cancer

Bee's picture

works a treat

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 01:56 -- Bee

On the fourth day after treatment I was still raw - literally - and my skin had broken out in a predictable and nasty allergic reaction to the dressings. My back was on fire with that special itch so well known, and loathed, in childhood.

Unfortunately, this meant that I had to grit my teeth and venture out to an upscale lady store, where they sell premium potions that actually work.

Bee's picture

rendered, not received

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 01:54 -- Bee

The experience of cancer, much like the experience of being a mother, involves large swaths of caretaking. Rendered, not received.

From the nurses holding my shoulder to the taxi driver who picks me up outside the clinic, the friend or family member who changes the dressing on the wounds, the person behind the counter as I buy a cup of coffee: whatever happens, whatever they say, it is my job to either conceal the truth or make them feel better about what they are looking at.

Bee's picture

tough

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 01:52 -- Bee

"On a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst pain you've ever experienced. . . ."

I let the doctor finish, then said "My pain threshold is calibrated on a different scale. This won't hurt."

He signalled to the nurses behind me, and they all put on safety goggles. He said "We have transplant patients who say this is the worst pain of their lives. They're tough nuts, but they feel it."

I shrugged, and strapped on my own pair of safety goggles. "Uh huh."

Bee's picture

science, commerce, cancer

Wed, 10/05/2011 - 02:38 -- Bee
The scene is always the same: brightly coloured murals, rows of plastic seats, a television blaring somewhere just out of sight, crying babies, and shattered parents.

I'm forty years old and my medical care is still coordinated under the auspices of a children's hospital.

Sitting in the corridor waiting for my appointment in the cancer genetics clinic I wondered if I could just bolt, though I limited my actions to a refrain of "I don't want to be here." Repeated every two minutes.

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memory, scars, tea

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 02:42 -- Bee

I was in a speciality clinic recently and the doctor tapped his pen on a piece of paper. My blood work showed significant problems with my liver.

He said "Either you are drinking yourself to death, or you have hepatitis."

I blinked. "Um, well, I don't drink, so I guess we can go with the other hypothesis. Or wait, maybe I had it? No. Yes. Definitely. I remember, I picked it up in the hospital in the middle of the cancer years."

The doctor started taking notes. "Which kind? A, B, or C?"

"Dunno."

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videos, empathy, and opportunity

Sat, 09/03/2011 - 02:24 -- Bee

The other night we were watching videos from the 90's, and I remain amazed.

Now that my daughter is 21 I have had many opportunities to test my theories in a practical environment. Summary findings: I would never treat anyone the way I was treated in my youth. The fact that there is a filmed record of those years is fantastic because it demonstrates that I wasn't crazy. I was just in a very bad situation.

Bee's picture

surgery & sarcasm

Thu, 06/02/2011 - 02:07 -- Bee

For those keeping score at home, my visit with the surgeon happened earlier this week.

The first puzzle of the appointment occurred when I asserted that I am allergic, or otherwise opposed, to pain medication.

The doctor seemed quite concerned, and suggested various options as I stared quizzically before halting the debate with the comment "Really, it will be fine. This stuff isn't what i would call 'pain.' I've had worse. It won't bother me."

Bee's picture

cities & views

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 21:00 -- Bee

London is a city largely without a view: there are very few hills, fewer tall buildings for the wandering public to ascend, and the river is bereft of commuter traffic.

For a person like me, who grew up on a peninsula between two mountain ranges, hiking up and down steep hills for even the smallest routine chores, using ferry boats as regular transportation, this is rather odd.

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biopsies & Bona Drag

Mon, 02/14/2011 - 21:00 -- Bee

There was a time when I would have refused cosmetic surgery as a political gesture, but lately that philosophical stance just seems like a different kind of vanity.

I would certainly never undertake any sort of elective surgery, for any reason. I don't understand how anyone would take the risk, especially not in service to transient notions of beauty. Even if I cared about appearances, I've had too many post-operative complications following necessary and urgent procedures.

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