Long Term Effects, Losing Friends, Sloan-Kettering Diaries
Another of my friends died yesterday at Sloan, while I was in Urgent Care, he was in Cardiac ICU. We both had taken big doses of radiation to the heart, to the aorta. Eddie had an aortic valve replacement, and bypass surgery, but did not survive it.
I think we are supposed to be grateful that we’ve even come this far. I buried so many friends when i was eighteen, so many friends to their first cancer, their first treatments. I know any of them would have given anything to live to their second cancer, or to live threw late effects of treatment.
Every nurse and doctor at Sloan yesterday warned me yesterday that my insurance wouldn’t pay for this medication or that hospitalization. It was as if I dealing with a bunch of administrators; they had not diagnosed my condition nor managed my pain. They made me sicker and left the room while I vomited violently. Three showed compassion; one nurse who I was lucky to get while my nurse was on her break, Bryan, was awesome, a listener. One doctor, a shrink I requested to consult with, who was the only one who actually listened. His technique was solid and receptive and focused. He was the only doctor who sat down and looked me in the eye and said “what’s goin on?” Dr. B diagnosed the condition, not as a jaw abscess, but as TMJ, which relieved me. The third was my darling Genvieve, a pharmacist, who bought me soft food, and changed my medications. When the stuck up nurse / clown D. said “We are in a national shortage for compazine” — my pharmacist/hero found some in the O.R. and sent me home with it.
A nightmare night. Without the advocacy of my Mother and my Girlfriend, and the compassionate three, I lost my strength to fight for myself against the mechanized dis-compassionate many.