Cancer Journal 19, 2019 and Dinners and Netflix Entertainment

Yesterday, the second chemo treatment was administered. It’s a long process, beginning with “backwashing the chemo port,” as I call it. Actually, it’s just cleaning the port and, I guess, ensuring that the contents of the needle plunged into it will flow properly. I felt the nurse stab the needle into the port this time as if a carpenter’s trim nail had been hammered, somewhat gently, into my chest. It felt like the nail made it only part way into the two-by-four trim beneath. 😉 Actually, it wasn’t bad, just an unexpectedly sharp but quickly passing pain.

From there on, it was the “usual,” as if I know what usual is after only the first treatment three weeks ago. I took a pill, an anithistimine I think, and the nurse began the rather tedious process of preparing my body for the onslaught of poisonous chemicals.  I really should document each pouch of liquid they pour into me, but I did a poor job of it yesterday. Maybe next time.  To the best of my recollection, she pumped me full of saline solution first, followed by steroids, followed by something else, followed by something else, and then capping it off with a vile mixture of carboplatin and alimpta. She cleaned the stab wound in my chemo-port, covered it with a band-aid, and then went off to find the Neaulasta, the device attached to my body to deliver a dose of drugs that will fend off infection and boost the white blood cell count (that the chemo drugs reduce). This time, I opted to have it attached to my belly, making it easier for me to check to see what the blinking lights on the device are telling me, rather than asking Janine to stop what she’s doing to check. I was concerned about whether the removal of the Neulasta device would interfere with plans for the next night (tonight), when we plan to have dinner out with friends. Based on what the nurse told us, it shouldn’t. The device should inject me sometime well before 7 and I should be able to remove it afterward.

Our plan was, immediately after the chemo treatment, to go visit a friend who was just admitted to the hospital with pneumonia two night earlier on an emergency basis.  Before the treatment was complete, though, he sent me an email telling me it wasn’t a good time, courtesy of drugs he had been administered and the flurry of activities around his bed. We agreed I’d stop by the next morning (this morning) after my radiation treatment, if he was up to it.

Speaking of dinner, as I was a paragraph or so ago, we plan to go to dinner with friends this evening, early. These are the same friends with whom we had dinner a couple of nights ago (our minister and his wife and two other friends from church and the writers’ club). During that dinner, the male component of the nonministerial couple mentioned that a restaurant on the periphery of the Village is celebrating Mardis Gras with what he described as a spectacular Louisiana menu. Among the celebratory menu items, he explained, were ENORMOUS oysters on the half-shell, delivered daily as far as I can tell, from New Orleans and environs. I’ve very rarely (once) had oysters on the half-shell since moving from Dallas. I love oysters. And jambalaya. And gumbo. And all foods from in and around New Orleans. Before the conversation ended, all our calendars had been adjusted to account for our plan to eat dinner together tonight. It will be an early dinner (we’ll meet at 5:30), so we should be home by or around 7:00, when I will remove the Neulasta device from my gut and will dutifully take the drug regimen (a series of three drugs, separated in twenty-minute intervals) designed to minimize or eliminate the burning esophagyeal pain caused by my radiation treatments.

Yesterday afternoon, after we got home from the chemo treatments, I unpacked the Roku Premiere and set it up on the television I watch (my wife has her own in the room we call her “nest”). The purpose of buying the Roku was so I could (I hope) eliminate the stuttering and stopping of movies and series I want to watch on Netflix. I got Roku set up and working just fine, but either the chemo treatment or the fact that I didn’t sleep well the night before or both conspired to quell my television thirst. I went to sleep in my chair, awakened only to the call of dinner. After dinner, I tried again ever-so-briefly to watch television, only to awaken well after 10:30 to discover my wife had already gone to bed.

One day, though, either while I’m in the midst of cancer treatments or after I’m done and feeling “normal” again if that feeling ever returns, I’ll spend time watching films and series I think will appeal to me. I am not committed to watching anything all the way through, though. If I like it, I will watch it. If I find it boring or otherwise unappealing, I won’t. So there you go. As for what I plan to explore on Netflix in the not-too-distant future, they include:

Fauda (season 2), Breathe Normally, Black Earth Rising, Occupied (season 2), Borderliner, Ozark, Close, Deadwind, Minimalisim: A Documentary About the Important Things, 1983, Justice, Roma, When Heroes Fly, Innocent, The Paper, Trotsky, Tabula Rasa, El Ministerio del Tiempo, Peaky Blinders, Wild District, Mad Men, Weeds…there are more, dozens more.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Cancer Journal 19, 2019 and Dinners and Netflix Entertainment

  1. Thanks, Robin. My chemo room also is full of other patients. We all sit in metal semi-recliner chairs that are covered in hideous blue naugahyde fabric. The room, cramped with very little room for people accompanying patients, is full of IV poles decorated with all sizes and shapes of drip bags. All the drip bags are hooked up to electronic devices that sound alarms when the bags approach empty, then periodically “ding” as reminders if the nurses don’ change them right away. I’m doing well today. I appreciate your thinking of me.

  2. Reading this reminds me of the hours I spent at my mom’s side when she was being treated for follicular lymphoma. She was on a chemical drip being administered in a room where several other patients were being treated with their bags and bags of chemical liquids. I hope you are doing well today. Thinking of you.

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