Day 3 of Chemo

Things continue to go well with my chemotherapy treatments this week at the hospital.  I haven’t been able to notice any side effects except for being a bit tired, so that is probably a good thing. The nursing staff who have been taking care of me have been wonderful. They seem to like to treat me like a mischievous son… actually they treat me a lot like my mother does I guess that makes sense when you consider that while I’m in the hospital for 3 to 5 hours every afternoon I’ve been sharing a room with three elderly gentlemen in their 70’s or 80’s. Compared to them I must look like a young buck.

I did learn something interesting yesterday from my nurse.  She was just getting ready to hook me up to My IV drip when I ask her if she knew how much my treatment cost.  She said she didn’t know but that she would go and find out.  I didn’t expect that she would know off the top of her head, and half suspected that she wouldn’t be able to easily find out the cost either. To my surprise she came back about two minutes later with a small booklet with, among other things, the cost of cancer treatment drugs. After thumbing through he booklet she found my drug, and showed me that the cost was $485 per mg, and that my half liter bag clear fluid contained 10 mg of the drug. So the total cost of the drugs for my daily treatment is about $4,850, and the total for my week long treatment will total over $24,000.  Needless to say I think I’m getting my money’s worth out of my federal and provincial taxes this year.  UPDATE: My nurse told me that she had mis-read the booklet.  The cost was about $500 per day, not $5000 per day.  So the treatment was not quite as expensive as I first throught it was.

As I mentioned, I’m sharing a room with three other men who are also going through cancer treatment.  Yesterday I had a chance to chat with Cliff, one of my room mates, and his wife Pearl.  As we talked Pearl told me about an experience she had on the bus that day.  The couple, both in their late 80’s, live in James Bay, and typically take a taxi when they occasionally need to travel further than walking distance from their home. Now that Cliff is in the hospital, and Pearl is visiting every day, the daily taxi rides were starting to strain their tight budget.  So she decided to try taking the bus to the hospital. She caught the bus with out any problem, but when she arrived at the hospital bus stop she realized that she was going to have to go down some stairs to get off the bus. She had the misfortune to catch one of the older buses with steep stairs at the front and back of the bus. Going up the stairs when she boarded the bus wasn’t too bad, but Pearl has problems going down stairs now that she is almost 90 years old.  As she stood at the top of the stairs wondering what she was going to do, she looked around the bus with a distressed look on her face.  Fortunately a couple of fellow passengers noticed the distressed look and asked if she needed any help.  She told them that she has a problem going down stairs.  At that point two passengers jumped up, each held her under her arms and gently assisted her off the bus.  The two young people made sure she was ok and then re-boarded the bus.  The bus pulled away.

Pearl said that she stood there on the side walk overwhelmed with emotion. She had just been standing on the bus, afraid to go down the stairs, and with in a few seconds two young UVic students had carefully helped her off the bus. She felt so grateful that tears started to well up in her eyes. Pearl’s comment to me as we sat chatting in the hospital was that while our society may have some problems, there are still a lot of good people around, who are willing to help a total stranger in need.

I had an enjoyable afternoon.  Take Care.

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