No Spring Chicken #11
I hate praying to Ralph, the great porcelain god. Before today I hadn't done it since my college days and a little incident involving a pint of scotch, followed by 1 1/2 fifths cherry flavored vodka - straight. This time I felt so much better than the first day of the last chemo treatment. So today I ate a big dinner (for me). Then my stomach began complaining and I found the pills they gave me for nausea and took one. 10 minutes later I'm offerring dinner (and the pill) to the statue of Ralph in the bathroom. Then later, about bedtime, I was feeling a little unsteady in the stomach, so I once again took one of those pills. Within 10 minutes I'm back on my knees before the statue of Ralph, again, with only a little liquid (and the pill) to lose this time. About the time I turned out the light (I read for a couple hours because my stomach was still not right) I got that unsteady feeling and was able to stave off any more prayers with spitting out the bile as fast as it came up. Then I took some Pepto to sooth things. Within 30 minutes I'm back praying to Ralph and making "offerings", again. Pink offerrings this time. One more offerring and the night was complete. Sheese. Last time I was too tired to eat after the treatment, so I didn't suffer any of that. Now I know better. Trust me, it is not better to have eaten and lost then never to have eaten at all.

When Janet & I got married, 38+ years ago, I wasn't the least bit nervous. Not as the day approached and not at the alter. I knew it was the right thing to do, and I've been proved right over the years. My uncle kept saying (on the day) that he had brought his porsche and we could outrun them if I wanted to get away. I wasn't really interested in that. While I didn't get nervous, I did, however, get clumsy. Not sure why, I just started dropping and spilling things. With about 5 days to go, when I dropped my second full pitcher of beer at Shakeys, where I worked, they sent me home and told me to come back after the honeymoon. I don't get nervous before going on stage, either. I just have to go to the bathroom. Doesn't matter if I just did, I have to go. It goes away the instant I step on stage. So it isn't any surprise that I wasn't nervous about the second chemo treatment on Friday. It surprised me a bit when I couldn't sleep the night before, though. OK, I got about four hours of sleep, then woke up and read until it was time for the alarm. But I did sleep on the ferry. Then again in the chair while they were pumping chemicals into me. I suspect that I was keyed up because this is my test weekend. We'll see on Sunday and Monday if I feel good enough to sing and if I don't I need to back out of singing Valentines this year. Because that falls on Sunday and Monday right after my February chemo treatment. So there is a bit riding on how this comes out.

Two new nurses for me this time. Marion, who sings Karaoke, jogs or cycles each morning, is a Virgo with my mom's birthday and loves my mustache, and Jennifer, who also sings karaoke and loves the mustache. They didn't know that anyone actually made mustache wax. Since I'm a singer, cyclist and Virgo, too, Marion gave me one of the delicious pasteries that she brought in to work today. Mmmmm. Now I'm spoiled. Of course, when they cost $42 for a dozen they ought to be good. She went to a french bakery expecting to spend $15 on doughnuts. These were not doughnuts, and they cost like it. But they sure were good. Rich and buttery and oh so fattening. Leah was there to "drug me up", too, on Friday. Thanks to her efforts I had no trouble with the Rituxan this time. So I can go full speed next time and it should only take 45 minutes or thereabouts. Instead of the 3 hours I've been taking with gradual increases in flow rate. It was Rabia (whom I met last time around) who had the medicines for me on Saturday, and she adjusted the nausea medicines and reminded me that the lorazipan could be put under the tongue where it would disolve quickly and get directly into the blood stream without fear of heaving it up with the other stomach contents.

I had to go find Janet on Friday. She had stepped out to use the restroom while we were in the waiting room, and when Marion came and got me I went back to one of the rooms. I expected her to come looking, but she didn't. So I went out to the lobby and found her. Marion had already inserted the infusion point (I can't call them needles, there is no needle involved, and they call them "IVs", but that seems like what it is used for, not what it is) and taken the initial blood for the lab work that preceeds any chemo treatment. Now I'm awaiting the doctor who is doing rounds in the hospital. I'm scheduled to see him in a few minutes, but there is no telling when he'll come. But they won't start the chemo until he approves. In fact, they don't order the chemicals from the lab downstairs until he signs off on it. After that it takes about 45 minutes to get started.

I mentioned they don't use needles. The thing they stick in you is a very thin, flexible plastic tube. When they put it in there is a thin, stiff wire down the middle, which they then pull out. That leaves no metal in it so they can put you in a cat-scan machine or do most anything else to you without worrying about magnetic problems. This can make the things a lot more comfortable, since there is nothing real stiff stuck into you. As long as things are taped down straight. I don't know who designed this method, but it really is superior to what they used to do. Because the tube doesn't have to be sturdy enough to poke through your skin or blood vessel walls it can be very flexible and much thinner. The wire that provided the stiffness is taken out once the device has been inserted, so everything is very flexible at that point and much thinner than a needle would be.

When we went home Friday afternoon I zonked out and slept until about 8. Then I thought I ought to eat something, since I hadn't had much lunch (didn't feel like eating it all), so I ate more dinner than I should have. Bad choice. Hence, my visits to Ralph's temple.

Saturday we spent some time getting the nausea problems handled, then whipped right through a quick infusion of the Bendamustine. Then make sure we had the meds available at home and off we went. I used the direct phone line to yellow cab to call a cab and the dispatcher said, "10 minutes". By the time I walked the 50' to where I could see out the window I could see a yellow cab waiting out there at the curb. So we went and checked, and he had just been called by dispatch for us. Reminds me of the Sci-Fi story about the guy who invented an instant delivery system that could send a package anywhere in the galaxy instantly. But during trials a package didn't show up when it was expected. Turns out the shipper had told them, "I want it there yesterday!", so it showed up the day before and was sitting on on a shelf because no one picked it up.

Now I'm sitting here watching NFL playoff games and wondering whether to eat anything or not. Probably not. Maybe just one cookie. The peanutbutter cookies are getting old. And one cookie isn't a lot of food. There is protein in the nuts, too. Maybe I'll check them out in a little bit. Or I could go with my old comfort food of chicken-noodle soup.

Who won't donate any more offerings to Ralph