Excuse the generalization but why are Techs so Fucking Cocky? And why do they suck at patient interaction? Probably b/c they don't get paid enough.
I go for my PET Scan. A tech with an ID that States he is a Student is gonna stick me. I tell him the same old story: "They're big but difficult" His response? "I can hit anything." Now excuse me if I'm being redundent but this shit hurts when they miss. It's a 22-24g needle and they thread it in there pretty deep. They don't do it right and it hurts. And sometimes they don't stop trying in what I would consider a timely manner.
So douche bag is eyeing a nice straight surface vein on my right arm. It's so misleading. No one can get it. I tell him that but he tells me not to worry. I say Whatever.
Douche bag does not stop in a timely manner.
His boss comes over and asks if there's a problem. Douch bag tells him "I'm moving my arm". What a fucking asshole! Classy blaming the patient. I give the boss a look. The "get this asshole away from me look." The boss takes over and nails a vein in my left arm. Then comes the fun. Radioactive Glucose. Yum. There is then a 45 minute wait for the glowing sugar to be absorbed. Cancer cells absorb more glucose and this is what the PET Scan..........scans for. My earlier CT scan detected "masses" but can not distinguish between active tumors or inactive residual scar tissue. Lymphomas leave a bit of scar tissue behind before "flushing out". PET Scan will only detect active/Live Cancer Cells.
In the scan you have too remain perfectly still. I only got a few hours sleep and you can't consume anything but water for up to 6 hours before the Scan. No coffee in the morning. Uhg. So I sleep through the 30-45 minute procedure. I think I stayed still. Afterwards a Radiologist comes up and takes a look at it. Her immediate diagnosis? "It doesn't look bad". Thanks, I say. She has no idea what I had before. How far the disease has progressed. her instant diagnosis probably means very little. Still I find her words comforting. really comforting. I guess I really wanted to hear some positive news.
Thirty Plus Days of Hell
Since we saw Dr Death on 2/6/06 Dani and I have been quite anxious. We never talk about it but we know what each is thinking. We are worried the Chemo isn't working. Or isn't working well enough. Worried that I'll need radiation. Worried that since I had Hodgkins IV that I may actually be part of the unlucky 15-20% that doesn't survive. This level of anxiety sucks.
My Birthday! I made it to 39! ;) My Dad only made it to 38. Died in a car accident. More tangents: My Mom had two miscarriages before I came along. Third times a charm, eh? I wonder how paranoid/stressed she was while carrying me? I was also born with ABO incompatibility. Hemolytic disease of the newborn. My blood did not match my mom's and some of it mixed with hers. She developed Antibodies against my blood. They made it to my circulation before and during birth and started to destroy my blood cells. I was given a complete blood exchange/transfusion shortly after birth. This was a new technique when I was born. Should I feel lucky? Should I feel like I'm on borrowed time? Well I don't dammit!!!!!!!
I would like to celebrate my Bday. But I had chemo on 3/3/06 & Radioactive Sugar Goodness on 3/6/06. I 'taint feeling my best. Plus it becomes proggressively more difficult to recover from each treatment. The crap is accumulative. The treatment is aggressive, I get the same amount for each time. If there is less Cancer than there is more chemo around to attack healthy tissue. Oh well.
Our land line rings while I'm on the computer, right next to me. few call that line. I have a feeling it's the hospital but don't want to take it. Dani takes it with some trepidation. She sounds a liitle confused. she wants it spelled out. I don't blame her. She gets off the phone and repeats what she can:
The PET Scan was Negative. No Malignent Growth Detected.
I just sit at the computer. I ask her to repeat it. She does and adds "The Nurse said that was a good thing." I think we are just both in a state of shock. Dani sits down at the table, about a foot from me. I'm not sure if we even look at each other. Tears just start rolling down my face.
Dani saved my life. She did everything. She fought for everything, helped me keep a positive attitued and kept my nutrition level at a phenomenal level. Dani takes care of everything. says my only Job is to get better. She goes to every appointment with me. I could not have prayed for more support and love. And that is why I'm doing so well. it's not over yet though. PET scans can't detect every single Cancer cell. Every single Cancer cell has got to go. it only takes one. it only started with one. But a Negative Scan will mean no need for radiation probably. Radiation terrified me.
I finally feel well enough to celebrate my Bday, 8 days after chemo. We go out to Luigis. An Italian restaurant in Dc. Been around since the 40's. I have yet to find good Italian here. It's either Overpriced Shee-Shee food or chain food or crap. Luigis is a pleasent surprise. I expected to see an Italian grandma cooking back there. Best Italian I've had in ages. the Good news and the bottle of wine have us feeling really good. Dani was happier than I've seen her in a long time. I think I was too.
Happy St. Paddy's Day! Or happy 9th treatment; treatment 1 of cycle 5. No party for us. we wake up late, suck one cup o coffee down and head out. I'm on edge. More so than usual. Maybe it increases for each treatment? I go for my blood draw. It gets delayed over some assinine communication problem between another patients paperwork and the admin unable to pronounce the word "Serum" well enough over the phone to the Doctor. "Serm". "Serm". Over and over. She has to leave the station before processing my paperwork.
I begin to pace and curse. Dani tries to sooth me but to no avail. it takes 20 minutes for me to see a Vampire. WTF????? I'm extra irritated today. Maybe because I still am nervous about what Doctor Death Prescribes? I get my blood drawn and am pleasently surprised the vampire goes for a previously unused vein. Off the beaten path is very nice.
Dr. Death sees us alone. Her Nurse is out of town. Such an awkward Dr. one wonders if they just see too much death. Anyway, she does a short exam and tells me the PET scan results were good enough that I'll be done with chemo after four more treatments. She didn't mention radiation and that's good enough for me. I tell her I'll need more Trimeth/Sulfameth and she asks me why?
