Today was my marathon day for doctors.
It all started when I woke up at 5:30 this morning and turned on HGTV. I find it helps me to forget my troubles. I lay in bed and watched until about 7:30 when I tore myself away and got into the shower. That is a chore I put off until the last minute because I have to get in there and squirt out the gaping hole above my naval.
The wound had begun to fill up again yesterday. I knew it because it was getting firm again around the opening and it was getting red and painful. That told me I needed to get aggressive and open it up again or I would be back on the evil doctor’s table for another round of torture.
I pushed and poke at it and squeezed with all my might. I came at it from every angle until I felt a release and the wound gave up its painful and disgusting filling. It didn’t smell and didn’t appear to be infected. I pushed until the draining slowed, then I rinsed it out the best I could in the shower. I dressed the wound and went to bed. I was so much more comfortable now that the pocket was once again empty. I need to keep it that way too!
Morning brought a new day and a new mind for me. As I got going after my HGTV fix, I realized just how good I felt! I did have to lie down after my shower to rest (how absurd is that? I used to be able to go all day long and never tire. Now I am a wimpy mess but getting stronger!)
We left the Global Warmer shortly before 9 AM and headed out for the hour long drive to Olympia for my day of doctors. It began with an hour wait in the office to see my surgeon. Evidently he got tied up with a “procedure.” I wanted to go out and walk a mile. I was antsy and full of energy! It was the best I have felt since last spring!
After an eternity of waiting, they called my name. FINALLY!
They weighed me. I was wearing my heavy shoes and a bulky sweatshirt. What was I thinking? Even with all I have been through, I am still freaked out about being fat. I thought about the absurdity of that and jumped on the scale. I was up two pounds (subtracting five for my clothing). I am okay with that considering I am going to need reserves for chemo. I have plenty of time to get fit and lose more weight. I guess excess blubber is the least of my worries right now!
I began to notice that the color in my gums had improved and my palms were getting very pink. No wonder I had more energy! I was building up my red blood. It was a slow process but seemed to be going in the right direction.
The nurse took my blood pressure, temp, oxygen level and pulse. I passed.
The doctor came in fully informed about my day of torture with his colleague on Friday. I told him that the other doctor who had opened my wound would have made a good torture doctor for the Nazis. Now this doctor knows my sick humor and “gets” me. So I don’t hold back with him. I can be my sick self. He said he didn’t think “Kevin” would appreciate being called a “Nazi torturing doctor.” Then he smiled at the little guilty pleasure I gave him. I am sure most of his patients are very solemn. Not me. Nothing is sacred. We laughed. He knew I really didn’t mean it, sorta.
I looked over at Mel. He was laughing. I do really love that he still laughs at my sick and twisted jokes after 39 years together.
The doctor looked at the hole in my gut. “WOW!” he said, “This looks GREAT! You have done a really good job keeping it open and clean!”
I was very proud :). I didn’t tell him how many abscesses I have drained and cleaned on horses, dogs and cats over the years. COUNTLESS! I am feeling a newfound respect for the pain they felt, as well as regret for not having more compassion for that at the time. The torture doc should have put a twitch on my nose and called it good. Probably would have helped more than the lidocaine!
My surgeon slapped a piece of gauze over my wound, taped it with the only tape that doesn’t make me break out in hives and sent me on my way. As we were leaving, he gave me a huge compliment. He said, “You have an impressive attitude and a great spirit. You are going to do well!” He smiled and shook my hand.
Next stop; the oncologist and my iron infusion.
The first thing they did at the oncologist was to draw blood. My veins do not stand out well at all. One of the perks of that is I was spared the horrific varicose veins that my mother and two of my siblings had. The downside is that they can never find my veins and they end up poking and poking and poking my arms. I turn red, then black and blue and it HURTS LIKE H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS! (I am addicted to that phrase right now and, as a woman with OCD, be prepared to see it a few more times before I move on to something else).
Anyway, Mel stood in the doorway of the lab while she poked and prodded to find my vein. She moved from one to another, as usually happens, until she found a winner. I told her in the past month I have been poked more than a Vegas street walker!
She smiled. I looked over at Mel. He laughed and shook his head. He loves my naughty potty mouth. He is my best audience.
After the bloodletting, we were escorted to the room where, for the second time that day, a nurse took my vitals. Once again, I passed.
We waited quite a while. Finally, the tall, handsome oncologist finally entered the room. I like him. He is extremely bright, sharp and quick. I love that in a person. You can see it in their eyes. You can see a lot in people’s eyes. He is from China and, although he has been in the country for a long time, still has a very thick accent and is difficult to understand.
He went over my blood work and said I was, as my body had told me that morning, headed in the right direction. GOOD NEWS! Of course I had to ask him to repeat a bunch of things. I felt old not being able to easily understand his heavy Chines accent.
He said I would need to have chemo for six months. He said most likely once every two weeks. Since the plan was to leave for SoCal in the morning, I would do it down there.
Next stop, the chemo room for another iron transfusion.
My dear friend Claudia is a gem. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends. I love them so! Claudia lives about an hour and a half from Olympia. She went to Veggie Grill near her house in Seattle and bought food for Mel and me. She met us in the chemo room. She and Mel went out to the car where she gave him his food. Claudia graciously offered to sit the several hours with me while they did the infusion, then drive me the hour south to Silver Creek so Mel could finish packing for our three day trip that would begin early in the morning. How incredible is that? Even more so when you figure she then had to drive two hours north back to Seattle!
What would I do without friends like Claudia and Angie who took me to my last infusion after driving EIGHT hours to get me and EIGHT hours back! I am the luckiest person I know! I have the BEST husband and the BEST friends!
The nurse poked and prodded and poked and prodded looking for a good vein. She tried one arm until I finally suggested she move on. Then she ended up using the back of my left hand (I am left handed!). I hate IVs in my hand but it seemed like the easiest way to go. I gave her the Vegas street walker line and she smiled. I got a lot of mileage out of that one! I had to read my emails on my phone and text with my right hand. Good thing I am pretty good with my right hand too.
Claudia and I ate the great food she brought. Then I watched her videos of Ally and Jesse doing agility. I was so jealous. I want to do agility! They looked terrific! Ally is a super dog and Claudia is doing a super job with her! Jesse is close to my heart and when he I good he is good but when he is bad he makes me smile 😉
Then I played on Claudia’s MAC laptop and helped her set up some accounts with avatars. I love doing avatars.
We didn’t leave the clinic until nearly 5:30. It was pitch black and raining. I felt for Claudia having to do all that driving in the wet dark cold Pacific Northwest night.
Tomorrow I face a LONG three day drive to Temecula. I think I am up to it. I hope I am up to it! I will drive the Sprinter and pull the trailer. Mel will drive the Global Warmer and pull the Stinkmobile.
All things considered, it was a very nice day!
I feel AWESOME!
Thank you Claudia :).