Yesterday afternoon I had the worst time I’ve had yet with chemo.
I went in as usual to get plugged in for my three day stint. I showed the doc what was happening with my skin. There was gleeful hand rubbing.
“what you have is probably about a 2 out of 5.. no 6!”
“I don’t find that comforting, doc.”
We elected to wait until tuesday (today) to do the erbitux, just to avoid a full six hours in the chair. So what I had was identical to what I was getting every two weeks for those six months in 08/09.
As we were finishing up, and he was setting up the pump to send me home, I started to feel nauseous. I decided to sit for a moment before leaving. It finally overcame me and I went to the bathroom to puke. Felt much better then, and decided that I should probably make a break for it and head home.
I went outside and flagged down a cab (those of you who know me know that this is already pretty grim). I got in.
“122nd and Manhattan ave, please”
We were at a light. There was a pause. I looked around the cab.. looked out the window.
“Um. I’m really sorry. I’m going to vomit. I think I’d better get out.”
I got out of the car and went to a trash can, and puked up something that I know I hadn’t eaten.. Foam and sickly yellow bile. On the upper east side of NYC. People walking by. “drunk..” they were thinking. “how embarrassing at 2:30 in the afternoon.”
This is when I made what, in retrospect, I realize was a really bad decision. Once again, I felt as though puking had fixed me up a little. I really wanted to get home. So I decided to walk. I was only a half block from my doctors office, but wanted to be home. It’s only three miles. And I knew that if I stated by walking across central park, I could take a cab, or the train, on the other side if I felt that the fresh air had fixed me up enough.
As I entered the park, I called Hill. Realized that I was having a little trouble speaking. Tried to tell her the situation, but just at the mention of puking I had to do some more, “I have to get off the phone..”
She called me back 5 minutes later. Enough time for me to scare some more upper east siders.
“where are you. I’m coming to find you.”
I told her were I was headed, and kept picking my way across the park. I didn’t get too far. I stopped on a bench for a while.. puked over the back of it, and then just settled into the grass where I thought I might be more comfortable. I simply couldn’t move. Every three minutes or so I would puke up more bile. This seemed to be accompanied with intestinal spasms, and before long I was aware that my shit bag was filling up with what I had to guess was diarrhea. I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt more powerless. Where on earth was the steel will when I needed it! I could feel my brain drifting back into my head taking a more and more dreamy observant roll.
By the time Hill found me, I was collapsed on the ground, exhausted. I knew it would still be impossible to get in a cab. At this point we were about a third of the way into the park and the only way to get back out was to walk. The most pressing issue *cough* had become the fact that my shit bag was full to bursting with what I knew was going to be some pretty messy shit.
Hill called the office to see if we could come back and use the bathroom. After pointing out that he was aware that I was vomiting, and there was nothing he could do for it, he said that he was on his way out, but that Dianne was there and of course we could come back. Hill helped me up and we started to walk. Longest half mile ever. I realized just how cold I had gotten from being under dressed on the cold damp ground. The neuropathy in my hands and face had kicked in full force. I was numb. One numb hand in my vest pocket to stay warm. The other down my pants to keep the shit bag from unclasping, or falling off. Staggering down the street with HIll holding me up.. “Oh my.. some nice cyclist girl decided to help that drunk homeless man.. I wonder if she knows what she’s getting herself into?” If they knew just what a profound question that was, they’d demand that she be canonized on the spot.
We got back to office. Barely. I had to run to the toilet and let loose.. first from the top. Then emptied the bag. It was full. Absolutely full. I would have to guess that in its full state it holds a shade under a liter. I released the velcro clasp and the thing ruptured into the toilet.. mostly.. and before I could clean it up and re close the bag another volley passed right through it. Up to a liter now, no question.
I went back to the chemo chair I’d been in all day and collapsed. They covered me in blankets, but I was still shaking uncontrollably. My temperature was 92.5. That’s a little low.
I was still farther back in my brain at this point. Aware of people speaking, but nearly unable to respond. They were just a couple of feet away speaking about me in the third person. I tried to drink some water. It came back up. It was pretty clear that I had become severely dehydrated. The doc came back from his home. They dripped me with lots of fluids and some anti-nausea, and some benedryl. I dozed in and out, convulsing under the covers a little less and less. An hour or so later, my body had calmed down.
My prize for all of this is that the doc disconnected the pump and sent me home without it for the night.
Hill’s brother, Tripp is in town, and he came into the office as well. Accompanied me home in a cab while hill rode (she arrived as we put the key in the door). I lay on the couch and ate crackers. My folks came by. Emily made a big pot of beautiful soup. My mom rubbed my feet. I felt better. I slept well.
Now I need to stop writing and go back in for more.