Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jan. 13


Jan. 13
Originally uploaded by Cancer Boy
Here are four photos from today. I'd work up a witty context and link each accordingly, but I mostly feel like shit. Hospital gowns are ugly, I easily get bored, there are a lot of things that can go wrong during a port-a-cath insertion, and the dressing is fucking bulky.

The day started off very well, actually. My dearest momsy gave Melissa and me* a ride to the hospital for my port-a-cath fun. Even the lineup in registration wasn't that bad... I was in good enough spirits, really. The second photo up there, of the glove balloon, proves that even in the face of surgery, I still believe in wasting hospital supplies.

Then came the actual procedure. The consent info did not serve to quell my apprehension, in the least... And then things got worse.

I don't know if this counts as proper irony, or just really dark fucking humor on someone's part, but this actually made me laugh (which wasn't a very good thing, given that I was laughing as they were cutting right by the jugular). The first incision proved useless, as the lymph nodes below my neck were still too swollen and densely packed to thread the catheter through. Thus came even more freezing, and then a second incision.

I never ever want to hear a surgeon say "Hmmm... that's funny..." in a concerned tone ever, ever again.

At this point I was starting to freak out a bit because I was feeling every fucking cut and blood spurt and they decided sedation was a good idea. I'll pick up on the sedative bit according to when it actually kicked in.

I can describe the level of pain you can expect to feel during a port-a-cath insertion, when the freezing doesn't do jack shit. It's sort of like the worst burning cough imaginable, except it's scraping its way through a vein and artery on the way to the heart. It doesn't hurt so much as it makes you want to claw at your chest and yell "GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT THE FUCK OUT!"

One of the poor nurses was kind/unfortunate enough to hold my hand at this point, and I can only hope the damage wasn't permanent.

Only when the surgeon announced that he was on the second-to-last stitch, did the sedative kick in. I'm told the high is similar to vicodin, and if that's the case, I can understand people getting hooked on it. [insert House, M.D.-related vicodin joke]

At this point when I was incoherently babbling and getting patched and cleaned up, and I finally stopped feeling a good chunk of my chest, somehow conversation turned to pets. Turns out discussing the relatively recent death of family pets is a bad idea when under sedation.

They then wheeled me out on a stretcher to the observation room. Fun times here, let me tell you.

Melissa, who has by now qualified for the "most wonderful girlfriend on the face of the earth" award a few thousand times over, was kind enough to keep me company, as well as keep me from biting people. Let me tell you, a groggy Armand is a grumpy Armand, but a groggy Armand coming off sedation after a shitty surgery, and also now in an increasing amount of pain, is a whole other kind of treat.

Thank you, honey, for not leaving me.

I guess the awful part is, this is where my day started to go bad.

First, one of the home care nurses came to see how I was doing, and said a home care nurse would visit me at home to change my "first dressing". I said that I was already booked for the first dressing change at the Cancer Center for tomorrow morning. She said she'd look into it.

In the meantime, this wonderful, spreading, itching rash that's left me with blotchy hives over my hands and right arm was acting up again (go go gadget chemotherapy side-effects), and after some debate, we decided I should pay a visit to the Cancer Center and perhaps see my doctor.

Once discharged, following my first (and hopefully last) wheelchair trip to the Cancer Center, I missed a call telling me that I will be visited at home by one of the nurses for a dressing change. As I was listening to the message for said missed call, I got yet another call from the hospital telling me that no, no, I should come to the hospital for the dressing change after all. While on the phone, the nurse-replacement (my supportive care nurse was sick, apparently) came by with word from the doc. 50mg Benadryl + 0.5 hydrocortisone creme + Udderly Smooth. I couldn't help but think of Chris Rock's "Robitussin" sketch.

Wheelchair trip to pharmacy.

Benadryl comes in 100ml bottles... With a concentration of 12.5mg of the active ingredient per table spoon. Now I know I'm anal about some things, but you'd think they'd be able to keep it to one fucking measurement system! Perhaps if they tossed some quarts or maybe some bleeding chevrons in there, it would be obfuscating enough to drive people to stay healthier or something.

While figuring out dosage with the pharmacist (and eventually opting for the pill form, with clearly marked dosage), I also had the distinct pleasure of having some underparented runt ram into my wheelchair several times in order to reach to the candy bar display under the counter. I was holding the interac machine at that moment, and the thought of how quick and easy it would be to choke the life out of the little shit with the cord crossed my mind more than once. Oh, I'm so happy chemotherapy made me sterile.

While waiting at the hospital entrance for my mother to come pick us up, I got yet another call from the hospital: my dressing change will now take place on friday at a clinic down the road from the hospital.

