Yesterday was quite a jolly time in the radiotherapy waiting room. Sometimes we are in -and – out and barely get time to nod and say hello, but yesterday they were running 20 minutes late so a bit of bonding went on. Here are a list of some of the conversions:
- proposal that we instate a perpetual Monopoly game, that we could step in and out of. As you arrive you take over from someone who is going int to be zapped. Of course, we agreed that we need to enter the waiting room at an opportune moment to make sure we take over from someone who has lots of hotels.
- how those who need to enter with full bladders best mange 20 minute waits (!)
- how our sub waiting area ( 1& 2) is much better than area for numbers 3-6. There is a nicer class of people (we wouldn’t want the lot form 3-6 wanting to muscle in on out monopoly game!) and also how the machine in number 4 (which several of us occasionally have had to go under when there is a big queue in ours) is not as nice and sounds as if it is on its last legs; it squeaks.
- how lovely the blood letting man is.
- how marvellous ‘Maggie’s’ is. (A lovely centre just in the hospital grounds that caters for us cancer patients) and how we can get free tea and coffee in REAL cups, and if we wish we could take all sorts of courses, and get all types of support. Not only is it useful, it is a lovely, welcoming environment. For example on Friday there had been a cooking demo with a nutrition lecture, expounding the benefits of a healthy diet and which vitamins and minerals were of benefit and what foods to find them in and what to avoid (sugar!) … then of course you get free food!
- In contrast, we discovered a shared experience of how certain of the doctors ( we tactfully didn’t discuss which ones) don’t ‘get’ it when we get enthusiastic about looking for ways to increase out chances against this cancer. They, it seems have, with various of us, poo-pooed research on supplements and diet, actually forbidden patients to take any vitamins of nutritional supplements, promoted sugar in the diet(!) and told patients to actually stop certain healthy diets (for example a Mediterranean diet!). This really worries, offends and confuses patients and relatives, especially when they have researched lots of evidence and doctors then, rather than offering contrary evidence, just say that you should you ignore that evidence just because they say so. (This was by far the least jolly conversation we had. Although I am sure they don’t intent to, those doctors* are very close here to extinguishing any vestige of hope for some with the most serious and terminal diagnoses.)
- how the pampering experience of having your mask being made (see latest fashion accessory) turns into a less entertaining experience of being pinned to a contraption they euphemistically call a bed and being elevated somewhere near the ceiling while they revolve ugly looking machines around your head for 15 mins. Suggestions to improve the experience include: get a better mattress on the ‘bed’ and decorate the machines to make them pettier.
- possible uses for a pale mauve mesh replica of your face when you are finished with it.
- and, not to forget the perennial conversation… traffic and parking (again sense of humour begins to fail with that old potato!)
As you tend to meet the same people every day, you do get to get to know them slowly in weird 20 minute instalments. Can’t wait for today’s instalment.
* I must add that not all doctors so this; some (and in particular some of those I have personally encountered) are lovely, inspirational, sympathetic individuals who are as much a part of the treatment as the knives and chemicals they wield. I would also comment that the presence of one of the oncology nurse support team in a clinic definitely adds to this sense of empathy and holistic support of the patient as an individual.