Friday, June 11, 2010

Kiss It. Kiss It Good.

I'm talking about a nurse. Kiss a nurse today. Just go out and find one and kiss em and thank em for the job they do. If you can't find a nurse, then hug a cop or a fireman, a teacher or a soldier, shake their hand, thank them for the job they do every single day for you.

So chemo day, I was almost a no show. Not really. I did have fantasies of running away though, just pitching a tent on the Russian River and filling it with candles and a big down comforter and fat pillow and one Reidel glass. Drinking wine, a big fat red, grilling a ribeye and eating the whole thing next to the river like a diva cave girl with my bald head and bare hands. and something chocolate, dark chocolate shaped like a trout and I'd just bite the head off.

I went to chemo. Let me tell you something about these people that take care of me. How am I going to live without these people when I am well? How?

Where do they find these people with such dedication and empathy? Where do they find them? They must put a crying baby alone on a street corner and see who comes rushing up first. They must put a whining lost puppy in a box and see who opens the door and gives it a home. They must put a beggar in the street and see who comes to help the least of us. They must give them a cancer patient and see who greets them with enthusiasm and tenderness every single time they come to receive treatment. Where do they find these people? They all work at the Cancer Center I go to.

Yes yes yes, let's not forget the amazing Good Witch, but tonight is her peeps getting their due.

Let me start with Jamie. Now Jamie, forgive me if I get wrong what you do, but she is some kind of patient coordinator. Anyway, she was the first one who called me when my primary care doctor referred me to the oncology group. Her phone manner was so loving and attentive, I just about started bawling, I was so raw from my cancer diagnosis. I was still considering where I'd receive my treatment, and that first phone call from Jamie made a huge huge impression on me.

Today Jamie stopped by to tell me she is eagerly reading my blog, and my chemo brain is preventing me from telling you exactly what she said. Roughly, the blog is meaningful to her, she is seeing things in a whole new way, from a patient's view of this cancer thing. You made my day Jamie that you took the time to find me to come tell me that. You made my day girl.

Then there is Lady Brown Sugar Grace. I call her that because every good comfort food dessert I know of is made with brown sugar, like bread pudding and cobblers and sweet potato pies and oatmeal raisin cookies and Fuji apples pies with crumble tops. C&H has nothing on this lady and she has the very difficult job of being the official gatekeeper for the oncology group.

She is one staggeringly incredible Lady spelled with a capital "L" like Lena Horne. They just don't make them like that anymore. Talk about a multi-tasker. Damn Lady, I am scared of you. This lady is answering the phones, making appointments, remembering patients by name, and doing all of it while wearing a headset, dispensing wisdom, hugs and humor like nothing you've seen.

I bow to you Lady Brown Sugar Grace. God's grace. You got way way more than the rest of us. I bow to you.

One day when I came in, we always have to sign in, she says to me "Precious, how you doing precious?" She gave me a look like "I'm talkin to you honey."

"Me? I'm da precious, me?" I thought she was on her headset talking to someone else.

"Yes honey, of course, you da precious, you da precious..."

The Lady thinks I am precious. When is the last time someone told you you are precious?

She is rare and precious, like the largest diamond ever found. Priceless.

So my Vonda comes and gets me, she has something to show me. I am just happy to see her face and hug her. She is wearing the cutest Nike's, she turns around and pulls the back hem of her pants up to reveal the heel of her shoes. One shoe has embroidered into it "Kiss." The other shoe "It." Kiss It. Her niece says that.

"I really shouldn't wear these at work, but I knew you were coming today, and I wore them for you."

Vonda, how can I love a stranger so much? How? You delight me. I could lick your face like a puppy licks a baby dripping in ice cream.

There is also Krissy, she is a medical assistant and much younger than the rest. She is still trying to find her way in the world; she has a ten year old daughter and lives with extended family. She is so sweet and adorable to me, and has a smile that should be on the Disney Channel.

and don't forget my Kitty, my chemo nurse. Nobody else touches my chemo port except Kitty, you got that? She has a way about her, she does not realize how fabulous a woman she is, and how beautiful. She smells good too.

All these people have a story, they all have their problems. Krissy's grandpa died not long ago, and this has had a serious affect on her daughter. Krissy is working, growing up, and raising a daughter with many outside forces trying to influence her parenting. Follow your gut Krissy. As my older son sometimes has to remind me "I'm a grown ass man mama." You are a grown ass woman Krissy. Tell your people I said so.

Vonda's mom died of pancreatic cancer, and prior to, Vonda left her job and walked away from the life she knew to take care of her Mom. Then she went back to school and became a medical assistant in an oncology group. Now she is helping me. Your mama sees you Vonda, she is so proud of you. Believe this. Don't underestimate your powers honey. You are really something and I see you. Don't let the turkey's get you down. Ride her girl dreams! Eeeh Hah!

Kitty's beloved husband barely survived a stroke five years ago, he was only 54 years old, and their lives changed forever. Kitty's daughter is pregnant and going through some scary complications with her pregnancy. Being the kind of person and wife and mother and nurse Kitty is, she carries a heavy load for the people she loves, and is low on her list of priorities. I can relate to this. I used to say my dogs happiness was higher on my list than my own.

I hope I have not said too much about these stories told to me while I sat in the chemo chair.  Let me explain why I did. It really struck me, like a bolt in that chair, that stopped the focus on myself.  These people that take care of me all have their own lives and their own problems and heartbreaks and tragedies. Yet when I walk in there, you would think I am the only one with a story that needs telling and a big big problem that needs care and love.

I just absolutely salute these people. They work hard every day, running around, taking care of all kinds of really sick patients in a very very busy practice. They take such good care of me, but way more than that, they touch me in some profound healing way that wants to speak and tell  you about them.

I thought that being a server meant you were part therapist, part mommy, part slave. I never really saw, until now, what nurses and medical assistants and all of them associated with this calling do.

These people deserve the highest of honor and respect and lots and lots of lobster.

Please, please, kiss a nurse. Kiss it good. I will accept substitutions as needed as I mentioned - police, fire, teachers, soldiers.

Kiss it good.

Brava brava brava all you angels mentioned tonight in code names, for all u do for all of us, and specifically tonight for the care of my body and the healing of this spirit.

Tell me, what can I do to show you in some meaningful way what I fear my attempt tonight does not convey?

Tell me what I can do to express my gratitude,

for every time you put your hands on me, or smile at me as you pass me stuck in my chair,

you are the medicine that is changing my life.

It's not the red kool-aid in the little bag that drips into my chest.

It's all of you,,,

a slow loving drip straight into my vena cava to my heart.

It's all of you.

Thank you from the deepest part of my soul that I have come to call writergirldreams.



1 comment:

masonmft said...

Sweet dreams to the best damn chemo brain writer I know. The hour is late and I could not go to bed before I read your blog. Love you. Hope this weeks chemo is giving you a bit of a break but I imagine it is just doing some more ass kicking.

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