What a fucking joke.

* grammar lesson: Although we're generally taught to say "...and I" when referring to the company of another person, that is oftentimes wrong. The best way to tell whether you should be using "and I" or "and me" is to take the other individual out of the sentence. Thus, my dearest momsy gave [...] me a ride to the hospital. You see what I did there? Word magic!

What, I believe in good grammar.

18 comments:

Tori said...

My god, it seems like nothing has gone smoothly for you since this shit started in...October?

I would make us both uncomfortable by awkwardly hugging you right now, if I could.

deborah d. lattimore said...

oh armand. i know it's not funny and you had a perfectly shitty day and it all sucks, but you had me laughing so hard i was crying. especially "that's funny..." you are really something else. i swear this will be such a great bestseller. i hope to present you tomorrow with a knee-slapping rendition of my first chemo day, but nothing i do can be as funny as the way you describe things. so glad the port is in and you're home.

Ally said...

The Frenchie thanks you for the grammar lesson which was much needed and will improve my knowledge of your language.
I was persuaded Inspector Gadget was french and thanks to you I just discovered that he isn't. So thanks for this too.
I'm sorry things went so badly and I hope you'll forget all this shit soon when it's over.
Go go gadget arms for a round the world hug! Ouch sorry I didn't mean to touch your port-a-carth, it's just hard to be precise we thousands of kilometres long arms...

Holly said...

i believe in good grammar too and i believe in you - you are an amazing guy! i send you hugs...or is it me send you hugs???

Sea and Sky said...

The grammar lesson cracked me up... lol :D
I'm glad this annoying port-a-cath procedure is behind you, and I'm sorry that it sucked.

Armand said...

Tori: Actually pretty much August.....

Deborah: I'm glad my misfortune delights you ;) No, it's as I keep saying: gotta keep laughing at it, 'cause once you stop laughing, you start crying.

Ally: Hehe, thanks. I always wondered how ol' Gadget could retain accuracy at such distances.

Holly: Thank you for your kind words. You know, there's a book I've been meaning to read. It's called "Me Talk Pretty One Day". I have no idea what it's about, but the title cracks me up every time I see it at Chapters.

Sea and Sky: Provided it works fine, I'm glad I did it, and yes, I'm glad it's over. I'm really not looking forward to having to go more or less through the same thing again, to take it out, but alas...

Nico said...

Sweet crap!

So much to comment upon...

The procedure: a raving LOL at your undying ability to phrase even the most gruesome, frightening, and painful in a humorous manner... But at the same time... You poor f***er... For God's sake, you deserve to win 6/49 or something! Twice!

Melissa, who has by now qualified for the "most wonderful girlfriend on the face of the earth" award a few thousand times over...
You really have someone special in Melissa! Thank God.

this is where my day started to go bad.
The italics were a nice touch! I can just imagine your tone... ...you poor guy!

The brat at the drugstore: God that kills me. I firmly believe you'd actually be a PARENT, though, if called to be... you know — the kind that actually gives a rat's testicle about their kid(s)... moot as that point may be at the moment.

While waiting at the hospital entrance for my mother to come pick us up
I'm pretty sure I saw her on her way! I was coming from the Doc's office on Pine. I flashed my lights at her and waved, and she looked at me like "who the f*** are you, anyway?" It was amusing.

What, I believe in good grammar.
I'm glad I'm not the only one, although you have highlighted an error frequently committed by yours truly.

What a fucking joke. AMEN! 'Nuff said.

Armand said...

Nick: If I stop laughing at it, I'll start crying. I'm lucky to have good people in my life, and... well, that's about the only thing for which I can consider myself lucky.

Kate said...

Your photo in the hospital gowns? Were you actually singing 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart? Because... it looks like you were.

Hurr hurr.

Corrine said...

I am so sorry. This actually made me feel anxious, and I didn't have to deal with it. Such a horrifying experience. I cannot fathom why the dr didn't stop when you could still feel everything.

Armand said...

Kate: Funny you should say that. That song is following me around... The first time I registered (some 90 minutes too late) for the port-a-cath insertion, that song was playing on the radio in the registration room, and I was bitching about how much I hate it.


Corrine: They just kept pumping me with more and more freezing. Hoo boy... They had to give me 2x the dose at the first site, because my pain threshold went through the floor since I got sick, and then that didn't work, so they had to give me 2x the dose again at the second site. Fucking sucked...

Sarah said...

Oh man. I just read this now. I was wondering how things were doing. This probably sounds lame, but you're brave! Just reading about this scares me.

Armand said...

Sarah: Wish I could say it was any less awful than it sounds. Thank you, though. You are sweet.

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