ChemoMonday proved to be quite an interesting day. I had been suffering from “the crud” and still had a hacky cough and runny nose. So, when I went to SCCA, I put on a mask so as not to infect other immuno-compromised individuals like myself.
I checked in at the lab (1st floor) and the check in person asked if I was having cold symptoms. I answered in my husky, raspy, cruddy voice that I had a cough and runny nose. I was then whisked into the lab and put into a room where the door couldn’t close fast enough. I had my port accessed, as usual, and left to check in for chemo (5th floor.)
Still wearing my mask, I arrived at the check in counter where the chemo check in person looked at me and asked if I was on “The List?” I told her I didn’t know what list she was talking about. She said since I was wearing a mask I needed to be cleared off “The List.” I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about but that I didn’t have a sore throat or fever. I asked if my chemo nurse had this special power to clear me and she told me maybe I should go talk to my oncology nurse.
So off to the 3rd floor we went (my sister Claire was my chemo buddy du jour) where I paged my oncology nurse. She came out to the waiting room and I explained I needed to be cleared to get off “The List” that I wasn’t sure I was even on. I asked her if she could clear me. She looked at me and said “Me? I don’t even know what you are talking about. I need to talk to the doctor.” Off she went to find the oncologist. A bit later she came back and said you are on “The List” and will stay on “The List” until you have three days of no coughing or running nose.
Sigh…..Back to the 5th floor to the same check in person to tell her I am now on “The List.” It takes about a nanosecond to get on “The List” so I asked how long does it take to get off “The List” All four of the people working at check in drop their heads and shake them slowly, “It can take a month” one of them replied. A month! I am told I need to sit in Respiratory Isolation. Sigh….. So Claire and I sit in the “special” seats so I can hack and cough and blow my nose without infecting anyone.
When it is my turn for chemo, I am assigned to room 22. It is one with sliding glass doors. As soon as the doors are closed a big STOP sign is slapped on the front along with a green sheet of instructions on entering my room. These are essential precautions so the nurses don’t spread my germs to other patients. While I understand and appreciate these procedures, it does make one feel ever so slightly like a pariah.
On Friday, if I have stopped coughing and running, I can call my oncology nurse and ask to be taken off “The List.” If not, there I remain, to be put in isolation for another week (or month) until I can be removed from “The List.”