User-agent: * Allow: / Lymphoma, Family, Food, and Diabetes: What I Like About the Chemo Room

Monday, May 17, 2010

What I Like About the Chemo Room

I like the chemo room. I'd prefer not to be here but it's not a bad place. The nurses are great. As a whole nurses are great but chemo nurses specialize in nice. Today I came in and Mary Sue hooked me up, started the Benadryl, brought me a warm blanket, filled my water bottle, and brought me a couple of crackers. And I'm pretty low maintenance.

Benadryl is nice. I get the best nap as they administer the Benadryl. I probably shouldn't count Benadryl as part of the chemo room since it is one of the drugs but the nap definitely belongs. And a big part of the nap is the recliner that has both a massage and heat button. When the warmth of the blanket begins to wane, I hit the heat button to warm the chair. It's necessary to stay warm due to the fluids pumped into you and the lower temperature of the room.

I like the people too. This morning we were talking about names. Ingrid and Vicki go by their middle names. Both of them have the first name of Mary but no one, including their parents, ever called them that. Mary Joan jumps into the conversation. Mary Joan is the wife of another person receiving chemo. She introduced herself as a poet and teaches poetry and English. Her parents called her Mary Jo and wasn't until she started publishing her poetry that people began to call her Mary Joan as that is the name she uses to publish. She believes names are very important and that she almost has two personalities - one for Mary Jo and another for the poet Mary Joan. Vicki relates to this because she had a elementary school teacher who told her name was misspelled and told her to write her name VICKY. She did this until she got married. This is the first conversation of the morning.

The second group conversation involves chemo tips! Syl has replaced Mary Joan. Syl has lung cancer and never smoked. She is concerned that it is time to shave her head but Ingrid tells us a trick. You can use a lint roller to roll your head and pick off the loose hair. She has never shaved her head, only lint rolled it. I found this very entertaining. Hats came off at that point. How many sheets do you have to use? Ingrid uses 4 or 5. The women discussed the use of facial cream on their heads to keep it from drying out. Ingrid also uses neosporin on her head to get relief from the little bumps that form as hair grows back in. Vicki has a great wig and fake eyebrows that you can't tell aren't her own. Rolling your head with the lint roller is declared the Chemo Tip of the Day by acclamation.

Everybody makes an effort to share what they have. Ingrid was here when I had my first treatment a month ago. Her father was here too, visiting from Oregon. They were telling Eunice and I about their breakfast - a boiled egg and strawberry shortcake. They used scones that Ingrid had made for the shortcake pushing in the center of a scone and spooning in the strawberries. The scones absorb the juice without becoming soft and mushy. Her father left to walk the dog and get the recipe for us. LeAnn, another chemo nurse made copies for all of us. I'll share the recipe below.

Nobody leaves without saying good-bye. The scheduler came in and is talking to Vicki so you know her chemo is about done. As she leaves she is sure to tell us all good-bye and good luck. She gives Ingrid a hug. It's Vicki's last treatment; they may not see each other again.

Eat Good Food, Be Kind, Tell the Truth
Click below for the collection of recipes or for an easy to print copy of a single recipe.

Collection of Recipes

Buttermilk Scones: Try using these for strawberry shortcake.

1 comment:

JohnWMann said...


Benadryl is the brand name for Diphenhydramine, you probably know that already.
Last year I had some fall allergy symptoms so I wanted some Benadryl, i.e. diphenhydramine. Here in the U.K. Benadryl is the brand for a different chemical. But diphenhydramine is sold as a sleep aid under the brand name Nytol.
I went to the "chemist" and asked for some diphenhydramine, for my allergy. The pharmicist looked it up on her computer and said it is only sold as Nytol. "Give me some Nytol, then" I said.
No can do apparently. Once I had presented myself with an allergy symptom, she could not sell me the perfect allergy drug because they only sell it for sleep issues. Health and safety regulations.
I went to a different chemist and said, "Give me some Nytol." No problem. They sell codeine over the counter here, but not 'Benadryl' as we know it, unless you ask for it for the particular symptom for which it is licensed in the U.K.
This is why they refer to the system here as the "Nanny State."
Sweet Dreams.