It's a rough day here on Tuesday as I write this – heavy fatigue from the new chemotherapy regimen I began last week has slowed me way down; I'm napping a lot.
In the past, I was lucky to need only about an hour's infusion; now it's five or six hours.
Actually, most of that time is taken up with infusions of medications to keep nausea and other side effects at bay. The chemo is only an hour or so at the end of the session.
But they thought up a new “treat” for me this time - wearing a chemo body pump at home for two days afterwards, like an across-the-chest pocketbook. It's about the size of a large cell phone plugged into the permanent port in my chest for an addition infusion.
Of course, I can't shower for two days – the pump must remain dry - so I try to keep my distance from people I run into because I'm probably kind of stinky for those days.
And it's just a joke getting in and out of clothes trying to keep that line from the pump to the port from getting twisted or yanked out while taking a sweater or nightgown off and on.
At one point I somehow got the line strung all the way through a sleeve and it took ten minutes to get that sorted out.
This is high-tech, modern medicine but sometimes you end up feeling like a three-year-old who doesn't know which shoe goes on which foot.
The thing is programmed to stop pumping after 46 hours after which I was scheduled to go to the clinic to have it removed.
Here's the fun part when that happened: So I'm working at the computer when the most ungodly loud alarm goes off. Truly screeching at me. The sound seemed to be coming from under the desk – you know, where that mess of cables that connects the computer and peripherals is plugged into the surge protector.
Clang, clang, clang, clang went the alarm like the loudest fire engine siren rattling my brain. Clang, clang, clang, clang. Fearing smoke or fire might erupt, I crawled under the desk with a flashlight and unplugged all the devices – all eight or ten plugs – while being careful not to bang into or lean on the pump, not an easy trick when you're mildly panicked.
Nothing. The screeching continued. Then I thought maybe it was coming from somewhere in the kitchen but nothing there was amiss. I stood around for a bit until dummy here (that's me) finally realized it must be the damned body pump.
Sure enough – I'd forgotten they told me it would “beep” when it was done. BEEP, you say? I'm still half deaf from it.
I finally managed to turn it off but if any of you know the difference between a Stop/Start button and an On/Off button, please do tell me. I punched both of them several times before the alarm finally stopped.
Or maybe it's just chemo brain that made my mind go too fuzzy to think straight.
I'm sure TGB readers who have themselves been through this and other unexpected complications of cancer treatment have your stories. As exhausted as we can be when these mishaps occur, the only useful way to deal with it is to just laugh at yourself, do the best you can and then go back to bed.