The following saga could be called a comedy of errors, but so far it has failed to make me laugh, so let's call it a dramedy.
It starts at 11:55 a.m. yesterday when, following Joe's advice to not get distracted after getting home from tennis at 11, I was ready and waiting at the window five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the cab that was to take me to Boston so that I would arrive well before my 3 p.m. pheresis appointment at Dana-Farber.
When the cab had not arrived by 12:15, I called the insurance company that had set it up, but I could not get through. I called Hannah at Dana-Farber to say that in a few minutes I would have to leave. She didn't call back so I knew I would have to drive. I was so frustrated that I started to cry. So I said to myself, "No crying while driving. You are not being shot at or bombed. Nobody died. It is just an inconvenience."
That settled, I got on my way. Hannah, meanwhile, called and said she had learned that the driver had called me in as a no-show at 12:11. Which. Did. Not. Make Sense. Then a suspicion dawned on me. I wondered if he had waited at the foot of the driveway instead of coming down the driveway. The doors of my house face into the driveway. If he had waited down there I would not have seen him. Later I discovered that this was what happened. I guess it was easier for him to drive away than call.
Meanwhile, Hannah said she would cancel the rides I had scheduled through The Ride, which takes people around in the Boston area. A car was to pick me up at Dana-Farber around 6:30 p.m. and take me to Margaret's and then get me in the morning to go back for today's procedure. That message didn't get through, so when I was at Margaret's, a driver called from Dana-Farber asking why I wasn't there to be picked up.
I could only get five out of six cycles of ECP yesterday because the procedure had made me too anemic, hematocrit of 27.8 I think. So this morning I had to get blood at 7 a.m. , followed by the ECP at 11. I arrived at Dana-Farber early to get something to eat, and, finishing breakfast early, I got onto the elevator at the third floor where the dining area is and pressed the button to go up.
A security guard barked at me, "Are you a patient? Are you a patient? You can't go past 3 until 7!"Since the elevator had already gone up to the floor where I was to receive my blood, I stepped out for a minute to ask the receptionist if I could wait for 10 minutes. As the door closed behind me, I could hear the security guard saying something about me to the other people in the elevator. By the way, yes, it was true, but she had only to tell me that, so I rode back down and then rode back up.
|Penthouse suite for transfusion at Dana-Farber|
While getting the blood, I was buoyed by all the supportive comments on Facebook after I posted a photo of my penthouse view and explained the situation (much more briefly than this!) But when it was done, I lost it, the last straw being the only person at Dana-Farber who had ever talked to me like that. My blood pressure, which they check periodically during procedures, had shot up by the end of the infusion.
I told my nurse, Mary, that the security guard had talked to me like I was a criminal. She called Kathleen Hovath, manager of the patient/family relations program, who asked me to see her when I was done. Mary was so sweet that I was already calmer. Kathleen asked for a description of the person in blue and a description of the incident. She said that should never happen and there would be a meeting of that staff to discuss.
I got to the Kraft Donor Center all pumped full of new blood and ready for more to be taken out at my 11 a.m. procedure: three hours, six cycles.
I'm going to like it there, my new home-away-from home. All of the nurses are so friendly, offering baskets full of sweet or salty snacks and doing everything to make you comfortable.
HOWEVER, I was just dozing off when somebody called my phone and in a loud and at first incomprehensible voice said he was downstairs waiting for me and where was I.
I realized that this was the driver who was originally supposed to pick me up at Dana-Farber and take me back home. So, the people who had forgotten to tell driver #1 to call me from the bottom of my driveway had forgotten to tell driver #2 to cancel the return trip since I had driven myself.
I got home without incident and actually showered and got dressed up to go to New England Public Radio's Arts and Humanities Awards program at the Log Cabin. I had paid $75 because I am a loyal listener and I like to contribute when I can. Plus, I wanted to see many of the people I write about. Also, it was dinner. But it was too late for the ceremony, and although I could have gotten there for a buffet and dancing, I grabbed a banana and a glass of water, danced over to the couch, and turned on last night's "Daily Show."
Meanwhile Hannah found out that some of the drivers will not come down a driveway. She asked if I was fine with just waiting outside, and I said that of course, as long as I knew. Rain or shine, I'll be down there, hoping that it is not too good to be true.