Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our First Visit to the Chemo Ward

I have vivid recollections of that day when my husband and I pushed open the doors to that huge room. Recliner chairs lined one side, while hospital beds were displayed against the opposite wall, all holding patients receiving various types of treatment. Once registered, a nurse approached and asked which my husband would prefer, a chair or bed. He chose a bed and soon he was receiving his meds. The staff were magnificent and certainly understood our apprehension in this new environment, while patient's and their familes were accommodating to answer our many questions. One man in particular, whose wife was the patient, told me not to become intimidated by this new environment, but to make ourselves "feel at home" and pointed me towards a heated facility where I obtained warm blankets for my husband. A kindly lady paced the ward with her tray of refreshments, always going out of her way to personally get to know each patient and leaving each with a lasting smile and a memory from her humorous side. That particular chemo ward has large windows that allow those inside to have a scenic view of a beautiful garden, planted lovingly to encourage cancer patients and instill in them that "hope" abounds!

Our visits to that ward in the following weeks always left us with that same homely feeling. The constant beeping of IV machines, dripping orange popsicles, nurses always rushing to attend to any patient's needs, the biggest smiles on patient's faces and the kindly refreshment lady have all become my memories of that ward. It was there that cancer patients received hope and inspiration to keep going and to never, never quit.

One final remark leads me to that same gentleman that originally encouraged me to feel at home there. He had always been by his wife's side through her many treatments and each time we saw them there, his wife appeared so much weaker. She had lost all of her hair and her fragile body showed signs that her condition was worsening. One thing was constant though, and that was her enormous smile everytime we saw her! Not a usual everyday smile, but one that gave everyone who saw it, encouragement to keep going! We did not see her during our last few visits at that ward and assumed the worst had happened.

Two months ago, just a year since that time as we were driving into the hospital parking lot, we saw a couple walking towards us, holding hands and laughing. The woman donned a mass of dark curly hair, and as our eyes met, she gave a huge smile. You guessed it!!! It was the same couple that we had met and shared many hours with during chemo treatments. She was now cancer free and a picture of health. She has become our symbol of hope and inspiration to never give up, no matter how much the odds may be stacked against you.


Anonymous said...

Today's posting was just what my husband and I needed to read. He is scheduled to undergo chemotherapy within the next two weeks and like you, we are very apprehensive about our first visit. After reading your account of your first experience there, we are already feeling more relaxed.
Thank you for including the inspirational story as well.
I will definitely continue to read your posts!!!

Anonymous said...

Very informative and now I know who to communicate with when I need encouragement or have questions!!!
Great site!