Long day that turned out to be one of the most challenging days yet. At one point I said to Jean's friend Dorothy, who accompanied us to chemo today, "and I used to think I had bad days at work?"
Started off with Sandy driving me to Backus this AM for my echocardiogram, which they couldn't do because they couldn't get in touch with my doctor over the holiday weekend....so we rescheduled for Friday.
Sandy came down to check on me, just as I was dragging my ass out of the Registration Area, and she took me to her office to sit and wait until Jean and Dorothy arrived to take me to Providence. I was so lethargic, sat in the corner of Sandy and Kate's office, half asleep, mouth hanging open, listening to those two babble to each other about their work tasks, fascinating....computer geeks.
Then Jean arrived and I climbed into the back seat and off to Providence we go. I was happy to doze in the back, Jean drives too fast and follows other vehicles too closely...it always makes me a nervous wreck to drive with her. She isn't getting any younger, surely she can't believe her reaction time is still that of an 18 year old?
When we first went upstairs I got the first inkling of trouble...they still didn't have all the blood test results in. I KNEW this would be a problem...Tracy in the Norwich Office hadn't marked the request STAT and hadn't included the fax number for W&I. I had already called her from Sandy's office, asking her to check on the blood work and get it faxed to them. Later I learn that they hadn't even started the Oncology Profile...the most important piece of information. I won't even get into the fact that I had a special tumor marker test drawn and it should never have been done at Backus, I should have had that done at W&I. Now I don't know if my insurance will pay to have it redone using W&I's standards!
Okay, so they take me in a little earlier than 11:30, which was when my appt was. As I'm walking down the hall, JUNE (WHO I WAS TOLD I WOULD NEVER HAVE TO HAVE AS MY CHEMO NURSE, EVER, EVER AGAIN) was telling me that Backus hadn't sent all the test results. I make ANOTHER call to Tracy and tell her to check and call me back....I don't want her calling the system up there, she could be lost for days. She calls and tells me Backus is on it. Later I hear that they still hadn't even started theD Oncology Profile.
Long story short, my chemo didn't start until after 3pm! By this time Jean and Dorothy had gone out to eat, gone on two walks and had just left to go back out to the waiting room when June came in to start my chemo. I think they skeedaddled because Jean heard me say I felt like I was going to puke....she can't stand that stuff.
I'm glad they weren't there to see what happened next....they would have been freaked out. June started the infusion and left the room. I was doing guided imagery, using my mother to get the chemo to the places where it would be the most effective, when suddenly, WHAM! I sat straight up and started coughing....then coughing some more....very loud and uncontrollable. I thought, What the Hell? I checked my hands to see if I had hives...I think I lifted my shirt and checked my abdomen, no hives...then I started with the tell-tale heat....so hot all over my body. Then I felt like there was a hand on my throat squeezing my airway very tightly. I looked around...no one in sight. So I just started yelling "HELP, SOMEBODY HELP ME PLEASE, HELP".....a visitor in the next cubicle peaked in and left...suddenly the nurses were there asking me questions I just said my chest, my chest, I'm so hot I have to take my clothes off...and I took my sweater off.
They stopped the chemo from flowing into me and someone brought the kit in and they gave me benadryl and something else I think. I could feel things clearing up but not as fast as I would have preferred.
June came in, looked at everyone standing around in my room and asked "what happened?" DUH!
One of the nurses, to her credit, asked June, "Where were you?" Another DUH....she was in the bathroom. DUH DUH DUH!
Oh and to add insult to injury, the Nurse Practitioner they sent in to "run the code" was that ASSHAT GRACE who I used to have issues with every time I saw her when I was in the hospital...the one who comes in the room lifts my shirt and starts examining me without once telling me her name, her role, anything. The one who insisted that I had to come back to the hospital two days after my last treatment in the hospital to get a drug I refused to take. And she tells me I CAN'T refuse it! I told her, "oh yes I can, I do anything I want. I have never taken that drug after a treatment and I am not taking it now!" When she left the room the nurse who was doing my chemo told me "good for you."
But I digress. In the middle of my anaphylactic reaction....because that's exactly what happened...I'm having my little breathing difficulty and here comes ASSHAT Grace....running in, holding my hand....UGH!
I was very angry and upset that I was having a reaction to Doxel...I had such high hopes for this drug to help me...and it has so few side effects every one told me. So, in the middle of this I'm banging on the arm of the chair, yelling DAMN DAMN DAMN!! And Grace takes my hand to comfort me....stupid! I'm pissed!
Where the hell was Little Ann Marie when I needed her?
Oh June seems to think she's going to be my nurse again....but I told her I wanted appointments on Thursday, because" it works best for me" She said, "oh, you want to go back to that Thursday thing?"
Tomorrow I call Ann Marie the Boss and tell her I need her to get me an appt with Dr. McCourt the sooner the better so we can figure out a new plan of attack. I'm going to tell her I don't want to ever see June again. She screwed up twice on me yesterday, once letting my IV fluid to run out (I texted Sandy and asked her if this is a problem and she said it could screw up my port) I had to ask another nurse to start a new bag of saline. But the big screw up came with her just starting me on new chemo, without telling me anything about the drug, any side effects to watch for, and walking away. She should have stayed with me for a few minutes anyway...the first few minutes are critical.
When the nurses responded, they asked me what happened...I told them June hooked me up and then within a minute I felt strange and within two minutes I was feeling like I was being choked. They know.
Then I left my iPhone in the back of Jean's car....figures.
The GOOD NEWS....I did get almost four bags of saline in me today while waiting for the blood tests to come through. That perked me up considerably. Also, the steroids they gave me for the reaction may have had a antiimflammatory effect on my guts. They seem to be a lot better too. SO THERE!
At first I said I wasn't going to get my mother involved in any more of the action, obviously she screwed up in the guided imagery thing...but then Sandy had the thought, maybe Mummy took action in her own heavy-handed way...putting the stop to this chemo right off the bat, instead of letting me go through a few treatments and then having the reaction. And maybe the treatment for the reaction will end up helping me where I need it most right now...my guts. I could see that...it certainly was more my mother's MO....nothing subtle there.
I'll just have to wait and see what is going to happen. Don't we all? Right now I'm happy to be in my warm bed, with my puppy stretched out under the covers beside me. Life is SWEET!