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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chemo Day (26.02.08)

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.

Disturbing Event:

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,


Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Ack! What a bummer about the TV!
We have both Abalone and Tipover (well, actually our Tipover is no longer playable. We loved it to pieces.) I can recommend lots of games - anything from Foxmind, which is an Israeli company that also imports great games, for a start.

Baila said...

I am so sorry about the TV. I know when I was spending alot of time in the hospital with my daughther, and there was a lounge type of room, most people were extremely sensitive about the volume and content on the TV. Every now and then there were people like that couple. There was not alot that could be done, except move...

Anonymous said...

that's one advantage of working in a pediatric dept. -- you can always claim a tv show isn't "educational" and shut it off. it's actually kid of amazing what kinds of shows and internet clips parents allow even young kids to watch.... but those of us who work in the dept. try to keep our eyes out for all the kids, and the overall atmosphere in the dept. i'm sorry adult depts don't do the same.

sounds like this couple really "needs" to watch violent films... maybe they might otherwise act out their obnoxious behavior in ways worse than their verbal hostility. but they have no right to violate your space with their sounds and images.

a in a

Eliyahu S. said...

I think I can pull a bit of "protekzia" for you... my cousin has been going out with a social worker from the hospital for a few years. She's supposed to deal with patients' rights and stuff like that. I'll fire off an email to my cousin now, and ask him for her phone #. Then next time you need something like that at Hadassa you can call her.

For now, call or email me for her pratim.

- Eliyahu

RivkA with a capital A said...

YSRM -- I'll play almost any game! (though, much to my kids chagrin, I don't play risk anymore)

Baila -- I did move. Still, it is wrong not to have some sort of policy regarding films with graphic violence (not to mention spooky music)

a in a -- Though their rudeness angered me, I try not to focus on that. People who are so miserable, that they have no room for consideration of others, deserve our sympathy.

Eliyahu -- thanks for the offer, but I'm at Shaare Zedek! :-}