Today I’m writing from the LCI Pineville infusion room… the first time I’ve actually written my blog while infusion is taking place.
I wish I could give a good view of the room. I took a picture but it really isn’t terribly illustrative of how it actually is. I’ll try describing.
There are stations for each patient complete with shelves and counter tops to each side a TV that you can watch (but I’ve never chosen to), a sort of comfy reclining chair and a bathroom close by. And there is free wifi – actually a pretty good Internet connection – so I can work or play on any device I’d prefer to pass the time. (I don’t have to miss out on billable hours!!)
The mood is generally somber but some days are worse than others. It really depends on the participants for the particular day. Today is OK. No one really looks like they feel awful, most are awake but there is one person sleeping – and even snoring – during her infusion today. The room isn’t full – there are a couple of open chairs and the private room that you can choose if you really want privacy is open. No one is being particularly obnoxious today – as I’ve encountered on some days – and no one is eating anything that smells up the room.
Some days my heart goes out to patients who seem to be suffering. There are several “older” patients that I’ve seen getting infusions who really are having a hard time. Many are alone. It’s not like the person who sits with you can really “do” anything for you, but having the company there is great. It’s a signal to me that I have a support system – people who care. It also ensures that I will be able to get home even if the infusion makes me feel lightheaded or nauseous. Dennis and I don’t talk much during my infusion. I’m usually working on my laptop and he is playing games, looking up stuff or watching things on his iPad. But his presence is important. I said all of that to say that I can’t imagine being here alone. So my heart goes out to those who are.
The infusion nurses are always perky and sweet. I’ve been in enough that most know me so I get greetings from most when I come in. Just as with every other area that I’ve encountered with Levine, the staff are incredibly compassionate and very genuine in their concern for the patients they are working with. It’s a marvelous organization.
Everything is clean but it doesn’t smell clinical or have other smells that you can relate to hospital-type areas. There is a small kitchen with coffee, soda, water and snacks available to patients and those who accompany patients. And a warming cabinet with a ready supply of warm blankets. I’ve only had need for a blanket once…..but they feel absolutely wonderful when you’re chilly. (I know several people who should have one of these warming cabinets in their homes as they are always cold!)
There is an IV rack with 2 monitors at every chair. We know what that is for. There’s quite a bit of activity since we don’t just get our chemo cocktails when we get an infusion.
It goes something like this for me in my present drug series:
- Access port
- Saline flush
- Steroid and nausea meds
- Saline flush
- Benedryl and Pepcid
- Saline flush
- Taxol (the chemo drug for this series)
- Saline flush
- Close port access
They actually need roller skates the way they have to fly about the room to change meds and manage processes. There is almost constant beeping because one of the 10 chairs in this infusion room is apt to be in need of a meds change at any given time. But no matter how chaotic it is or how many patients each one is “handling” they always check to see if you need anything or if you’re having any unusual “feelings.” I’m very well cared for by these ladies and I know that if something were to go wrong – or even sort of wrong – everything would be fine. They know what to do and how to how to care for me.
My oncologist is just 2 floors down too – which is another layer of comfort. If there is a question or concern, it would take just seconds for my oncologist or her nurse to be by my side.
They really try to make what could be a depressing experience very positive.
So – there is the room with a view. A view of skirmishes in the war on cancer and some other diseases. (not everyone is getting chemo….) It’s a room of hope because everyone here is a warrior. Everyone here is strong and battling and taking advantage of the medical miracles available to us today.
I try to view this as a good thing (even though I don’t LIKE going through it) because it’s part of how I can give breast cancer the royal beat down. So rage on Taxol! Help me be a bad ass warrior!