Something isn't working folks.
Something is fucked up.
See.....I've shepherded three people through serious illnesses (including cancer) and advocated for them until their deaths. And now I sit side by side with my husband as he continues treatment for prostate cancer...and the ONLY time I have had medical professionals complain to me about doing their job is with injections of Zoladex.
Yesterday was the second time I've had to sit and listen to someone talk about how they really hated to do this, they tried to get somebody else to do it, they hate days when they have to do this, etc. The first time this happened I really lost my temper. O.k., my sister had just died from cancer, and let's just say it didn't end well. This time I tried to make pointed comments such as, "Well since you don't have cancer AND you're getting paid to do this, I'm not so worried about you." To no avail. And turning it all into a joke, as she tried to do, doesn't make it any better.
Any medical professionals out there? Please note that your patients and their loved ones REALLY don't want to hear you complain about having to give someone an injection that is intended to keep their cancer under control.
Let me say it again.
Do NOT complain to me about having to treat my husband for stage IV cancer.
Do not do it.
Do not fucking stand there laughing about how much you hate to do this. Becaue you know what? I hate dreading every single PSA test to see if his numbers have climbed, I hate worrying about the god damned evil thing metastisizing even further. I hate having my children grow up worrying about their father's cancer. I hate knowing that cancer claimed my beloved sister and took her away from us, from her nephews who adored her. I hate being so familiar with the cancer center that I miss their old ice machine. I hate that we have a favorite chair in the infusion suite. I hate every single fucking thing about cancer. I hate what it's done to me. I hate what it's done to my family. I hate what it's done to loved ones. I hate everything about it.
Do not complain to me. Do not tell me you hate doing something that helps my husband stay alive.
Do not fucking do it.
Perhaps Carle could flag Ernie's chart to say something like, "DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT TREATING THIS GUY BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE HIS WIFE FUCKING LIVID." Do you think maybe that would help?
I had an inkling things weren't going to go well when the nurse asked Ernie how long he liked to wait after the lidocaine. We both looked at each other confused, because...what the hell...you're the nurse...you tell us. Ernie, rather brilliantly I might note, said, "well....til it works." She said, "Well, some people like five minutes, some people like ten minutes. Ernie shrugged and said, "Yeah, that sounds good." Then she started in on how she hates giving these injections, she didn't want to do it, etc. Every single ounce of good will and happiness I had at that moment just drained right out of me. I glared at Ernie over the nurse's back and he looked at me a little nervously. I could tell he was wondering, "Is she going to blow?" I was so angry that I knew if I said anything more that I would cry and I didn't want to do that. I hate that I cry when I get mad, but I do. So I sat there and glared. Ernie said he knew it was really bad when the corners of my mouth wobbled.
Now, I get that it obviously isn't their favorite injection to give. I get that all nurses have different levels of experience. I get that sometimes there are parts of their job they don't want to do. I think nurses have incredibly tough jobs. But...you know.....this is something you bitch to your colleagues about, not your patients.
When I think of the countless medical procedures I have sat through with my father, my mother, my sister, my husband, and even myself. Never once, other than this god damned Zoladex injection has somebody complained. I've seen nurses cleaning shit off my family. Literally. I've watched a doctor do a parancentesis on my sister, trying to drain her cancerous abdomen, filling jars up with what looked like apple jelly. Never has anyone complained except for the nurses having to give Ernie a zoladex injection.
So....to the makers of Zoladex, to the Cancer Center, to the oncologists that prescribe this, and to the nurses that have to inject this little depot of hormones that keep his cancer under control: What's up? Do you need to provide better training? Because something isn't working. These nurses need to be able to do their job. What needs to be done? What needs to be changed? Because this? This is NOT o.k.
Let me say that I think Ernie generally gets very good care and I think the world of many of the nurses and oncologists we see. Let me also say that I think working as an oncology nurse has got to be incredibly demanding.
Just do not fucking complain to me one more time.
Do not do it.
I don't know if the nurse realized we weren't amused, but for whatever reason we sat there and sat there and sat there after his Zoladex stopped. Another nursed switched his IV to saline. And we sat there and sat there and sat there. I would have asked my favorite nurse but she was busy. Our nurse was nowhere to be found. Finally, after watching me glare the whole fucking room down and start slapping my phone on my hand in irritation, a nurse at the desk came over and checked on us and finally took the IV out.
We owed an extra dollar at the parking garage it took us so freaking long.
As Ernie struggled to pull another dollar out of his pocket for the parking garage attendent, I said, "That nurse owes us a fucking dollar." Ernie looked at me and said, "I love you Babe."