(Trigger: needles and blood)
Week three started with a three day weekend, so that was kind of nice. It did screw with my chemo schedule though and today I had to get up at 5:30 to be at the hospital by 7. But, I’m home for lunch, so that’s a bonus.
Getting my IV put in is the worst part of the day. I’ve always been a bit squeamish about blood and needles as they pertain to me. Other people’s blood = no problem. My blood = I might need to lie down. For some reason the phlebotomists here take way more time picking out a vein than any other time I’ve had an IV put in. Usually, it’s just the crook of my arm, the little bird beak on one of my tattoos points right to it. For chemo they spend a whole lot of time patting my arm, up and down, front, back and sides. They all seem to think I have good veins, though. The guy last week was great, we talked about birds and tattoos the whole time, didn’t even feel the needle go in.
This week the lady in the next slip was going on and on about how she finally had to get a smartphone, because her old flip phone couldn’t get coverage anymore. She asked her phlebotomist why and when he got a smartphone, as if it was a rare and unusual luxury. Me and my phlebotomist were silently cracking up, the only thing separating us from Mrs. Flip Phone was one of those always oddly patterned hospital curtains. (She also had opinions on how “weird” the curtains were.)
My IV was a little uncomfortable after I was done and bandaged. Uncomfortable in that I was aware of it. And once I was aware of it, all I could think about was having a needle in my arm. Sitting in the reception area, waiting for my weekly appointment with the oncology nurse, I kind of lost my shit. Just sitting there, staring out the window, tears rolling down my cheeks.
I’m such a weirdo about crying. Or rather what makes me cry. I will say I am a firm believer in having a good old fashioned cry once in a while. I just don’t want to do it in public. It’s what makes me cry that mystifies me. You have cancer. Cool, okay what’s the plan? You need chemotherapy and radiation for seven weeks. Sigh, fine, let’s do it.
My IV is slightly uncomfortable…sobbing.
I know, I know. I’m probably not really crying about a slight discomfort. I’m dealing with some heavy shit. I have cancer. My chest hurts from radiation and it’s only week three. I feel like I have a constant lump in my throat. They are pumping very, very toxic chemicals into my body on a weekly basis and aiming a beam of protons at my chest nightly. But that IV, man, I hate it.
If anyone noticed I was crying they didn’t mention it, didn’t stare. I guess the waiting area of a hospital dedicated to treating only cancer patients is as good a place as any to do it. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s done it. Well, maybe the only one who’s done it because their IV was itchy.