The Waiting Room at the Infusion Center
Road to a Stem Cell Transplant – Pt 3
Tuesday came about soon enough. For the first time in the process, I was a little apprehensive. After check-in I took a seat in the huge waiting room. The first step was to get blood drawn followed up by a visit to the Hematologist, followed by Chemo infusion. The clinic had a huge waiting room which was surrounded by exam rooms, administrative section and a blood collection center. Unlike the first visit, which I thought would be my last, I carefully scanned the entire clinic… the rooms… the patients, the nurses and the administrative personnel. One by one someone would be called and would go where instructed. When they were done, they came back to the bullpen to wait for the next call.
My first call was from the blood room. I followed the tech back into a smallish room where I was weighed and my temperature and blood pressure were taken and my blood was drawn. As is my nature, I chatted with the tech as well as well as any others within earshot. Everyone was laughing by the time they were done with me and wished me luck as I returned to the bullpen to continue assessing the people and physical facility.
Within a short period of time I heard my name called again, this time from the exam room side of the clinic. “It’s Showtime”, I remember thinking as I got up from the chair and headed into the doctor’s office. A nice, Resident came in to do the initial exam. I’m not sure I remembered a word she said that day. My mind was more focused on the Doctor and the infusions that were to follow. It wasn’t long before the doctor entered the room.
After a few words of wisdom from the doctor, I started my part of the conversation with, “Doc, I know that you are more than capable of killing me and that the doctor in the small hospital is capable of saving me but I chose you because I wanted to stack the deck in my favor as much as possible. I will do everything I am asked to do as a patient and I only ask that you and your staff do everything that they are supposed to do…. and we’ll let the chips fall where they may”. There wasn’t much of a rebuttal to that… only a confirmation that everyone was on the same page.
The first part of “being on the same page” concerned my MS. “As much as I want to be cured of this lymphoma, I don’t want to be cured but riding around in a wheelchair pissing myself”, I explained. One of the main chemo drugs has a side effect of Peripheral Neuropathy or “Numbness”. My hand, feet and right leg were already numb from the MS. Not numb, numb but feeling like they always have gloves on. My leg is somewhat numb all the time but gets worse, the more I walk. My day is normally pretty well planned so I never walk more than a few blocks to get anywhere. (Yes, hiking the Appalachian Trail is off my bucket list)
Doc put together a chemo mix that didn’t include that particular drug but warned…”we are already going off the protocol and you haven’t even started”. I know Doc.. Thanks.. but I have faith in you.. that is why you’re my doctor. He added a little history on T Cell Lymphoma which was nice. “We are a little behind the curve because we treated T Cell like B Cell for years and couldn’t figure out why the T’s didn’t do as well” he explained. “We’re catching up quickly now that we are treating it differently” That was an interesting tidbit of info. One of the best Cancer Centers in the country, admitting that they had been treating the disease I had, incorrectly for years. That actually made me fell pretty good.
He then added that “You know you’ll be taking a few days of Chemo orally after your infusion today”.. Mmmmm Ok. “Don’t worry, my nurse will tell you all about it. On the way back to the bullpen, I met his nurse who told me that they will deliver everything to the infusion room and that I can figure it out… it’s easy. From there is was back to the waiting room. The next time my name would be called it would be for the main event… the tension builds. Mr………… The show was about to begin.
End Part 3