Wednesday, January 20, 2010

chemo treatment 5.5

last night in the hospital, Love brought me a roommate, a heavy woman in her late 60s with emphysema, lung cancer, legs that wouldn't move of their own volition, and all the scars and bruises and pain that come from treatment.

she was scared and confused and restless and i spent most of the evening stroking her head, holding her hand and reassuring her that her son or her caretaker would be coming soon.

so i gained a few minutes respite from feeling sorry for myself.

i also learned to step away when i needed to rest and to call for a nurse to take over, to insist that she needed someone to sit with her all night, not least so i could sleep.

two lessons. one (the easy one for me, usually) to put myself into perspective.
two (the hard one for me) to look after myself and put those needs first sometimes.

that said, the psychological effects of the hospital are awful.

everything makes me feel nauseated, fragile and debilitated (except for the sun streaming in the window like a smile).

the sharp scent of rubbing alcohol and purell; the hideous, faded cotton "gowns" that look like housecoats of mad old ladies from the 40s; the greenish, flickering fluorescent lights, the muddy yellow walls and the beige colored furniture; the beige woodframed frighteningly-mediocre macro photographs of flowers;

it all works together to make you powerless - along with grinning teams of doctors (with angry threats and insecurity bristling just beneath their jolly smiles) cheerfully skipping around my questions and patting me on the back about how well i am doing.

amazing how hospitals make you sick.


  1. Who do we know in fashion who could get the following done: create a competition to make hospital gowns that serve all the medical needs while being
    1. warm
    2. attractive
    3. green (as in renewable)
    4. not unecessarily revealing.

    I was thinking lots of velcro.. to provide access, as well as to make it fit better.

  2. there have been a number of designers and design co.s who've made hospital gowns - i've seen them written up and photographed - but they never seem to make it to the hospital!


  4. Dear God, Ameena. I'm sure living this entry was tougher than reading it -- and it wasn't fun to read. I am so happy this is your last dose, incha'Allah, God willing! Bi Salaama!

  5. not the last dose forever - just for today. but thank you for your prayers.

  6. I thought you were finished. I thought this was the last dose. I must have mis-read your past entry.

  7. Thoughts and prayers for you, Ameena, shouting out from San Franciso. --xo Chris