Dec. 18, 2013: Many medical specialists recommend a change of scenery for long-term patients. It creates a break in the routine that is vital to boosting the human spirit.
Following this sound advice, I checked in for ten days to a renowned facility that guarantees rest and relaxation 24/7--Martin Memorial Hospital in Stuart, Florida. This outfit boasts three nutritious meals a day, attendants to assist your every need, always with a smile, and great views of the harbor.
Truthfully, I would have preferred a Club Med excursion; however, age and current lack of enthusiasm for the hedonistic lifestyle eliminated that option.
I did anticipate, however, missing my friends every Wednesday at "Frankenstein health spa" to imbibe in the festivities of dispensing a chemo cocktail directly into my chest. This procedure is always met with an expressive outcry from the participants. There's nothing like having a needle driven into the surgically implanted "port" in your chest to administer the juice. Makes you sit straight up and say "HOWDY."
Chemo plays havoc with your blood count. Mine was so low the doctors found it was something related to a million-year-old lungfish. That's why I went for incarcerated R/R.
I'm going to give you a leg up on what I learned during this forced holiday in case you find yourself someday on this appealing type of rest!
Hide half the stool softeners they issue. They are the devil's brew and create much panic for the "tile" in the middle of the night. Also, the bed sheets and covers have a secret hatred for you and will try to strangle you in the dead of night. Keep an eye out as in a fifth general order.
When you need aid and you employ the call button, respond to the intercom in a precise manner using a serious plea as if you were directing the landings at Normandy. Otherwise, take a nap. It will be an hour before someone appears to ask, "Do you need help." "Yes! That's why I'm turning blue!"
When a nurse is helping you and then declares, "I'm going to get someone to help," that translates into they will be gone for hours, they're late for their yoga class.
Well, nothing is meant to be perfect, including my tongue-in-cheek critique. Most nurses do an unheralded difficult job. My home nurse, Tamara, is fantastic and a gift from above. She should have been a doctor.
With any extensive rest bit such as mine, thoughts of life lived sneak into your mind. The good and bad hang on the wall, particularly for this scoundrel in tough status.
1. I'm grateful for my good friends and extended family. I'd take a bullet willingly to protect these folks. I was blessed to be born American and feel loss when those who provide it are lost. I am thankful for my enemies. It means I stood my ground on my beliefs and opinions without yielding; my footprint is deep. My brother and sister are my family and we are close. There has never been anything that has divided us--success or failure, lying or omissions, theft or greed. Fred always said, "Never let anything come between you and your brother or sister." He would know.
2. I regret in my younger days utilizing my sharp tongue and ready hands. I feel shame for those I hurt, when a kind word may have worked better. Life is lessons and there were many I had to learn. As Betty used to say, "Don't worry, Pete, you'll be fine, you're a late bloomer, that's all."
I ask my 2 1/2 readers to say a prayer for the young and old cancer warriors at this time of year in particular. This plague is out of control and a cure must be found, now! . . .
God bless to B'ville and have a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.