Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Thursday, November 17, 2005

This Is A Serious Shout Out.

I had a long and boring day at The Cancer Clinic. Normally the place is run like a well-oiled wrestler…um, I mean, machine but today was an exception to the rule. I had to wait 45 minutes to see my doctor and when he finally showed up we spoke for about 3 minutes. I then had to go up to the chemo ward to get my porta-cath flushed. This has to happen every 4-6 weeks to avoid blood clots. For that procedure, which takes all of 5 minutes, if that, I had to wait 1 hour and 10 minutes in the waiting room. That sucked. I hate waiting and was pretty frustrated at the end of the day. And my parking bill was HUGE!

Today was an exception to the rule as for the most part I almost look forward to going to The Cancer Clinic as the staff is always super nice. They really go out of their way to make your time there pleasant.

I go to radiation everyday and if there is a new technician helping out that day they ALWAYS introduce themselves to me. I am truly terrible with remembering names but I really like this practise. There are a couple techs that I see almost every time and we are on very friendly terms now. You have to remember that I only get to talk to them while they are setting me up for my radiation and that takes no time at all. Despite our brief meetings we talk about good restaurants and exchange book titles and authors we have enjoyed. I learn what everybody gets up to on the weekends and how the shopping trip went on their day off.

While I was waiting in the chemo ward waiting room I got to see how the nurses there interacted with their patients. When I was going though chemo I have to admit I was pretty high on Ativan to deal with my anxiety. I don’t remember much about my chemo sessions. Today I was amazed to see that each nurse came out and personally got their patients from the waiting room. They greeted them warmly and introduced themselves. Often I heard them say, “I remember you from several weeks ago. How are you doing?” They were so unbelievably kind every single time. Then to further emphasise how cool these nurses were this one nurse who I had a couple times during my treatment saw me and waved. She called out, “Hi S****! Look at your hair! How are you doing?” Right after that another nurse who also treated me a couple times saw me and came over and said the same thing, teasing me that my hair was almost longer than hers. She remembered my name too. My last treatment was at the beginning of September! I have to admit I don’t remember their names. It was very touching that they not only recognised me but also recalled my name after all this time. I can assure you I was not particularly chatty or had any significant interactions with them that would make me more memorable. They are just cool that way. When you think they have four patients in their treatment rooms rotating every couple of hours they must see a lot of people in their day. Really amazing.

The other thing that I think is really excellent about the chemo ward is that they have an area in the waiting room where you can get iced water or make yourself coffee or tea. They also have this cute young guy in a little blue smock that has a trolley and he goes from chemo room to chemo room offering beverages and cookies. He also visits the waiting room and spreads the hospitality. It is like our very own cancer flight attendant. I think this is a nice extra touch.

While I was waiting there was a lady who came in for her chemo who was obviously very ill. The waiting room contains regular chairs as well as couches and recliners. This lady sat on a couch and asked the receptionist for a pillow. The woman unhooked herself from her phone set-up and got this tired woman a pillow and a blanket so she could lie down on the couch while she waited for her chemo.

So what I am trying to say is that these nurses, technicians and support staff really go out of their way to make a scary and unpleasant time the best that it can be. They make the extra effort to interact and form a relationship with their patients. They do this on top of giving great medical care. The job isn’t easy by any stretch with late shifts and difficult, both emotional and physical, working conditions.

If you are in the unfortunate position to be receiving medical care and you have a good experience please make sure you thank those people who treated you right. If you are healthy and well go visit Spoonleg, our resident Blogville nurse and give her a shout out for her hard work. That gal is working her ass off at the hospital as well as grad school. Hug your health care provider today!


Leigh-Ann said...

My partner and I keep threatening to move to Canada (I'm from Ontario, but we live in Las Vegas). If we moved to Canada I could work again, we could get married, and I could have health insurance again. I know the Canadian healthcare system isn't perfect, but the story of your cancer treatment, combined with my father's excellent care for a pulmonary embolism in a hospital in Ontario, are good reminders that there are lots of things being done right in Canada, too.

Twisteduterus said...

I had 2 sisters who were in and out of hospitals for all of their lives. They had the same expereinces with their nurses, they were just the best. It was never a dreaded thing for my sisters to spend a week in the hospital, infact I think the one kind of liked it, it was kind of like camp.

Lovely post.

Divine Calm said...

Isn't it amazing when you get to see angels here on earth?

kalki said...

It is so true that kindness makes all the difference in situations like this. The few times I've had sorta-scary procedures at the hospital, the way I was treated by the staff made me feel not only like I was in good hands, but that they actually cared about me. It sounds lame, but it really meant a lot to me.

