JJ’s rescheduled Chemo appointment was for this morning at 10:30 a.m. Just before 9 a..m., EJ went out to start the truck to warm it up. It cried in protest at starting on such a cold morning: the temperature was -16F degrees, and I think the wind chill was in the -40-somethings. Brrrr.
The roads were good and we would have had no problems driving to the Cancer Center except that it was so cold that the truck was stuck in third gear. EJ had to drive all the way to the Cancer Center at no more than 45 mph. Because he couldn’t drive fast, he did not take the highway. Instead, he drove the back ways through the city streets.
We were less than ten minutes late, but it didn’t really matter that we were late because Sue, our primary nurse today, said that it was a crazy morning. A lot of the chemo meds were late getting to them from the hospital pharmacy. We enjoyed talking to Chris, the Patient Care Technician as he took JJ’s vitals. We learned that a few years ago he got his dog from the family of one of the Boy Scouts in JJ’s troop. Small world.
JJ is supposed to notify the nurses if he notices any changes in his health. Today he told the nurse about small burning sores he has noticed on his hands, so she notified his doctor, who came in to examine the sores. They are a side effect of the chemo drugs, but they aren’t so bad yet that they have to be treated. We just have to keep an eye on them.
Every day during JJ’s intense weeks of Chemo, he is given Etoposide and Cisplatin in his IVs, along with a couple bags of saline solution. On Mondays, he is also given Bleomycin, which is why those Mondays are so long. On his “off” weeks, he only gets Bleomycin on Mondays, so those are very short days. Although today is actually Tuesday, it is JJ’s “off” Monday because we couldn’t make it to the Cancer Center yesterday in the bad weather. Along with the Bleomycin, JJ is always given Benadryl and Tylenol–I think to reduce side effects or something. The Benadryl always makes JJ very sleepy, so he sleeps through most of the treatment. Often he also sleeps when we get home, but today he didn’t.
We were in Infusion Room 6 this morning. We’ve never been in that room before. It was one of the smaller rooms, but it was right across from the nurses station and the kitchenette, so I was able to get different types of pictures, including candid pictures of some of the nurses sitting at the station. I really enjoy the medical staff. I think they are the one thing I will miss when our cancer adventure is finished.
The 90 minutes seem to just fly by today. Maybe because it was such an adventure getting to the Cancer Center. Almost before we could catch our breath, we were leaving for home. We now have no appointments until Friday, when we have to take JJ to the lab for his blood tests.
When the nurses told us that JJ was almost done for the day, EJ left to warm up the truck while I stayed with JJ. One the way home, the gears finally got unstuck so EJ was able to drive normal speed. This was good because he had just enough time to help us bring our luggage into the house before he had to leave for work. He didn’t even turn off the truck when we got out.
I couldn’t take pictures on the way to the Cancer Center this morning because the windows were snowy and somewhat frosted. The window was cleared enough for us to see through, but not clear enough to take good pictures. However, I was able to take pictures on the way home. It’s always sort of fun taking pictures from a moving vehicle because I can’t always be sure what I will end up with. Sometimes I see something interesting, but it whooshes by before the camera captures it. Other times I have the picture zoomed too far in or out to get the picture I want or the angle is wrong. And other times the camera doesn’t capture what I wanted, but it captures something even more interesting. A few times I actually get the picture I was aiming for. I sat in the cramped back seat of the truck today so JJ could be more comfortable, which made trying to get a good shot even more challenging since I had to shoot past EJ and JJ’s heads.
Today I had fun taking pictures of common things in addition to beautiful scenery. I don’t know how to explain it, but I think the everyday common tasks, routines, and things are beautiful. I love the song “Tradition” in the movie Fiddler on the Roof because the everyday tasks provide the musical rhythm to the song. That is how I view life. It’s the little things that make up the background rhythm to life more than the occasional big event. So today I took pleasure in taking pictures of people at work, the patterns in the snow, and other such small things.
After EJ left for work, I did my outside chores since I already had my coat, hat, mittens, and boots on. I put more wood in the woodstove and then I brought firewood into the house, let Danny out and back in, took out the trash, care for the cats. Then I mopped up all the snow I had tracked into the house, and I swept the floors. I fixed lunch for JJ and me. Then I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down to write this post.
Here are some of the pictures I took today: