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June 2007
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October 2007

It Can Happen to Anyone

Last night I dreamt that one of my friends had cancer.  She was still waiting for the test results to come back, but she was sure that they would reveal that she had cancer.  The dream, like most dreams, had events that were surreal and things that could only happen in a dream, but the premise of the whole thing was terrifying.  I am sure that it was sparked by the fact that I spent several minutes describing in depth some of the tests that I had gone through to my boyfriend earlier in the day, and how it can take forever to receive test results.  None the less, it was terrifying.

This morning I ran into a colleague who told me that each time she saw me she thanked God that I was still alive and walking around.  This is not someone with whom I work closely, but someone who I pass regularly in the hall, and who has always been kind and sincere in asking how I am doing and feeling.  I think that people around me are more amazed at what I have been through that I am.  Perhaps because the entire ordeal is still unreal to me. When I tell people that I have had a stroke it is as if I am telling them about someone else - not me.  I am still in disbelief, as I am sure many of my friends, relatives, and coworkers are.

Maybe that is why the dream about my friend having cancer affected me so deeply.  It is completely unbelievable, but like a stroke, it can (and does) happen to anyone.

The Emotions of Being Alone

I checked myself in to MGH today for a procedure.  It is weird.  6 or 7 months ago the idea of walking into a hospital alone and waiting for another medical procedure would have terrified me.  Instead, I felt surprisingly calm.  Another procedure in the past 11 months.  One of many.  Since I had my stroke, I have met with neurologist, hematologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, heart surgeons, etc.  I felt fine until the nurse put in my IV.  Instead of putting the IV into my had she put it into the vein in my arm.  The is one of my least favorite places for an IV.  When I was admitted to the hospital for a stroke, this is where they put in the IV.  It makes it uncomfortable to move your arm, and I felt helpless lying there with my arm straight out.

For some reason when the nurse put the IV in my arm today (and not my hand) I felt tears welling up in my eyes.  I felt all alone.  Up until that point I felt fine.  Oddly, there was something comforting when I climbed up onto the hospital bed.  It reminded me of being taken care of following the stroke and my heart surgery.  But the second the IV went into my arm, that safe feeling disappeared, and loneliness started to creep into my mind.  I wanted to have Hector there to hold my hand. 

When I asked the nurse why she decided to put the IV into my arm versus my hand she said that I did not have good veins in my hand.  I found that odd.  I have never had a problem with the veins in my hand.  True - I might be a bit dehydrated from all of the medicine that I had to drink to prepare myself for the procedure, but the nurse did not even try.  Lazy.  That is how I felt she behaved during the IV placement.  Luckily I would be given a nice little cocktail of drugs to sedate me for the procedure and would feel great once that kicked in, but it still didn't change the fact that the nurse did not try hard enough.  All of the other nurses were trying.  In fact the one two beds over was explained to her patient that even though it would be difficult, she would try to get a vein in her patient's hand.  I was very close to asking for another nurse to redo the line.  Very very close.  But I reasoned that at this point in the procedure it was not worth it.  It would not be long before the IV was out anyway.