Still learning

After a quick day trip on a perfect afternoon in Chicago watching the Air and Water show with my dad from the VIP area right on the water, I was back in Holland on Monday getting yet another round of chemotherapy.

This time, I remembered that I could get a prescription for lidocaine, which numbs the skin so the poke of the needle into the port in my chest didn’t leave me squirming in the chair.  Don’t ask me why I forgot to ask for it until this week.  My nurse told me I could use it the first time I had chemo through my port, but I think at that point I’d been poked by so many needles that I figured one more poke wasn’t going to really affect me.  My memory may be cloudy, but I didn’t mind it too much the first few treatments.  Lately though, it’s been a major source of anxiety and, well, it hurts.  And there are no extra points for being “brave” and dealing with any more pain than necessary.

So there was lidocaine, and it helped a lot, and now I feel dumb for not using it before.  The treatment seemed to go quickly this week, partially because my dad and I watched Senna the whole time, and didn’t even have time to finish it before it was time to leave.

I also figured out that whatever solution they use to flush out my port at the end of treatment (so blood doesn’t clot it up) isn’t odorous to anyone but me.  It only takes a few seconds to flush, but in that time it somehow directly attacks my taste, and with it my smell, and it’s nauseating.  I usually sit there with my nose plugged to at least lessen the effect, and I didn’t even realize that I was the only one who could taste/smell/feel it until this week.  I don’t know how injecting something into a vein in my chest triggers my sense of taste so quickly and so strongly, but the human body is a weird machine.  Luckily, it isn’t nauseating for that long.

Monday and Tuesday were predictably rough, but I’m back on top of things again by today.  Enough for a fast bike ride this morning in which I finally won a sprint for a stop-ahead sign.  First time in a long time.  And I’m going to keep telling myself that nobody gifted it to me, even though that’s a distinct possibility.

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