Chemo day started so well!
I had a great day, despite the chemo.
As soon as I arrived, a nurse was available to "open my port" (insert a special needle, attached to a tube, for the chemo infusion). Usually there is a line ("queue" for you Brits), and a significant wait (often around 1/2 an hour)
Then, straight away, I had a wonderful massage, which totally relaxed me.
Then I got hooked up to the IV, and hung out with my "gang."
Moshe was with me (he stayed longer because we had a doctor's visit scheduled), my friend LG came from out of town to visit with me, and another friend, EA (who is LG's cousin), also came to visit. I was relaxed and had great company.
Even after Moshe and EA left, I was thrilled to have so much time to "catch up" with LG.
The day got even better!
We were in our own little room (more on that below) and LG revealed that she had packed a delicious "picnic lunch" (quiches, salad & a sinful dessert) and had brought several fun "brain games." (I LOVE games!!) We played Abalone (It's a good game!! I'd never played before) and another called Tipover. I love those types of games!
By the end of the day, I was in such a good mood; I could almost forget the disturbing event that had threatened my usual effervescence.
The TV was on in the "day room." (Not, in and of itself, a terrible thing, though it adds noise, and the room was already full)
From the music and cinematography, it was clear that the movie on TV was a horror film.
Spooky music fills me with dread.
Years ago, I requested that Moshe only watch the X-Files when I'm not home. He found it amusing that, even from across the house, the music haunted me.
But that's the way it is.
And the X-Files is like a children's show compared to the movie that was on TV in the oncology ward.
I tried to ignore the movie, but between the flash of images and the music, it was too much for me. The images and music distracted my attention, and I would glance at the TV and see disturbing, violent images (including graphic sexual violence).
I asked one of my friends to turn off the movie.
Being more courteous than I, she asked around to see if people minded. Most people were not watching and did not mind if the TV was turned off, but one couple was watching the show. So my friend simply lowered the volume.
I will not get into the details about the verbal attack I received from the couple.
I did not engage them in dialogue, beyond explaining my sensitivity and suggesting that they sit closer to the TV. (As I did, a few months ago, when watching a comedy that disturbed another person in the room). The couple (neither of whom was actually hooked up to an IV) was hostile and raised the volume.
I approached the head nurse for assistance, but she felt it was not her place to "get involved," even after I explained that it was a horror film with graphic violence.
The head nurse graciously offered my friends and I a "private room", which was a very comfortable solution for me.
The only negative element was that the chairs were not recliners, and it hurts my back to sit for so long. But it was a small conference room, with comfortable chairs and a table. It was much more private and relaxing.
Overall, I preferred to sit in a less comfortable chair, than to be bombarded by those images, which still flash into my consciousness, even now.
Meanwhile, this encounter has left me disquieted.
There is no justification for subjecting patients to such disturbing images and sounds.
The hospital clearly strives to create a positive environment. In addition to the highly professional and caring staff, there is a bright room with comfortable recliners, and let's not forget about the wonderful massages!
There should be some sort of policy regarding films with tension and violence.
No patients should have to fight for their rights during chemotherapy.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
Lemaan Achai: Rosh Hashana 5777 (video)
1 hour ago