I got my blood drawn this afternoon and 15 minutes later, my room phone rang. It was the doctor. My blood count reached the magic number of 500 and I would be released! After the general consensus had been a Sunday discharge, this was an unexpected bit of good news.
As nice as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is, I was packed and ready to go in 20 minutes. After this morning’s breakfast Nutella and banana crepes and my jambalaya lunch, I was looking forward to tonight’s stir-fry shrimp, but I’ll be back at the hospital in a week. I also didn’t have time to check out the recreation center again and I was going to avail myself of the free board games tomorrow.
Also, I discovered there’s a pool table. How do you navigate a pool table with an IV in your arm? I also discovered that there’s an afternoon tea service. If the hospital had a happy hour and I could get a beer to go with my pool game, I might have found it harder to leave.
But I was tired of wheeling around an IV stand and I’d gotten away without peeing in a hat until today. I did figure out how to take a hot shower. I don’t know what it is about dials, but I constantly misinterpret them. I’m terrible at math, don’t know my left from my right and I can’t figure out dials. I think there’s some kind of diagnosis for that, other than being dimwitted. (I repeatedly burned things in the oven our landlord brought up to replace our broken one until I realized I had been misreading the dial. I had been turning things up to 400 or 500 degrees.) So in this unfamiliar shower, I had the dial pointed toward lukewarm instead of hot.
Today I found myself packed and waiting for my IV removal, two days before expected. I didn’t even have to change my pants, as I was wearing my brand-new dignity pants, suitable for public viewing. I threw on my boots and sweatshirt and was ready to go.
The only hitch was the car service I called to come pick me up. Since my boyfriend was working, I wasn’t being released to anyone and the nurse had to witness me getting into a cab or car. When I called right before 5 pm, the operator said 15 minutes, so the nurse escorted me to downstairs. At 5:18, I called to check. At 5:25 I had to call back after being on hold and forgotten about. “Two minutes,” snapped the person who answered the phone. Seven minutes later, I called to check again and was told the car was outside. After walking through the rain and asking several cars if they were for me, I had to call back because he’s hung up on me. By this time, I couldn’t get through. At 5:38, I called and was told to wait five more minutes. At 5:41, I called to cancel. At least I gave them the courtesy of an update. The front desk called me a car service that arrived in three minutes.
By this time, I was in tears, upset and having to have someone else waste her time, even though she so kindly waited with me and eventually ended up comforting me.
It’s always the little things that push you over the edge. Or push me over the edge, at least. Being back in the hospital was disappointing, but I had been OK up until the point where I couldn’t leave because of a car service. That was my breaking point. The car service just acted like they were doing me a favor. They had obviously lied about when they would arrive and even being there and then didn’t seem to understand why I was upset that they were almost an hour late. Once I even got into a car, finally, from another service, I couldn’t stop the tears. It wasn’t about the car anymore. The dam had broken and I just let things flow out. Quietly. Maybe a dam isn’t the right analogy. It was more like a slow leak.
I had been so angry, I worried my blood boiled and threw off my counts again.
But all is well, once again. As I type this, a cat is weighing down my right arm with her paw over my hand. I have a week at home, and all is right with the world.