Tuesdays from the chemo unit, Mar 20, 2012


It’s a beautiful spring day here in Toronto. I was happy to have my usual walk through Chinatown this morning, despite running late. Today I particularly noticed the beautiful Van Gogh inspired mural on the paint store at the corner of Huron and Baldwin. Big swirling strokes of blues, greens and yellows stand out among the winter brown of the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile at the chemo unit…..

I was thinking about beepers today. Once you have checked in at reception and received your little bracelet (one receptionist always calls them diamonds and sapphires), you are given a beeper that allows you to roam while you wait your turn. Everyone sits around the waiting room clutching their beepers, waiting for the magic moment.

The beepers are loud. They are meant to be heard. Everyone in the waiting room hears every beeper. If you happen to have it down on a counter or table, the sound is amplified five-fold. There is no discreet way to be beeped.

When mine beeps, I feel as if I have won the lottery or as if I have rolled up the rim to win the fancy car.   I guiltily go to claim my prize, feeling apologetic toward those that have not yet won theirs.  It may seem strange to have the words “I won” and “the chemo unit” in the same sentence, but it’s the way I feel. I get a little frisson of excitement when mine goes off. “Bingo!!” I want to yell.

When the pager goes off, I’m directed to a particular chair number in a particular unit. My winning number this time was lucky chair number 51.

Today, in addition to my regular medication, I received an iron infusion. The treatment sounds like something that I might get at the spa. “Oh yes, darling, you must get the iron infusion. It will do wonders for your skin tone. ” I appreciate getting the iron, it makes a huge difference to my energy. But I must say it is disconcerting to have something so brown flowing into my body.

Now I’m just imagining the little molecules of iron coursing through my body, telling everybody else to get out of the way and pumping up the energy. Go little iron molecules!



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