of the ones they stick on your tongue and tell you to say, “Ahhhhh.”
Good to look at our tonsils, bad for cleaning our nails.
After about half an hour, nurse techs came in to take my labs and check my vitals. After another hour, Edith, one of my favorite Nurse Practitioners knocked on the door. Since Jaimie wasn’t allowed to be in the room, we had to call her. I dialed her number, with Edith's phone, put her on speaker, and down to business we went.
The scans were good! Everything had shrunk. In fact, a couple of the spots near my eye were no longer there. The only conclusion is that the radiation… had worked. I breathed a sigh of relief, and heard Jaimie breathe one as well.
And that, my friends, is when things decided to get weird...