For the last two days I have taken a friend for her chemotherapy at Presbyterian Kaseman Cancer Center. This is the fifth month of a six month round of therapy.
My friend is resilient, independent and self-sufficient. She has no choice. She has no one at home to care for her. Her cancer is stage four.
We check in and go into the center. There is no wait. One of her favorite nurses comes to get her. He brings her into a two recliner room and inserts her IV catheter. Blood is drawn for the labs. Expertly done.
Next is the weigh in and the doctor’s visit. We have the same doctor. Pleasant man. Today he takes all the time she needs and helps her solve the at home nausea problem and he reviews the labs taken 10 minutes ago.
On to the infusion room. It is a squarish room. Large windows, mountain view. Lining the walls are recliners each having an IV pole on a stand with a controller.
The nurse for the day starts a bag of saline running. A warm blanket and pillows appear. A bag of steroids with nausea medication is hung. Followed by medicine to protect her stomach.
That done the nurse appears gowned gloved and masked with the first chemo. The infusion is started. My friend tolerates the infusion. We talk. The oncology dietitian stops by for a visit. Someone offers us snacks.
I step out for lunch. My friend has a sandwich and a banana. The last bag is hanging.
I am surprised to see that most patients have no one with them to offer support and to while away the time. I expected someone to be there for each. Life would be so much better if there were.
Next day was a shorter version of the first. All went well.
Hopefully, her nausea is under control. Today she did express a need for a hamburger. Tomorrow, if her night goes well, we will stop at Fuddruckers on the way to our cancer rehab class on managing fatigue.