Daily Archives: January 26, 2011

The good, the bad, the cold and the ugly

This is the frost on the inside of a window in my ‘studio’ Monday morning. It was a serious seventeen degrees below zero when we woke up. Very cold. The sort of cold that is beyond reasonable. Later that morning I drove to the grocery store and saw a bird I didn’t recognize sitting by the side of the road. It didn’t budge as I passed, and curious as well as concerned that it might be injured, I turned my car around to go investigate. The imperturbable bird turned out to be a blue jay, shivering in a patch of sunshine with its feathers so puffed up it resembled a baby penguin.

Our friends Brian and Jen were visiting from Baltimore, and they braved the frigid cold to go skiing. As they departed, my inner mother handed them each a face mask with strict instructions to wear it.

Jen and Brian snowshoeing on Sunday

Our guests returned from the ski area earlier than expected. Shortly after lunch Jen had wiped out and hurt her knee badly enough to score a ride down the slope in the ski patrol sled. I shooed them to the couch and had Pete build a fire while I got to work on dinner. The night before, Brian and Jen had cooked a spectacular meal, and David did the honors the evening they arrived. My turn.

By the time I said goodbye to them prior to bed on Monday evening, my cheeks hurt from all the laughter (and my head from all the wine). Two days and three nights of most excellent revelry.

Tuesday morning I was awake by 4 a.m. and left the house by 5:45 for a trip to Boston and the hospital for several appointments. It was zero degrees outside and snowing lightly, and driving proved a bit challenging. By the time I’d gone perhaps fifteen miles, I saw three different accidents and a variety of emergency vehicles. One car lay on its side in the deep snow by the side of the road, the headlights shining into the woods.

It was a no good very bad day to drive, and it took me a (personal) record 4 hours and 15 minutes to get to MGH. By that time I was an hour and a half late for my early morning appointment with the ENT. I was hopeful they could fit me in anyway, and sat there (futilely) until it was time for my blood draws in Yawkey.

Dr. Shaw was running late as well, and as lunch time approached, I took one of everything a pink-shirted volunteer was offering on her cart: tiny luke warm cans of V-8 and apple juice, and packages of crackers, bonny doons, and peanuts. Yum.

Eventually I was ushered into the back and Alice (Dr. Shaw) joined me a few minutes later. I’d been expecting a lousy scan report as I was still quite congested when I’d had my CT scan the week before (three weeks recovery time for the flu). However, it was again more or less stable; one lesion a millimeter larger, another two millimeters smaller. I broached the subject of less frequent scans, and to my surprise, it was now an option for those who lived great distances. After the drive that morning, I felt that I qualified, and unless there are symptomatic indications to the contrary, I will have my next scan in four months. Yippee!

The next stop was infusion, where to my great delight, they had booked me a bed and an acupuncture session with Irene. After dosing and picking up my crizotinib, I called the ENT office and the receptionist said to come on over.

This is where my day started to feel ugly. I was exhausted from the long drive and early departure, and it was already after two. What the receptionist neglected to tell me is that they would fit me in after all the other patients had been seen. I sat in the waiting room for three hours before I saw the doctor. I wish I could say that I whipped out my lap top and made good use of all the down time. But no. First of all, due to the lack of communication, I kept thinking that I’d be next. Secondly, I’d become rather undone.

I am really quite flexible and generally able to find some source of comfort in any given situation. I am, however, very impatient. In real life, whatever I am doing, I do quickly. I don’t like to go slow(ly). It is the character trait with which I struggle the most. However, I can generally find a way around my impatience; some sort of diversion. Even that morning, stuck in traffic, I had entertained myself by glancing out my windows and identifying things I would have liked to photograph.

But sitting in that office, with no timeframe, I simply felt trapped and lacking in control. And when feeling that way, I tend to just shut down.

Silly, really. And something I hope to overcome. But not yesterday. Good news and all, it was one ¬†bloody long day and I didn’t get back home until more than fourteen hours after I’d left.

But today, I’m all better again. Of course.