…They can call me crazy if I fail
All the chance that I need
Is one in a million
And they can call me brilliant
If I succeed…”
I’m spending the morning in the Oncology unit at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Don’t send flowers, I don’t have cancer. I am undergoing Remicade treatment and it is a series of 4-hour IV infusions. This takes place in the Cancer Center. While most of the patients here are undergoing Chemo, not everybody is. My roommate for this bout is Kevin. He was my roommate the last time that I was here as well and I was happy to see him coming through the door. His kidneys aren’t functioning well. He lives a block from the hospital and walks over daily for weeks at a stretch for several hours of fluids. In other words, my life is not so shitty. Kevin eats a lot of graham crackers and he shows me pictures of his rescue mutt on his iPhone. Plus, we can both agree to leave the TV off. This I like. Enough about the effing Swine Flu already.
Since I’m stuck in a plastic, reclining chair with a needle in my arm for a few hours, I have some time to reflect upon the experience. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, in no particular order:
1. A quick quiz: Question? When it comes to driving on very wet, very steep hills during morning rush hour is it better to be in an automatic with bald tires and bad brakes or a stick shift with a slipping clutch? Answer? Trick question. It’s a draw.
2. I feel that the people who utilize the Ninth Avenue Parking Garage could benefit from a tutorial on parking from yours truly. Lesson one: Those white lines? They’re not decorations. They are meant to provide you with a general idea of where to aim your vehicle before putting it into park and turning off the engine. And if the word, “COMPACT” is stenciled between said white lines? Keep driving with your urban assault vehicle. Honestly.
3. I would really like to take this little nurse’s aide home with me. He’s funny as hell and could practically fit in my purse. I could really use a gay sidekick. More on that later but suffice it to say, I am accepting applications.
4. Lastly, and most importantly: Where is it written in the Merck Manual that cancer patients must only listen to smooth jazz and Enya? I find this to be both patronizing and nauseating. I see so many beautiful, unique, alive people walking and wheeling these halls and I feel that they deserve something with a little life in it. There is nothing therapeutic about the musical stylings of people tinkering around on a synthesizer while wearing flowing, rayon frocks. Hell no. Save it for your Reiki appointment. These people are trying to beat CANCER. Where’s the Simon and Garfunkel? Where’s the Aretha Franklin? Where’s The Clash? The only thing that Enya makes me want to battle is the effing PA system.
So as this Remicade drips into my vein, I would like to say: Bring the chutzpah, Virginia Mason. Let’s start kicking some ass. We’ll sleep when we’re dead. And I, for one, will not be listening to Enya when the pale horse rides in.