Thoughts from a tennis player and runner who ran right into leukemia
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Don't count your chicken's before they're hatched
It wasn't that the driver was rude. It was just that he never came.
He called around 2 p.m., the time when he was supposed to be here to leave for my 4 p.m. appointment, to say that he was sorry but he would be about 15 minutes late because another driver got two flat tires and the boss insisted he drive someone to Holyoke before coming to get me even though it would make him late for me. He told me he hated the late-day shift and hated that the owner of the company made him do this and he hated to be late. He said the owner told him that he would still be able to get me there on time.
I told him not to worry. I have heard this about the car company owners before. They squeeze in more rides than they are able to do without regard for the passengers or, for that matter, for their drivers. Although I could have done without the rant about the shift since I had problems of my own.
In any case, when he didn't show at 2:15 I took my things out to the car in case I ended up driving myself as happened not too long ago. Around 2:25 I called MART, the agency which arranges the rides, and got through to the complaint line. (A miracle.) The operator put me on hold and said she had gotten through to the driver, who said he would be here in about five minutes. She filed a complaint for me and said to follow up if I never took the ride because then the company wouldn't be paid.
Tears of frustration welled up in my eyes. It wasn't just about the drive there at a time when I was tired. It was also about the ride home the next day (after an overnight) when my dermatologist would have zapped or biopsied who knew what. And it was about the time spent arranging three rides (including one from Dana-Farber to Diane and David's that night) and the time that I would need to spend undoing them.
Five minutes passed. I called the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center and said I would be late for my bi-weekly blood treatment, aka ECP, and asked if it still made sense for me to come. The nurse said that I should come even though I would get a shortened treatment. I got in the car and left.
At 2:45, when I was on my way, the driver called and said he was on Woodbridge Street but couldn't find my house.
I figured that if I stopped and got coffee, I would be even later, so I pushed on through. I did pretty well except for, near the end, missing the left turn towards the Prudential Center and instead taking the Copley Square exit, adding an extra 10 or 15 minutes to the trip.
By the time I got there it was close to five. They always take my blood pressure. I suggested maybe they wouldn't want to. Actually it was quite low, 120-something over 70-something. I guess my body had figured out a way to cope with this situation; I had been there before. My nurse said some treatment was better than no treatment. So inserted the needle and hooked me up. It didn't take long for me to fall asleep.
After an overnight in Newton, I got up early and went to yoga with Diane. It moved a little faster than most of the classes I take, but I kept up. I confess to looking around at the trim Newton bodies but turned my focus onto myself. (Or tried to.) When walking to the car afterwards, we discussed our problem areas – Diane's knees and my hands and wrists. My left hand especially will not flatten, and my hands and wrists will not bend at the usual 90-degree angle. I have been told this is mostly due to my graft vs. host of the skin,
Diane pointed out that what I can do is amazing: yoga, tennis, running, riding my bike. She reminded me that at one point I couldn't even turn over in bed, let alone walk. I said it had crossed my mind when I took a shower at their house that morning and remembered when I had to struggle to get into the tub and sit on a shower chair so Diane could give me a sponge bath.
Sometimes I forget. I thanked her for the reminder.
Then I changed and went to Chestnut Hill for my dermatology appointment with my friend Dr. Lin. I got stuck in Route 9 traffic and was worried about being late. As it turned out, she was running late, which I should have guessed. I was just falling asleep in the waiting room when I got called.
She zapped pre-cancerous areas on my neck, face, lips and hands. Not pleasant but we chat our way through it, with an occasional yelp escaping from my mouth. She did a biopsy on an area on my thumb (possibly squamous) and also one on the inside of my ear. She thought this one might be basal cell. Probably nothing horrible but if it is cancerous, I will need a Mohs surgery on it. This strikes me as not a great spot.
With my stinging and burning skin, I would have appreciated a ride home. But it was not to be. On my way out I did my usual pass through Waban, where there is a conveniently located Starbucks. First I pulled into a shady spot and fell asleep in the car. Then I went to Starbucks and got an iced coffee, followed by a stop across the street at Barry's Village Deli for half a corned beef sandwich to go.
Due to my training in the news biz, I can eat anything in the car.
It kept me busy and alert until I got home. By then the local anesthesia had worn off on my thumb and in my ear, and the zapped spots were burning. I took a little something and called it a night. The next day I made sure to call MART to say I never got the ride. When it comes to those rides, I will no longer count my chickens before they're hatched.
Posted by Ronni Gordon at 6:13 AM
Labels: basal cell, cancer, graft-versus-host disease., Mohs, squamous cell
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Not quite as easy as hailing a cab on Fifth Avenue!
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