Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chemotherapy Infusion Room

Last time I went to chemo I was talking to my husband on the way up about my kids have a limited idea of how it looks at chemo. Here is my attempt to help them visualize it better.

from msneny.empireuro.org

This picture was the closest one I could find that looks like the infusion room I receive treatment at. There is even a light blue chair like the middle one, that everyone calls the hard chair and avoids. Friends or spouses can sit in open chairs or on one of the few stools like the brown one in the picture. For some reason my husband does not enjoy sitting on a backless stool for 5 hours. Actually I get up and walk around as often as I can even sitting in a comfy chair. There are about 20 chairs packed together against the walls. The only place without chairs is the doorway and the busy nurses' desk like this one. The one window looks out over the parking lot and towards the mountains. Each patient has their own iv pole with their various bagged combinations of chemo drugs and side effect medication hanging off the top two hooks.

The prints on the walls are of the inspirational variety, like poems and sayings and baby kittens hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro (okay maybe not that last one but you get the idea). There are books and magazine and goodies (mostly sweets) to eat on side tables. I have a hard time eating or drinking during chemo, but it is common for patients to have a lunch date with their spouse or friend while having the infusion. The nurses pass out pillows or blankets when requested. They do not have a wide screen tv, but the do have portable dvd players with earphones and a movie library to borrow.

My husband and I were trying to decide which nurses have higher status there - the ones on the doctor side or the infusion side. Do you start out in the infusion room and work you way up to the doctor side? The only reason we think it might be that system is the infusion room nurses always call this one nurse on the doctor side when they have a hard time getting a vein, or a question about a side effect they are not familiar with. It is amazing the amount of patience, kindness, and knowledge those chemo nurses have. I think L would make a great chemo nurse, she could learn all the different combos and side effects, and still be gentle with the patients. I was surprised that a nurse who I only talked to for 5 minutes the first time remembered me. Then I realized I stand out a little bit, being 30 years younger than most patients.

1 comment:

  1. Before reading this entry I saw the picture and thought it was your chemo room and you had taken a picture of it. It helps me to visualize the places and steps you are taking to get rid of the cancer.