Monday, April 27, 2009

The things people say

Because I have no central line, I need to be stuck by a phlebotomist for every blood draw. I expect this at least once a day, but it gets annoying when I am repeatedly stuck each time one of my many doctors decides to order another blood test. Today I was stuck several times.

The phlebotomists are usually quick, quiet and efficient. For some reason, many are Russians. One man looks just like George Costanza. The young woman who got under my skin today, literally and figuratively, was none of those things.

As soon as she was in the door, she said, super-cheerfully, as though wondering what flavor popsicle I like, "What kind of cancer do you have?" How should she know, right? But it was the tone and the manner that got me. A general question like "How are you and what brings you here?" would have been more appropriate.

"I don't have cancer," I said. "I had cancer." (Meanie? Sourpuss? I think not. I feel like it was a justified reaction to her clumsy question. Do you walk up to someone in a wheelchair and ask, "Oh, what's wrong with you? I think not.)

Oh, she said, "What kind of cancer did you have?"

"AML," I said.

"Oh, never heard of it."

"It stands for Acute Myeloid Leukemia."

"Oh! I never heard of that either!"

(Thought bubble: "Just draw my blood and and let's leave it at that.")

She drew my blood and perkily exited.

I had other visitors today. A new doctor from thoracic came by -- probably my fifth -- and explained that the CT-guided needle biopsy is probably in order to make sure we're dealing with a fungus as everyone thinks we are. Then probably I will need the lung resection, he said. "Of course we're surgeons, and we love to operate, but we'll take into account what your doctors say." 

My team came in shortly after that, and Dr. Jacobson said they had no plans for either invasive procedure. He said he and Dr. Alyea agree that we should continue with the IV antifungal and antibiotic and then repeat the CT scan at the end of the week. Dr. Alyea then came in and said he had no plans for either invasive procedure.

(Thought bubble: I love you guys!")

Good news: My "people" don't want anyone to start going at me with pointy instruments.
More good news: I feel fine and am getting stronger every day.
Bad news: I will be in the hospital for at least this week. 


Mikha'el said...

best are feeling better daily. Hope you get home soon.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie, why don't you have a central line, given all you've been through?

susiegb said...

Yay - just focus on the good news! The bad (in hospital for another week) will soon be over!!


Marjorie said...

I hate that you have to be there. But I love the way you write. And I know what's happening isn't all that funny but it's great to read your humor in your words... What I'm really looking forward to is laughing together over easy things that are truly funny.

donna said...

It's not only the things people say, it is the way that they say them. You're right - tone is everything! Hang in there friend. You've been through so much. I don't know how you keep all the comings and goings straight. I'm glad you have a good team looking out for you. Keep eating and getting stronger. Can't wait till you get back to Western Mass!

PJ said...

I'm gearing up to deal with dopey hospital personnel. Most are good, but you get losers now and then. I once had a 300 lb. plebotomist practically sit on me as he poked around for a vein. When the first drop of (his) sweat landed on me I became hysterical. A nurse rushed in, rushed him out and promised I'd never see him again.

Glad they're keeping the knives far away from you.

Susan C said...

That's funny that you're so entrenched in Seinfeld that even staff members look like George Costanza. It would be really funny if someone yelled out, "No blood for you!"

So glad to hear that you're feeling better and that no invasive surgery will be necessary.

Ronni Gordon said...

Mike: I had two PICC lines during my long hospital stay, but when they readmitted me they didn't think I'd be here more than a few days. They talked about a PICC line for this stay but they ruled it out because it keeps looking like I'm going home in a day or so.

Nelle said...

oh Ronni I hate when any techs ask a lot of insensitive questions. I once had one hear my heart valve ticking and jump back. I get blood tested at least once a month for my INR and then as needed for other stuff. I have ONE VEIN left that works and I worry about when that one is gone. My others all collapse now.

pam said...

Dear Ronni,

i'm with Margie -- i love the way you write -- love the idea of the thought bubble --
for even the Quaker-side of me would want to slug that perkvert -- and if she was Russian,
i would have verbally eviscerated her in her own tongue, and given her the verbal needle --
You are beyond Wonderful-Woman, Running-Woman...xop

Ann said...

Yay! I love your guys, too! I once had a night phlebotomist who had been on call for over 16 hours. She drew a waste syringe from my CVC, then squirted it out onto my bed. I think she had thought that she'd placed one of those puppy pads down to catch the waste blood. What a mess. She apologized profusely and changed my linens. I had to forgive her since she'd been drawing my blood for months and this was the first time she'd done anything like this.

Hang in there. That fungus doesn't know who it's messing with. You'll be out and terrorizing mushrooms in no time--get it fungal revenge.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

The most enjoyable part of this fun-to-read post was the good news at the end. So grateful to hear you are feeling fine and getting stronger every day.
One more day closer to being well again.
With soaring hope, Wendy