I've been in Phoenix since the 10th of January. Today was my third blood treatment, but more importantly the second this week. The goal was to be strong enough to handle two in one week. And despite understanding behavioral medicine, and the theory behind it, I can almost guarantee that even if I had 50 of these treatments I would be as nervous for the 51st as the 1st. Part of the problem is that they are a bit unpredictable depending on your hydration, overall well being, thickness of your blood, plumpness of your veins - you get the picture. There are many variables that determine weather the treatment will go like clockwork or go like today.
Normally during these procedures, I grill my doctor on personal details of her life so I can be distracted that at the moment I feel like a victim of a vampire - this normally works quite well, and she is generous enough of spirit to go along with my banter. Its quite impressive how she can do this all the while being laser focused on the procedure she is performing. Its much like the surgeons, or the fictionalized versions I see first had on Grey's Anatomy, having a heart in their hand while discussing so and so's recent breakup.
I knew I was going to get the treatment today. I knew its what I needed, and I had a feeling that she would go ahead with it. So while I started out quite brave in heart, I quickly became a chatter box one minute, closing my eyes the next listening to Adele, and then like at funeral when you are so upset you burst out laughing - well I had that emotion too. We started on the left arm, and the blood was just not moving into the tube, then switched to a butterfly. This isn't working, need to switch arms, clamp, hold - can I get a homeopathic to calm me down, in a second - your blood can't clot here - okay too much information poke me again - this time, working much better, after five not so pleasant in vein movements of the needle. Then, time to get my clean blood back, hallelujah! Wait, not working again, won't back in either. Stop, hold, re-prick - new vein.
At this juncture I have moved to discussing my doctor's possible bathroom renovation, I would have been more invasive in my questioning, but there was a young man next to me getting an IV and even in my delusional keeping hysteria at bay state, I wouldn't ask if she was dating with someone else in the room - it was a nice check on my mental state, I hadn't yet gone off the deep end. So countertop options would have to make do.
Forty-five minutes later - I think - I have no concept but it felt like an eternity, it was over. And again, I felt like bursting into tears - but I didn't, I made it, and now after feeling like a just got through the iron man, I'm in bed - but you see the silver lining is yesterday I had an hour.
I went to the pool, did my leisurely laps, took a shower at the hotel and when I was getting dressed I looked in the mirror, and my old self was staring back at me. My eyes were brighter, I wasn't so puffy from swollen lymph nodes under my neck, I looked alive. And when I got back, my boyfriend commented that I looked really chipper - and that's the thing - I was. I had one hour, one hour where emptying the dishwasher was a piece of cake, my body didn't hurt everywhere, my head felt clear and my nerves felt calm - and that hour is worth every minute of the draconian procedure that much like Edward loves Bella, where he loves her but is afraid he will kill her, that's how I feel about these treatments - two contradicting emotions at the exact same time - because that hour was priceless.
If that hour can turn into two, then four then a day or a week - I'll do it again and again. And we are thinking sand color for the countertops -
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