Monday, November 15, 2010

Part 16: Serenity

Hours passed as the woman sat in her hospital bed dressed in the usual with a twist: a flowered gown, blue robe, tan slippers and black wind pants. Might as well be comfortable if I have to sit here all day, she thought. She and her husband threw around jokes to lighten the mood and pass the time while they waited for the beginning of this new phase in the seemingly never-ending dramathe chemotherapy. It had been an hour since the woman last checked on her bleeding so she hopped off the bed and went into the bathroom.

“The nurse wants to weigh you again,” the husband said as she came back out.

“Umm…okay,” she replied. She stepped out of her room and onto the scale. Turning to the nurse she asked, “So, why are you weighing me again?”

“I just want to verify we have the right information in your charts. The chemo dosage is based off these numbers and I just want to make sure we have it right,” the nurse explained.

The woman watched as the number on the scale rose.

“Huh. I thought so,” said the nurse.

“What do you mean? That looks right,” the woman confirmed. “81 kilograms179 pounds, just like two hours ago.”

“Your charts say you are 91 kilograms. Just looking at you, I see you’re a head taller than me, but you didn’t look to be 200 pounds.”

The woman was shocked. “Is this standard for you to make sure the patient looks as heavy as their charts say?” she questioned.

“Actually, no,” replied the nurse. “It just occurred to me as I was looking at you. Now, I know you’ve been waiting awhile to get this first dose of chemo. They were just about done verifying your dose, but with this new information, they’re going to have to start the process all over again so it will be a little longer.”

“Not a problem,” the woman assured. “I think I’d rather have the correct dosage. Thank you so much for being so observant. This is a God-thing.”

The woman gave her husband a mutually understood look. The implications of an incorrect dose were unknown to them, but they knew they had been spared from yet another pot hole in this journey.

A few more hours later, the nurse returned ready to administer the woman’s chemo shot. It was quick and virtually painless, nothing like the images she had conjured up in her mind when she envisioned receiving chemotherapy. True, they did have to use special blue gloves and the woman had to utilize a special spatter screen over the toilet, but that was the extent, though somewhat alienating.

And so it began. For an indefinite amount of time the woman would have to undergo bi-weekly rounds of this treatment. Week one consisted of every-other-day intramuscular (IM) injections of Methotrexate. On the off days, the woman would need to take a recovery vitamin called Leucovorin to help her body replenish what was lost due to the chemo. Week two was her recovery week as her body would work to build  immune system back up in preparation for the process to begin all over again. They would also bi-weekly track her HCG levels to zero, after which point would begin the monthly draws for at least six months to ensure everything stayed that way.

Drifting off to sleep she thought about the long road ahead and a prayer came to mind:

God, grant me the...
Serenity to accept things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that I have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of my past ways, the
Ability to feel Your love for me and others and the
Strength to get up and try again even when I feel it is hopeless.

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