I think good nurses realize they are treating more than the person's body. And I'm certain that the ones who know you have come to sincerely care about you, Stacey.

circe said...

I have to wholeheartedly agree with you. My nurses were amazing and wonderful thoughout the whole experience. The caring and compassion was palpable and very much appreciated. I sent the staff thank you cards several times for their kindness and understanding. Nurses make such a difference in cancer patient's lives and attitude. (and this is USA experience I'm speaking about)

Susie said...

Very well said. As I often say from my soapbox, good nurses and good teachers make the world go 'round. There are no more important members of society. And I am so glad you're being treated so very well. It does make SO much difference. Nice matters.

hemlock said...

It's so important to have caring and empathetic people working in those jobs. I agree wish Susie, good nurses and teachers who care about their jobs are so valuable.

Sharkey said...

Hear, hear!! The nurses at my oncology clinic are awesome too. I don't know how they do it day after day, but I'm so glad they do.

I still have my port flushed once a month too. Usually I go to one of my clinic's smaller satellite offices because it's closer to home, but every few months I make the appointment at the main clinic, just so I can say hello to all the nurses.

But the treat trolley? We never had that. Cool!

Amanda B. said...

I smooch you Sweetheart. (and gently palm your ass)

Udge said...

My cousin the nurse says "If you really want to thank them, write a letter the (hospital, clinic) management praising them," because it goes into their permanent record.

Nice to hear you in good (cheerful) voice.

Dima said...

Yay for nurses. They are wonderful people, most of the time. But this post makes me want to give you a big HUG! You're a sweetheart, and that's why they remember you!

snaps79 said...

I'm not hugging Spoonie - if there's going to be body to body contact, I'm totally honking her hooters first. Then....THEN, maybe a hug.

SassyFemme said...

I totally love nurses, they're the most amazing people. After having spent so much time in the ospitals w/my parents I got to know a lot of them, and still run into a few from time to time at the grocery store. They never fail to recognize me, ask how I'm doing, etc... Nurses are truly a special breed of people!

Von Krankipantzen said...

leigh anne-it does have its problems but so far my experience has been wonderful. I hope your dad is doing well.

twisted u-thanks. I can't say I felt like the hopital was camp but I did feel very spoiled at times.

divine calm-that is exactly how they are.

kalki-you are so right. They do make you feel like they really care about you. I only hope that I am as good a patient as they are care-givers.

circe-I try to bring treats as much as I can for them. I love reading all the thank you cards they have displayed.

susie-yes! Teachers too. They are an undervalued resource.

leafgirl77-they are very special people.

sharkey-Yes! It was just so nice to see them again. I was suprised I missed them so much.

amanda b-me and my ass thank you!

udge-I would have to write 100 letters and I only wish I remembered everybody's names. I try to make sure I thank them in person though. Maybe a letter thanking everybody would be enough.

dima-that is so kind of you to say. Thanks.

hdl-fair enough. Honk your nurse today!

sassyfemme-isn't that sooo cool when they remember you?!? So sweet.

Closet Metro said...

can I smooch and palm your ass too?

Squirl said...

Nursing is a job I would never choose for myself. It definitely takes a special person to do it. I'm so glad you've had a good experience.

When my mom was in the hospital the nurses were really cool, too. Of course, they really liked her. She might've been sick, but she was still feisty. They really got a kick out of her.

spoonleg said...

AWWW, what an awesome post, kranki!Iam so glad that you get such good treatment at your clinic, as well as everyone else. If there is anyone who deserves to be pampered and cheered up, it's those folks going through the very scary chemo process. Even nurses have to admire patients like that!

I second, third and fouth the motion to write a letter of gratitude! A quick tip, if you don't remember their names IT'S OK! Just address a friendly greeting card to the "nurses and techs on the chemo ward"- it will get to them! And trust me, it means a lot more to them than you'd ever imagine.

Another tip, if you're feeling especially grateful, bring them a little treat next time you're in, even if it's something simple like some little candies or donuts, they will really appreciate it. And I guarantee, they'll be even friendlier because they'll recognize you as the cool patient who brings them goodies! :)

Of course, none of the above is necessary. Even more meaningful to nurses is being told in person what a postive impact they've made on their patient. It's really heat warming!

happyandblue2 said...

I think you should thank them all then crush their heads. In a loving way of course..

mrtl said...

It's good to know that our Kranki is in such good hands.

Nessa said...

Hey Kranki - I'll do you one better - I'll give Spoonie a big fat hug from you AND I'll get her drunk! Friday - it's on!

In all seriousness - though I've not been through what you are, I have been in the hospital numerous times and I always send cards and profuse thank-you's to the kind people that took care of me! They truly are a special breed!

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