Chemo Cycles: And Then There Were Five


Ed's faith in the hope he had found was becoming stronger throughout his cancer treatment.

Ed and Pattie shared their morning paper and coffee after Ed was hooked up to the infusion pump. No fever today, but the lack of appetite lingered, possibly because the metallic taste would not leave his mouth. He was also beginning to develop small sores in his mouth. Ed did not sleep for the third night in a row, thanks to the steroids he received on the first day of chemo. The diarrhea had subsided, but was replace be the discomfort of constipation. The nurse advised Ed to begin using stool softeners regularly.

After reading the paper and finishing a cup of coffee, Ed slid back into engineering mode and began thinking about how to help the nurses determine which patient’s infusion pump was sounding an alarm. He noticed each infusion pump had a data port and there were many was to communicate malfunctions to a computer, but that method would, in and of itself, also cause delays. The best solution would be a package plugged into the data port that would detect the malfunction locally and illuminate a colored light mounted on top of the “Christmas tree”. Then when the nurses were being overwhelmed with patients’ needs and looking for the offending alarms, they could just look up around them and over the half walls, and the closest available nurse could go right to the problem infusion pump.That solution still works within Ed’s mind, limited mostly by a lack of information on those brands of infusion pumps.

The coffee was taking effect along with the multiple fluids being fed into Ed’s body and he rose to go use the restroom, escorted by his “Christmas tree”. On returning to his chair, he noticed a fluid running down his arm from near the infusion site and dripping on the floor. Since he was passing Nurse Nancy, he brought to her attention. Nurse Nancy instantly reach for a hazmat tunic and shouted “toxic spill, toxic spill!” She then threw a towel on the puddle Ed’s dripping arm had made on the floor. Housekeeping came in to professionally clean up the spill and trail Ed left back to the restroom as the nurses worked to remove and replace Ed’s leaking infusion line. One nurse noticed how prominent the veins were in Ed’s forearm and exclaimed “Wow, pipes!" as she inserted a new line.

Entertainment was not lacking in the infusion room, which was well-stocked with current magazines, several personal DVD and CD players and a nice supply of movies, videos and music discs. Ed had tried to read a book and work on his laptop, but could not stay focused. He was very much fatigued from the lack of sleep and gradually drifted off into one of many short naps that day.

Ed was finished for the day. It had taken less than five hours since he tolerated the gradually increased drip rate over the course of the week. As they drove home, Pattie asked if he would care for chicken Caesar salad for an early dinner. Ed perked up at that suggestion, as that was one of Pattie’s many delightful kitchen creations.

Tomorrow would be the fifth and final day of Ed’s first chemo cycle. Hopefully there would only be five more cycles. Cycle two would begin in four weeks. Not only did he have hope but, he also had faith in his treatments.

That evening, setting in his recliner, Ed finished only part of the delicious chicken Caesar salad Pattie made for him. He then drifted off to sleep. Pattie hated to wake him, but knew that he would rest better in bed. Even so, Ed wondered what he ever did to deserve such a wonderful care giver as his lovely wife.

And hope kicked in, there were only five more to go.

“…through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:2 (NKJV)

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