Renal Cell Live!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Tale of Two Kitties

Life is returning to normal here, following emergency surgery for Marmaduke last Saturday. Duke, for those who don't know, can be summarized as a smart, cute, part Maine coon who lost an eye at six months to an infection and then moved in with us. He's a charming cat who thinks he's a dog, mostly; and last week when his empty eye socket swelled alarmingly we headed for emergency vet services at Animal Care Unlimited in Columbus. We've known Dr. Don Burton for years so it was an obvious solution to the holiday closing of our own vet's office. We left him in good hands for his surgery and went home to await the results.

We stopped for brunch in town and were heading back home in mid-Saturday traffic. We were slowing down for a stoplight when the passenger's window of a pickup truck right in front of us opened. An arm shot out, and a black-and-white kitten was thrown onto the pavement beside the truck.

We followed the truck as it turned to enter a local shopping center; the car beside us stopped and the driver hopped out to pick up the kitten. I dialed 9-1-1 and apologized but reported my emergency, including the idiot's license number, and left my contact information with the officer. We backtracked to make certain there was no carnage on the highway, then went home.

I was so angry I thought I would throw up. Why do people treat cats so terribly? I have always loved and found comfort in cats; in many ways they're my children. I contribute to some very good charitable organizations for humans, regardless, but I spoil my kids, darnit.

I haven't watched the papers to see whether an arrest was made, and I haven't been contacted. But I hope the 3 idiots in the truck were stunned that anyone would care about some poor little bundle, enough to try to get them punished for their actions.

In the meantime Duke's had his drainage tube from surgery removed, he's still playing it for a little sympathy, but he's over the worst of it. I trust he knows he's loved.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What Have We Got But Time?

Monday's treatment session seemed to be following its usual path - checking in for labs, moving on to appointments with the medical powers-that-be, culminating in my Benadryl-induced nap. There was a jarring interruption to this routine, however.

As trial nurse Lisa mentioned in our appointment last week, "Chemo time is like gold here - a scarce resource. I want to get your schedule set at least six weeks in advance so we have the best chance to retain what we've got established." Sure, there are times I feel like we're cutting it a bit fine, but on the whole it's all manageable and works well for patient and personnel alike.

What with one thing and another our arrival in Pod 1 for treatment was delayed by about 40 minutes, and the usual wait ensued for my custom-blended infusion to come from Pharmacy. I was settled in with my knitting and Saint H had something to read. Suddenly the woman in the next bed began shouting for the nurses. "I was scheduled to get in here at 9:30 and didn't get brought back until 9:45. I've been waiting an hour. I do not have time to wait around like this. You get this thing out of me, NOW!" She continued to rant at the nurses with almost hysterical fervor. She refused to be calmed and, at her insistence, her IV was removed and she stormed out.

I think we were all rather taken aback. I certainly don't understand the motivation for her outburst - was it a first treatment? Was she frightened? Was she not adequately prepared by her oncologist about what she would be going through, and why the recommended treatment course was being pursued? Did she not absorb anything beyond the diagnosis?

Whatever the reason, I see no cause for the nurses to bear the brunt of her unhappiness. I think it's fair to say that she doesn't have the same type of relationship with her oncologist that I am fortunate to have with mine.

If I had a nickel for every minute I've spent in waiting rooms and in limbo since my diagnosis, I'd be a very rich woman now. Come to think of it, I guess I am a very rich woman - after all, I'm still here.

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