Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bio-chemo: Orchids & Onions

Madeleine’s Blog

August 26, 2012

So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10

As we finish up this fourth session and head back to Santa Rosa, I'd like to give you a little window into some of the ups & downs that Madeleine has faced during her Bio-chemo treatment. She has been amazing in her ability to put up with the challenges, even though it has been quite difficult at times. Here are some of the things she has been experiencing (in an "orchids" and "onions" format):

Onions to... daily 4 am wake-up calls for mandatory blood draws and weight checks, as well as nightly monitoring - every two hours. Yawn :)
Orchids to... our favorite night nurses - who carefully tip-toe, use a flashlight, and try to efficiently organize their visits in order to bring the least interruption of your sleep!

Onions to... trying to swallow pills, food, and even water while struggling to endure the suddenly-strange, chemo-induced taste that they have.
Orchids to... I.V. Zofran and the near-instantaneous relief from nausea it brings! 

Comfy chair-bed 
Onions to... the hardness of fold-out "chair beds" used for family members to stay overnight in a patient's room (really nice to have, but not very comfortable).
Orchids to... the same chair bed with an egg-crate cushion added for comfort - what a difference that made (and thanks for the gift, Nancy)!

Onions to... the all-too-frequent alarms blaring from the IV-pump machine in our room ("Warning: Air in the line!").
Orchids to... the soft sound of a lullaby played over the hall loudspeaker every time a baby is born in this hospital -  a definite reason to smile!

Onions to… the strange, constant “buzzing and chirping” sounds coming from the pagers in the pockets of the RN’s as they tend to you.
Orchids to… finally coming to learn that those noises help the nurses be able to constantly monitor the heart rate & rhythm of their patients (including you!).

Kaiser "luggage carts"
Onions to… having to make several trips down to the car to lug everything needed for a week’s stay for two (clothes, bedding, computers, snacks, etc.) up to the hospital room.
Orchids to… discovering that one of the ever-present Kaiser hospital courtesy wheelchairs can also double as a great luggage cart! 

hand sanitizer dispenser
Onions to… the low blood counts that can sometimes come from chemotherapy (chemo attacks rapidly dividing cells, which is great when the cell is cancer--but not so great when it is your blood cells), and the resulting need to wear masks when that happens.
Orchids to… convenient hand sanitizer fixtures located inside & outside each room - with their magically-evaporating foamy hand wash; and for Neulasta, the shot they give you on the last day of treatment that helps bring your white cell count back up (and helps you fight infection).

And finally, an extra-large Orchid to... the doctors and nurses who have made sacrifices and dedicated their lives to helping us fight cancer. We are so thankful for their care and expertise. This is not an easy battle, and so we are really glad to have them fighting on our behalf.

No comments: