Wednesday, 13 February 2008

My Weekly Flush

Yesterday I made my weekly trip to Cancer Care Manitoba at the St. Boniface locatiion.  I have PICC care once a week and it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.  While I was there I thought I might describe the PICC care and the chemotherapy rooms for all you lucky people that hopefully will never ever have to receive this care or enter these rooms.

A PICC is a long, flexible tube that is put into a vein in your arm and threaded up into a large vein just above your heart. It is used for giving fluids or drug treatment into your bloodstream. PICC stands for "Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter".  The picture above is just like my PICC only mine comes out three inches higher on th arm.  (Did you notice a ring of ownership in the 'mine' if you did you are quite correct as I love my PICC line and am quite attached to it.  It has saved me grief beyond grief.)

I'm getting dropped to the door of Cancer Care for chemo or PICC care usually first thing in the morning.  My rides are either Nadalene, Jacquie, or Gilbert.  I walk straight to the elevator and arrive at the first floor.  Off I get and walk down a long hall to the back reception area where I am always greeted by the smiling Terry (I could tell from the start that she was a sweethearted person).  Terry gives my file to a clerk and I am brought down another long hallway where I pass three treatment rooms with beds (where I usually have my blood transfusions), there are two bathrooms in this hallway as well (we need them often because we are getting so much fluid so it is important to know where they are).  

I am now at the far end of the hospital with the clerk and she puts my file on the nurses' desk and I take a seat in a blue recliner.  When the nurse comes I am offered a pillow
and a blanket.

At this back area there are four recliners for the 'cancer putter-up with' and a chair beside each recliner for the 'cancer putter-up with's sidekick of the day.'  There is another room with four recliners on the other side of a wall, as well there are two beds with curtains that can be pulled around them.  Also, there are curtains that can be pulled around each recliner.

Unfortunately there are too many people with cancer and these chairs and beds are in constant use.  I like an early appointment so that I can get a chair in a corner by the window when I am getting chemo or my monthly treatment of Pamidronite (for my bones).  For the PICC it doesn't matter because I am in for such a short time.

Every week I get my PICC line flushed out and I get the dressing changed.  Piece of cake.  Speaking of cake, I almost forgot to mention that besides having absolutely wonderful nurses, they have a great volunteer staff as well.  We don't get offered cake but we do get offered cookies and if you are there over lunch you are given a choice of soup.  I always get either the chicken noodle or the cream of mushroom.

When I am having chemo or a blood transfusion I can be there for 3/4 of a day so I always have someone come and bring me lunch or just stay and visit for awhile.  For the blood transfusion I have had Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Jacquie and Shelly.  For the chemo I have had Wahid, Jacquie, Colette, Angelique, Nadalene, and Nathan all stay the day with me.

 When Wahid, Angelique and Nadalene were all at work, Nathan had Fridays off of school so he always brought me.  It was always fun with Nathan and for some reason the time would fly.  One time we brought all of our income tax stuff and I taught Nathan how to do it.  Next thing I knew while we sat there he did everybody elses too.  

Another time that sticks out in my mind was when the nurse Tammy was going to give me my first treatment of FEC (I was really afraid of this because I had heard all the horror stories, by the way, they are justified.)  Tammy was going to manually inject the E in the FEC (Fluorouracil (5FU), epirubicin and cyclophosphamide, it is a chemo cocktail with three different drugs) which is red in colour (its alias is the Red Devil) and I had told Nathan ahead of time that I was dreading it.  At that point, he pulled out a Maxim magazine and asked Tammy and I a questionnaire on what we thought men think of different subjects.  It was so interesting and Tammy and I were so into it, that before I knew it she had finished injecting the epirubicin and the 5FU.

I am thankful to all of the wonderful people that have made this horrible experience more easy to swallow.  I am sorry that my family had to go through this with me and it makes me sad for myself and for them.  I love you all.


Deanna said...

Oh Renee...wouldn't the team leaders at Rev. Canada be happy to know what you were up to...imagine, tax returns being completed (correctly)at the hospital!!
I love the way you've managed to find even small bits of humor in this horror. I'm a real believer that laughter and positive attitudes will take you far.

Love ya!

Mickey said...

I wish you never had to go through any of this. I HATE CANCER....I LOVE YOU.

Deborah said...

You have raised some mighty fine children there. You have made the world a better place.