A recipe for living with cancer.

Posts tagged ‘kitchen’

Gat Wal Soon!


The first day out of surgery Miriam shows up with cards from the kids.  This Zelda wrote completely on her own without asking for any help.  Worthy of framing!!

The story I mentioned about IV’s…In the old days when Tom went to Medical School, medical students were thrown in to the fray and learned how to do everything starting year two (correct me if I am wrong honey).  They practiced giving shots, IV’s, all the stuff necessary to take care of a patient just in case you were the only Doctor available on Gilligan’s Island.  The Professor and Maryanne were good, but a fourth year medical student could have ministered to all of their needs, back in the day.  Today’s students are a different breed entirely, not given as many opportunities because of specialists, nurse specialists, PAs, nurses and IV teams!  To be the first guinea pig on which a newly minted medical student tries to put in an IV, not where you want to be.  However, Presby, Montefiore, Magee, all teaching hospitals and one of the benefits is the talent it attracts, but also the ability for new students, interns, etc. to learn.  Someone has to be your first.

When I went in for the sentinel node biopsy there was a medical student with the anesthesiologist.  He asked if the medical student could put in my IV and I said sure, they have to learn and I should help just as everyone else should.  Keep in mind I still have 8 IV treatments to go and need to not blow out any veins or lose possible sites for an IV or they would need to put in a port.  I don’t care who does that, its something I do not want to have!

Tom jumped in and said, NO WAY, she needs to keep all of her veins in tact.  Then he asked how many the medical student had done…this would be his first.  Tom turned to the medical student and said, “sorry, she needs all her veins for chemo and we can’t afford to blow one.”  The anesthesiologist, I felt almost begrudgingly, put in the IV.

Comes pre op for my mastectomy and in walks a young man and introduces himself as a nurse anesthesiology student and he is here to put in my IV.  I said, sorry you can’t put it in.  The pre op nurse comes over immediately looking very upset and says, “oh dear, you must have an IV to do the surgery.”  I said, “I know that but HE can’t put it in get me someone else!”  I thought I was so smart.

Tom jumped in once again, “no Barb he can do it he’s not a medical student he is a nurse anesthesiology student and has to be an RN before he can do this.” Man I thought I had this all down!

I asked how many he’d done…he said 40 -50 as a student, but he’d  been a nurse for a while. He said,”I’ll make a deal with you, I get one shot and if I can’t do it I’ll have someone else come in and do it.”  He did a fine job.  But medicine is certainly confusing.

And one wonders why Obamacare is 900 pages and complicated, you need a playbook for everything, setting up surgery, morning of, letting the patients know, pre op, surgery, post op, floor care, nurses, aids, dietary, it’s remarkable.  When I get the bill I am astounded by the cost- I/we must not forget everything that had to happen to get me to surgery, and successfully through surgery and the number of people who touched me literally and figuratively. Lets not even consider all that has transpired to get me to this point.

All the people who I interacted with in the 24-48 hours surrounding my mastectomy:

Scheduling/coordinating surgery: 2 people; morning of surgery: 8 people; surgery I can only guess: 10-12 people; recovery and transport to room: 4 : in the room: nurses, residents, interns, medical students, post doc and aides: 16 that I saw, this does not count anyone behind the scenes in the pharmacy, kitchen, housekeeping, pathology,etc. Discharge and transport: 2.  In 16 1/2 hours  42 people took care of me and those are only the ones I remember.  Those 42 people took me safely through this surgery and one more step to survive breast cancer.  Sure medicine is messed up financially and could use some reworking, but 42 people…whatever the cost it is worth every penny.

Thank you to each and everyone who helped me and also to those I did not see who I know were essential to the entire process.

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