Joan and I spent the better part of yesterday, 7 hours, at Kaiser. We arrived early to get the necessary chemo blood work done. Woo hoo; I passed! Had a pleasant late breakfast in their cafeteria. Hey, any cafeteria serving up freshly made biscuits and gravy along with the oatmeal, yogurt and tofu is alright with me! Then, up to the 8th floor for the first of two second line chemo treatments. In a little after 10am, out around 3:30pm. Nurse Yvonne took care of me with her usual calm, down-to-earth efficiency, and the session went well with nary a hint of scary side effects beyond usual benadryl-induced spaciness. Even got some work projects wrapped up via iPad…AFTER benadryl wore off.
Joan and I were “treated” to listening to the neighboring patient’s choice of entertainment: Jerry Springer and his circus of PWT dysfunctionals. This episode featured a daughter, in her 20s, and her not quite middle-aged mother, who were fighting over the same creepy man (daughter had 3 kids by him from teenaged affair). As planned, mom and daughter engaged in obligatory name-calling, escalating to a hairpulling, bitch-slap fest. All this backed by a chorus of “JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!” from the audience, who seemed to be hoping for a bloodbath.
At that point, Nurse Yvonne came to our rescue and got neighbors to turn down their tv volume. Whew!
My take-away: maybe my relationship with my mom isn’t so difficult after all. My mother, for all her quirks, never once stole one of my boyfriends…or girlfriends. And, while I’m capable of swearing like a merchant marine, I would never use those terms against my mother. In 57 years, I’ve heard my mother say, “damn” once…and it was directed at my father, who deserved that and more. And, the only slapping between mom and me was a few rare whacks to my seat…all administered long before I ventured near puberty.
So, thank you, Jerry Springer! You’ve made me grateful for three things:
- I never have to listen to Jerry Springer again (will bring ear buds to next chemo session…just in case).
- My wife will probably never dump me for my mother.
- Feeling morally superior, however briefly, to Jerry’s guests…and audience. It distracted me from worrying…and that’s worth something.
My next chemo session is scheduled for May 20. Then, we wait a month for another scan to see if all that extra carboplatin and taxol worked. The concurrent radiation and chemo therapies I underwent in February and March seem to have obliterated the tumor that had completely blocked one of my airways. There was a modest shrinkage to the other tumor and cancerous lymph nodes. I’m rooting for this heavier chemo to bitch-slap the remaining cancer right out of my body; even if it rips the rest of my hair out in the process.
(JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!)