Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thin Mints & Wiggly Veins

Instead of "capped teeth & caesar salad" - never mind, it's a Lloyd Webber Thing. Woke up with this song in my head. Damn these morning ear worms!!! Anyway, it's the first obvious title that came to mind. Deal with it. And humor me, OK?  

Arrived at the Center yesterday morning at 7:15 am, and the place was already jumping. Lots of people arriving for Chemo treatments, some in better moods than others, especially for such an early hour. 

When one of the nurses from the Infusion Dept. came to escort me back to my section for transfusion, she surprised me with a bear hug and a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies.  The story goes that she found a few little girls standing at a small table in front of some store, in the freezing cold, and she thought of me.  So she bought a box as a gift. What a thoughtful surprise. I tried to pay her but she wouldn't accept my nasty cash. 

There was a large strip of surgical tape wrapped around the sealed box with my name printed on it in big black magic marker letters. She made sure that no one was going to eat those cookies. Every nurse in the section came up to tell me how lucky I was to find the box still intact. Seems they all love chocolate and Thin Mints, too. 

I offered to open the box and share, but they would have none of that.  Those cookies were special - they were mine. Indeed, I did feel special.

Getting down to the blood business at hand, two nurses began to prep me by attempting to open a port in one of my arms.  I have two arms, BTW. That's when the problems began. I have been told I have "great" veins; easy to see and so convenient to access for transfusing. However, with the continued weight loss, it seems the veins have a tendency to wriggle around, making it difficult to open a port. 

After 6 punctures and 3 blown veins, one was finally found to be stable and the access point was opened. By this time I had 6 holes in my arms, covered in gauze and medical tape. The spots where the 3 veins had blown were swelling, and purple - though not painful. These would have to be watched carefully for any leaking as the blood entered my body.  The pressure caused by the incoming blood flowing rarely results in this effect, (but it happens)  which is not pretty, and fairly uncomfortable. 

This stress coupled to the effect of the Benadryl injection meant there would be no reading while I sat there for 6+ hours. So I whipped out the earbuds and listened to music, instead. This turned out to be a mixed blessing. I was able to nod off at times, but still had to be aware of any change in the taped up wounds.  

One outlet began to leak, so the flow was reduced to limit  the pressure, which seemed to help. All in all, the dressings had to be changed twice throughout the day. A day made half again as long as it should because of the slower rate of blood transferred each hour. I was held captive for nine hours rather than the usual six.  Yep, another full day shot to hell.

Of course, as a human pin cushion side-show freak now, I am not allowed to bathe or shower for 48 hours. To shave, I need to wear long sleeves and medical gloves to protect the hands and arms from getting wet and possibly infected. 

Are we having fun, yet? 

Between the vertigo, the effects of the Benadryl, and the Lasix making me pee my brains out every few minutes, I somehow managed to drive home, hobble up the stairs, and belly-flop onto the bed. 

That's where I woke an hour later, feeling suddenly hungry and the urgent need to pee, yet again. Being in no condition to stand and cook a meal, I opted for sour dough toast washed down with cantaloupe before heading back to bed. 

Woke up at 3 am today feeling weak but rested. Though spring-like weather is on the agenda today, I have no plans to leave the apartment.

I've made more lists as I enjoyed breakfast and coffee.  Two coffees, actually. My mind is full of ideas, but I don't have the requisite energy, or even enthusiasm to follow through on any of them.

Weekly blood work yields little positive change.  The CBC remains  low, though the Neutrophil count is back up in normal ranges, probably due to the steroid I've been on for 3 weeks now. But that seems the only step forward - the relief from having to wear the damned medical mask in public all the time. 

I have to let people know that this is what is happening, that it isn't just because I'm lazy or lethargic.  Heaven knows, I've had enough peaceful, down time in the past few weeks and it's not for my emotional well-being. 

Finally talked with the sister.  She's prepping for open heart surgery. She's scheduled in two weeks and was given a tour of the ICU where she will spend her recovery time. I could tell she was apprehensive, but she asked the medical team all the important questions and feels resigned to what's to come. The call cheered us both up and after a half hour we were in our usual laughing mode and feeling better for the conversation and support. Of course, she wants to help me as I want to be there for her.  Ain't gonna happen. 

Of course, I didn't mention that when the vertigo is really bad, I'm light-headed from the inability to gather full lungs of air, my eyes won't focus to read, and I cannot concentrate on a youtube video, I feel as if I'm just hanging around waiting to die. 

On that cheery note I will just say, it is what it is.

And so it goes.


  1. THIN MINTS?!? I'll be right over! :)

    that said, those people are so nice and thoughtful.

    good vibrations to your sister; spouse had his surgery in 2008, and just look at him now!

  2. You're handling this with more grace that I ever could. My thoughts are with you. Come of the Bloggerpalooza next week if you can. Just got word that Superman won't be there either. That makes Sassy Bear (and Jeffrey), Someone, David Jeffreys and his friend, and now Superman. The new folks are Pat, David, Jack, and my friend Larry and his wife Lois. We need you there so if you can come please do.

  3. Hang in there my friend. Hey, a whole box of thin mints for you to selfishly hoard, as you should. Glad you and your sister has some quality chat time.

    Life has been a downer for me also recently. I decided that I had to stop Cymbalta, so I weaned myself off it over a period of 6 weeks. One of the side effects has been depression, not suicidal type depression, but a feeling that I am stuck in a bad place and can't find a way out of my medical dilemmas such as muscle weakness (muscular dystrophy), shortness of breath (poor lung function), and lack of energy. At least, I don't have the vertigo. So be careful, not to fall in one of your dizzy swoons. Oh, and the Lasix, which I have NOT found to be a blessing. Need to pee copious amounts to reduce the swelling in my left lymphedema leg, but that sure ends what one calls quality of life! I now know there is no god, because if there were one, he would have designed much better ways of getting rid of all that . . ., that must come out!

  4. If I am lucky I will accomplish one of my bucket list items : "Die with my veins intact"
    Meanwhile I am just a soggy crumpet floating in the pool all day long.


Your comments are welcome if they are positive and/or helpful.
If they are simply a tirade or opinionated bullshit, they will be removed, so don't waste your time, or mine.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...