Surviving In This Very Moment…

My Personal Battle with Prostate Cancer … And Life!

Infusions, Doctors and Life Generally

Infusions, Doctors and Life Generally

Infusions, Doctors and Life Generally

As I was sitting in the very comfortable reclining chair getting hooked up for my sixth infusion of antibiotics to deal with the  resistant echoli strain that has seen fit to invade my body, I was struck by the idea that since my cancer diagnosis, surgery, and recovery period, I have slowed down. Now slowing down is a good thing. It began when I took off my watch forcing me to be less concerned with time in general. While the act of refusal to recognize time as a constraint was difficult at first, it has become a blessing. To not feel the urgency of time makes the time I have more precious; something akin to a gift from myself to myself. At the same time, I have not lost my appetite for punctuality. This may seem a contradiction but I think it is not. When everything is run by the clock then punctuality is an obsession but when I take the time to just take in what is there, punctuality becomes an ethical act; an act of respect for the other whether the other is driven by the clock or not.

So sitting in that chair, talking to Cynthia, the nurse administering the antibiotic, I noticed all of the surroundings, the pictures on the wall, the clock with the broken second hand, the smell and taste of the antibiotic as it drips into my veins. In the moment of that half hour of dripping solutions I was at one with the universe.

Since taking off the watch six or so months ago the world seems to spin at a slower pace. Of course it isn’t the case but the fact that I take the time to notice things I didn’t have the time to notice before is a bonus that was totally unexpected. I hear the voices of doctors as they try to figure out what is going on with me and find the urgency of one doc countered by the patience of another as they look at the results of the data. One doc looks at a number and nearly panics while the other looking at the same numbers takes the approach of waiting to see how the whole picture develops before striking out with a treatment plan. I think that one should never treat a number, rather one should look at the whole picture and treat the cause of the abnormal data that emerges over time. Jumping in without all the facts is as dangerous as denial of the emerging data. While one cannot be absolutely certain when incomplete data is present, one cannot allow oneself to be driven by the presence of a single abnormal number either. That too is an insight I learned after taking off my watch and allowed myself the luxury of observation.

As an aside, I found it interesting that even with the PICC line inserted I had to be stuck to draw blood in my internist’s office. What a waste of a good PICC line. When in the infusion center blood was also drawn and the same blood numbers will be analyzed. Why twice? Could it be profits are involved?


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5 thoughts on “Infusions, Doctors and Life Generally

  1. I’ve always been anxious about schedules, being late, missing the boat, as it were. According to family lore, my great grandmother emigrated to this country from Finland in place of her older sister, who contracted influenza just prior to her scheduled departure. Maria Sofia got to come to America instead. She caught the boat. I suspect that anxiety has been handed down three generations to me.

  2. Roger,
    I remember you talking about not being so concerned about time a while back. I really could relate to that.
    In regards to the blood draw, I will give you my example of how I handled that myself. First —you may not have known they were going to draw blood at the IV infusion center. So you went ahead with the draw at the doc’s office. There are some labs that need a before and after level done. For example if it is a certain antibiotic-they may need to keep up with its levels so you are getting therapeutic to get the optimal results. On the other hand what I think more than likely has happened is that the doctor has forgotten he ordered certain tests all ready at one place and than he reorders them while you are at his office!!! Brain Farts are normal things with DRS!
    I would question every stick you get. DO NOT let them stick you again like that. You always have a choice. I refused several times when I was sick and they left me alone..I made the RN’s also declog my PICC line so when they said they could not draw blood–I knew they could FIX this line with a heparin flush. Hope this bit of info. helps you . : )

  3. Much like my experience. My mother stressed the fact that ten minutes early is on time and nothing else will do. What a relief for me to break that cycle and not stress about time. Sure, I still revert to the old anxious behavior but when I have no quick reference to time (my watch that is no longer there) I am reminded that it is all a grand hoax that I am engaged in and so I step back a bit and try to smell the roses.

  4. Thanks for the advice Alesia. Before I read your comment I saw my internist and strongly suggested that he coordinate labs between all the many doctors I am seeing now. No need for a double draw. Interesting though, the infectious disease doc and my internist sent blood to two different labs and the results on key numbers, while close, were different. I have no way to tell whether the differences were statistically significant but it does point out that these are merely numbers and that one cannot make hasty decisions based on a single number and a single lab result. It is the trend that counts and I am now trending in the right direction. As to the PICC line, the nurse flushes with saline both before and after an infusion and after the saline flush also injects heparin into the line as a precaution. Between the heparin and the Pradaxa I take as a blood thinner that clogged lines are not going to be an issue.
    Also, I thought the post stressed the idea that my earlier obsession with time was pretty much a thing of the past. I am comfortable without a watch on my wrist and, while I still think that it is important to be on time for a scheduled meeting, I am not allowing time to get in the way of my enjoying the moment. I absolutely insist on enjoying life and as long as I am able I intend to slow down and not move too fast. The great pitcher Satchel Page once remarked when he was asked about his secret to a very long career, “Don’t look back, you never know who is gaining on you.” No regrets, just experiences to savor over and over. Nothing remains the same so I refuse to fall asleep in the passenger seat of the car. There is always something new to see even when going past a place for the umteenth time!

  5. Pingback: Saying Goodbye to my PICC Line and More | Surviving In This Very Moment...

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