Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Crossed wires

I arrived at the doctor’s office for my 9:30 AM appointment to draw blood. The phlebotomist stared at two test tubes, looking confused. “One is marked 8 AM, the other says noon.”

My doctor poked her head in. She had gotten an ad hoc request from the research committee for additional blood, but she hadn’t gotten the message until 9 AM. We could draw one sample now and another in four hours. Could I plan to come back?

Fortunately, I was planning to stay in the City after my appointment, since I’d arranged to go to a client.

When I got back to the medical office, I had another few minutes with my doctor. I told her I was feeling dizzy earlier, vaguely nauseous. “That’s not a typical side effect. Have you eaten?”

“Not really. I’m also feeling wired, jazzed.”

“Well that is typical. Before the Abraxane yesterday, we gave you a steroid, which can make you feel wired for 24-48 hours. You’re reacting to that. And you will crash.”

Oh dear… elephant alert!

After drawing blood, I walked to Grand Central, where I had just enough time to grab a slice of pizza before getting on a train. I sat down to eat it, took one bite, and felt the color drain from my face. I was suddenly faint, nauseous, sweaty, and clammy. I ditched the pizza and headed for the train, but got only as far as the nearest police stand. They sat me down and called their in-house EMT. “There’s a woman here, about forty, pale and feeling faint.”

If I weren’t afraid I might throw up on him, I’d have jumped up and hugged the young cop!

The EMT was very thorough. He insisted on feeding me oxygen. I kept pulling the mask off.

“I don’t need this. I’m feeling better already,” I said.

“You need it,” he said, as he replaced it over my mouth.

“Your blood pressure is low. I think we should call an ambulance and take you to the hospital.” He was a well-meaning angel, but I’d gotten in over my head. I certainly didn’t want to end up in yet another hospital!

“No, no. Just wait a few minutes and take it again. It will go right back up. Maybe I should go sit on the train.”

And in a few minutes, I did, indeed, regain my color and vital signs. Another EMT carried my bag and shepherded me to the next train. He smiled appreciatively when he lifted my rather heavy computer bag. “I’ve never met a woman who wasn’t stronger than she looked.”

Yes… if not for this damn cancer, I’m healthy as a horse!

I wonder, is this what she meant when she said “crash”?


Anonymous said...

OK, I'll try this anonymous thing again...

It was nice of your doctor to warn you about crashing ahead of time so you could plan your day appropriately--sheesh.

-Barbara Peisch

SusieQ said...

Here's the most important sentence in this post:

"There’s a woman here, about


pale and feeling faint.”

Hope it made you feel better. :-)

Ceil said...

When she said it, I simply braced myself for one of the mood swings I've come to expect. I'll have to discuss this much more physical "crash" with her when I see her. I don't know if it's what she had in mind, but it's one more thing to prepare for...

Ceil said...

For sure "about forty" got to me!

He was so sweet... but when you're that young, 40's a pretty high number to count to. :)