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The Ritual of Chemotherapy

In: Social Issues

Submitted By hej0009
Words 940
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For six months every three weeks I lived in a set ritual where everything was planned down to the minute and second. It was my ritual of chemotherapy. Everything was always the same from what the doctors did to what I did. I only did this ritual to survive, not by choice.
Upon arrival at the hospital I would go directly to the Oncology Center, better known as the Massoud Clinic. There, I would wait until the nurse who would weigh and measure me called me back, after that she would draw two vials of blood to test my blood cell levels. An hour prior to all of this I would take a strip of saran wrap, with a quarter sized amount of numbing gel, and place it on my port. This would ease the pain when they accessed it. The nurses were always very meticulous when they accessed my port, everything was sterilized twice and once they were sure it was clean they would stick the needle into my chest and begin an intravenous therapy of saline at 999 milliliters per hour. Then, I would walk through the hospital to room 316, get comfy in bed and wait for chemotherapy to begin.
At 10:45 sharp my doctor would come in and begin my first round of chemo, Etopside. It was given through my IV and took a I would wear a blood pressure monitor that would check every fifteen minutes to make sure my heart rate wasn’t getting out of control. After the first chemo was given I would always crave Panera Bread chicken noodle soup, so I would eat a couple bowls of it during my second round of chemo. The second chemo I was given is Adriamycin; it took fifteen minutes to be injected. Between every injection my IV port was flushed out with saline and Heparin. They waste no time and start the third chemo, Cyclophosphamide, as soon as the second is finished. The third takes fifteen minutes and from the time it starts I know I have about one hour before I start to feel nauseous. I eat as much as possible before I start to feel bad, then I go to bed for the night, watching a movie with friends.
Day two of chemotherapy starts at 4 am. I don’t know why they have to draw blood from me at that time, but they do. I only would get three more hours of rest before the next person barged in at 7 O’ clock with breakfast. I would never eat it. Then, 10:30 comes around and they serve lunch! I am still not awake, but 10:45 comes and its time for chemo, again. Only one chemo is given this day. The doctors and nurses come in and check my lines, flush them out, and reapply the bandage over my port. It’s Tuesday, which means at noon a dog should be coming to visit me. The dog visits were always my favorite part about being in a children’s hospital, even though I was eighteen at the time. Around three the second day of chemo the steroids would kick in. At this time my parents would have their own ritual of taking a walk and getting something to eat together, because I was too irritable to handle at this time.
Day three in the hospital starts at four am as well, with the drawing of blood. I only have one treatment left, which causes me to be very anxious to get out. The last chemo is given, and then they come in and draw more blood. They go to test it and, every time, the doctor comes back in the room holding a bag of blood for a transfusion. It is the same conversation every time. I try to tell him I don’t need it; however, he insists. This prolongs my stay in the hospital by at least another four hours. Finally, two nurses come in dressed in their scrubs. They sanitize everything near them, put a mask on me, and proceed to take out the needle from my port, which was put in three days ago. Then, another nurse will give me a Neupogen shot in the thigh and wheel me out to the car, because I might like die or something if I try to walk. I don’t even bother saying bye to all my wonderful nurses and doctors because I will be seeing them again in two short days.
Two days later, for my next chemo, it’s the same old thing. I arrive, I am weighed, measured and the same nurse will draw two vials of blood from me. I am then given a tiny syringe of one last chemo drug. I have it timed perfectly, once that is given and we leave the Massoud clinic, we have just enough time to eat at Olive Garden and get home before my chills and aches render me incapable of moving. Once we are home I make myself comfortable on the couch, and even though it’s the summer, my mom makes me a cup of hot chocolate. I stay on this couch for the next three days until my symptoms disappear.
I will have about a week and a half of feeling normal before I go back to the hospital to start my next cycle of my chemotherapy ritual. Nothing ever changed, not even the room I stayed in or the foods I ate. It was so ritualistic that when it stopped I almost felt a bit nostalgic for it and wanted to go back, but luckily this ritual is over.…...

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