A recipe for living with cancer.

The IV Pole Dance

I hope everyone’s New Year has started off well and 2013 is a great year filled with hope and joy. So far I cannot complain.

I have been absent from this page because I was doing well and feeling closer to my old self than I have since last May.  I finished chemo November 15th, had a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with Miriam and family, has a whirlwind cookie weekend with nephews, great-niece and brother-in-law where –doing the family tradition proud — we made 3000 cookies.  Spent the holidays with family and friends and ended the old year and started the new with family in Florida.

Getting away before my surgery was wonderful, as Tom said it would be.  He really needed the rest and I needed to have a big diversion from thinking and worrying about the surgery.  We came back Saturday afternoon and I only spent Saturday, Sunday and part of Monday consumed with thoughts about the surgery.  Concerns included: survival, reaction to anesthesia, effects of having a tube down in my throat and lungs, who would put in my IV (I have become somewhat of an aficionado of the good ones and the not so good ones-remind me sometime to tell you about the cute student nurse anesthetist who I allowed to put in my IV) and my feelings about waking up without breasts, how bad would it feel, the results of the biopsy of the tissue and the next phase radiation.

I made it through and woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus, an elephant was sitting on my chest and my bodily functions had forgotten how to work.  Anesthesia puts EVERYTHING to sleep including peeing and swallowing.  In the recovery room you are swaddled in blankets, have a nurse hovering chatting softly telling you how great you are doing, giving you ice chips and taking care of all your needs.  Then you go to your room, are asked a million questions you have answered a million times before and are handed a pain button, a nurses station button and told to call if you need anything, and are alone.  Now what?  Luckily you have so much in your system you fall asleep until the next person wanders in.

People wander in and out introducing themselves, checking your IV, wondering if there is anything you need.  I can barely think straight, how can I assess what I need!  Then the urge to pee strikes and I push the nurses station call button, beep, pause…………………………(it seemed endless) “yes, nurses station, how can I help you?”  “I need help getting up to the bathroom please.” “I’ll let your nurse know.”

After what seemed like forever, again I feel asleep so who knows, the nurse came in to help me with the new dance I had to learn.  This is called the IV Pole Dance.  Bet you didn’t think a bilateral mastectomy involved learning a new dance, ah ha!  Step one of the dance:  Get out of bed, whoops wait that really hurts to try to get up and I can’t use my arms, so maneuver legs off bed, use those abs you’ve been working on for four years in Pilates!  Step two: raise the head of the bed all the way up to give you a head start.  Step three: stand up (try!).  Step four: grab the IV Pole (which the nurse has unplugged, unwound the pain button from the side of the bed.  Step five:  walk and push the IV Pole into the bathroom.  Step six:  do the hokey pokey and turn yourself about so you don’t tangle the IV lines.  Step seven: sit and stream (ha, I’ve never had to think about peeing so hard in my life LOL!).   Step eight:  do it all in reverse.

And that’s what its all about!!

Need to nap (I do this really well now) so I will write more later.

 

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Comments on: "The IV Pole Dance" (1)

  1. Ellen Kleyman said:

    Barb,
    So great to “hear” your voice again — even your humor comes through! You have been on my mind lots since last Monday. Sending you lots of love,
    Ellen

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