Ohh boy. WTF? I tell her my last Dr. put me on the antibiotic before I started treatment and I assumed it was for prophylactic purposes. She says "Yes" as she's flipping through my records...pauses and states:
"I can find no record of you being prescribed this. Please tell me all the prescriptions you are on." I go through my short list. She responds: "Trimeth/sulfameth is prescribed as a prophylactic for PCP" (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia)" I would never prescribe it for Hodgkins but can refill it if you want."
I decline the refill. PCP is very opportunistic but occurs in severly immunocompromised patients. Maybe my Old Dr. was being too cautious? Apparently, record keeping seems to be a bit lacking though. remember, I'm damn well positive he never prescribe anti-nausea drugs for my first treatment. regardless of the fact that the infusion Nurse should have known better than to give me chemo without it. Also note Cancer patient records are giant books. Must be difficult for another Dr. to take on a patient well into treatment.
I also tell her about the occassional skin blister that appear. They're very small and fill up with fluid. She's perplexed. the old ones I point out on my hands aren't in any "pattern" She says a pattern might indicate a viral infection and I would need to take acyclovir. Cancer patients need to be free of infection. She tells me if I see a pattern to come in but otherwise she seems to think it's not serious.
My Dr. also suggests I take Pepcid to prevent ulcers that may erupt due to the steroids I'm on. I tell here I take the occassional Zantac but dani asks for a prescription. Never would have occured to me. A 'script is only $1.00. Smart move. I'm starting to warm up to my Dr.
On we go to the BMTx floor, next building over. We get there and notice we don't have my chart. Dammit! Back to find my Dr. I told Dani the day was gonna suck worse than usual just after we left the Dr. the first time. One Nurse gave me an attitude with "Can I help you?" while I read a poster above her desk in the OPEN Hallway. Damn she's lucky she caught me completely off guard or I would have given her such an earful. I will be ready for her next time. ;)
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum.....From Hell
I asked Dani to write this section but she's still very angry.
Two people come into our room to stick me with the infusion needle. They come in kind of arguing with each other. Both their ID's are backwards but I assume one is my Nurse. I've Never had them before so I explain my vein problems. The Older One (Dee) gives me attituted saying every one is different and don't worry. The younger one (Dum) seems a little apprehensive. They look at a couple veins and I tell them no on two. Dee tells me to relax. dani is getting annoyed. I tell them it's difficult to relax b/c I know it's gonna take more than one stick. They want to do the very straight Left arm vein. I tell them no. I get The "look" from Dee. But they settle on a vein I pointed out near my right wrist. They don't like it because it has a lot of visible valves. I tell them it's a good spot along with the one on the other side of the wrist. they try the first one. She opens a needle and I say "That's not a 20g, is it?" She says "Yes". "Oh no, use a 22g or smaller." The bitch rolls her fucking eyes and discards the 20g needle! She sticks.
They did not stop in a timely manner.
They argue some more with me and with themselves. They want to go for the misleading vein. I capitulate. One person has gotten that vein. I just want this part done. She sticks my vein. She tells me to relax. Several times.
She did not stop in a timely manner.
She tells me I need to relax. So it's my fault once again? They go back to my right arm. They want to do my elbow vein. It's god for blood draw but everyone else has avoided it for chemo. Too short, they said. Dee says it will be fine. Dani loses it here and I'll insist she rights this part:
So I look at Dani and see the anger in her face. I'm worried b/c I think this is my Nurse. Remember, I spend hours with the infusion nurse, up to 6hrs. I don't want her upset. She has the slow bolus injections and all that. I find out later that Dani knew this was not my Nurse. I need to pay more attention to these things sometimes.
I ask Dani "Are you OK Baby?" Dani replies "Yeah I'm fine". Dani does not look "fine". She's pissed. The cockiness, attitude, and unprofessionalism is a little much. She hates how much this hurts me. She knows how much this hurts me b/c she holds my hand when I get stuck. I notice Dee is looking at us so I try to ease the tension and say "Dani gets nervous sometimes". Not the right thing to say. it was misinterpreted by Dee to think that Dani was squeamish about the needle and was making me nervous. Dee responds with "Well maybe She should Leave then?"
OMFG was THAT the wrong thing to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dani almost went apeshit on Dee. I think we were all lucky that they were on seperate sides of my bed. I'm trying my best to relax her, telling her it's OK. I still think this is my Nurse. I think Dani can see the worry in my face. Kind of pleading for her to not go off on "my Nurse".
Dani, red in the face, head slightly quivering in pure rage says, acidly, slowly with "I'm not going anywhere". it was annunciated in a way that made it clear what she really meant was "Suggest that again and I will jump over this bed and rip your throat out."
Dum went for the short elbow vein. I'm annoyed she stuck that vein but I want it over. I figure if there's any pain during chemo I'll tell them to stop and restick me elsewhere. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum clean up, while still arguing with each other, and dum gives the last shot: "Too many cooks in the kitchen."
WTF? If I had known Dee or Dum was not my Nurse than I would have insisted on someone else sticking me. Dani would have told them to leave but she knew I might have potentially freaked at her giving "My Nurse" the boot.
All else went well. My real Nurse was a hoot and we laughed through most of the treatment. I did note the Nurse checked the vein more often then usual.
God damn overconfident techs. I'm not gonna take that anymore. Not even from Nurses. Only one Nurse has told me to relax. All others have been so careful and discussed options with me. I just try to be really nice b/c their job sucks. They have a lot of patients way worse off then me and I know they give the staff hell.
Oh and of course that one Nurse did not stop in a timely manner.
I think I am done being too(?) understanding to the ones that can't hit my veins. Oh well.