Today brought sunshine to Los Angeles, temperatures in the 70s and another round of chemo for me.
Today’s nurse is named Joyce; a tiny bundle of energy with an easy to remember name. Even with chemo brain…I’ll get to that in a while.
Session #2 was rather pleasant. My brand new PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) was working well, which meant I wasn’t poked with a hypodermic needle all day. I sat warm and comfy in the big easy chair working on my iPad. Joan sat nearby, happily enmeshed in her newspapers. (Joan reads not one, but two papers every day of the week. If the newspaper industry cloned Joan, their future might not loom so bleak.)
Once the benadryl (AKA “benaDROOL”) hit, my morning took on a definite glow. I felt relaxed and optimistic, somewhere between a Donovan (“Sunshine Superman”) song and the theme of the “Small World” ride at Disneyland. Actually, I felt like the ride itself, probably due to listening in on conversations carried on in Tagalog, Cantonese, Spanish and Los Angelese by neighboring patients. I am now part of a large, multi-ethnic tribe of those fighting cancer, mano a mano.
Courtesy of the PICC line, bag after bag was fed into the large vein near my heart, with nary a nasty side effect.
By 12:15pm I was released. I stood up, and my new chemo brain kicked in. Chemo brain should come labeled, “Warning: you soon will be transformed from a responsible, reasonably intelligent adult to a inwardly drooling victim of ‘Huh?’ Syndrome.”
Joan drove me to another Kaiser building for PICC line maintenance. That procedure flew by without a hitch, then we walked to a nearby Mexican restaurant. After ordering our food, I realized I had my purse, but not my iPad.
Panicking, I dashed back to the Kaiser building we’d just left. No iPad. I had them call the infusion center I’d spent the morning in. No iPad.
It turns out, the iPad was never missing; it was in our car, where I left it during the drive between appointments. The only thing missing was any memory of my having been in a car between the appointments. I was under the impression we’d somehow walked the distance between the 1515 N. Vermont and 1505 Edgemont buildings. Doable, if we had lots of time and more energy. But not something that happened today. I finally realized this upon firing up the “Find my iPad” app on my phone. It took lots of work to reconstruct the missing trip in my loopy little chemo brain.
My memory used to be quite a point of pride to me. I spent my youth impressing English teachers by being able to recite very long poems, choir directors by always knowing the lyrics, lovers by memorizing what lovers enjoy one memorizing, and myself by commiting to memory seldom-performed verses of favorite show tunes.
Oh well. If this memory problem stays with me, I’ll need to begin wearing my glasses around my neck on a chain a la “Marian the Librarian”, jot down notes to remind myself what I’m doing, and remember to review said notes.
Back at the Mexican restaurant, I ate my tepid meal. The tacos de carnitas had the faint metallic taste chemotherapy lends to food, as did the beans and rice, and the otherwise delicious glass of jamaica I managed to inhale. The bitterness was there, but not pronounced enough to forgo eating.
Luckily, I’ve always been a fancier of the acerbic; in personalities and in food. You could say that I like my food (and my women) to bite back. A little bitterness in life can be something to savor; in food, in loves, and in recollections of my formerly prodigious memory. Four more weeks to go; then chemo brain will too be…just a memory.