The View From The One Not In The Chemo Chair

I'm the one not in "the chair." I'm sitting opposite watching her sleep.  Finally.  She fought the Benadryl, fought the panic, and has finally let go.  She looks peaceful and beautiful.  Her skin is exquisite.  I'm exhausted too.  Tired of smiling, of trying to fill the conversation with light banter about nothing.  

Credit:  Google Images

We met with the doctor, we wrote the answers to her questions and took precise notes about medications.  It is all safely tucked into her journal we titled, "I'm Too Vain For Cancer."  We love the title.  We should write a book someday.  She's got her blanket over her; crocheted by women at work, we have all of our supplies in a bag stored at my feet.  Books, granola bars, a sweater, crossword puzzles and sudoku.  I've gotten the lay of the land.  Forty three chairs, all filled.  Curtained areas for privacy, a companion chair in each cubicle.  I guess that makes me the companion as I'm in the chair.  I found the snack area where volunteers leave all kinds of food for both patient and patient's friend, and there is always plenty of coffee.  The refrig/freezer is stocked with ice pops.  Apparently one drug is so toxic that the patient has to suck on an icepop the whole time it drips into her port to avoid literally burning her throat.  We've been here for three hours.  I've not missed a meal; food is my constant. I can count on food.  Plus, it gives us something to talk about and to do.  I managed to get her to eat some soup and the Au Bon Pain breadsticks are amazing.  Unfortunatley I'll never be able to eat them again without thinking of this room.  It is packed and has stayed packed for the past three hours.  Some come in for a quick 20 minutes, like pulling into a gas station to fill up on their way to work.  They are dressed in suits, with heels and briefcases.  Other than a slight tint of green to their skin, and the telltale exhausted eyes, they could be anyone any day on her way to the office.  There is the college student.  Blessedly, no one under 18 comes to this room, there is a separate place for them.  I don't think I could take that.  The college student is bad enough.  His  mother sits with him and I can see her agony.  She would do anything to change chairs.  I see an older couple.  They hold hands a lot.  The doctors come and go, the nurses are saints.  Buzzers go off constantly as IVs empty and cry out for changing.  Bag after bag after bag.  For us, it's almost 6 bags every three weeks.  We hold on to the hope that it will work; the hair will come back , the ankles and arms will become less swollen, the scars will heal and we can talk about this someday from the other end.  We have faith.  I know I don't ever want the view from the chemo chair, but I feel blessed to have sat opposite.  It's a chair and a sitting that I will never forget. I'm sure she won't either.


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