This is my brain on chemo . . .

5 May

Yesterday was a pretty tough day. Somehow I thought that getting clear scans would sort of make all of the stress of things go away. But, I feel like I am hit by a train everyday right now. I spent yesterday mired in medical junk – pre-op tests mostly and then dealing with the city (trying to get copies of documents relating to my landlord’s failure to repair and comply with bringing my apartment up to code so that I can defend myself in this nonsense eviction situation). Between the two things, my head is spinning.

I got up yesterday morning and sent an email to my attorney about how the city denied my records request (earlier yesterday morning I spent a very frustrating 20 minutes on the phone with the city clerk wherein she “explained” how the city had “complied with the law” and could not release the documents to me that I was requesting. I asked which law, what law and she never could tell me. So much for public records and the right to information . . . but, I digress).

It took me forever to write a simple email to my lawyer about the latest with the city. Then it was off to Hoag Hospital for pre-op tests.

I had forgotten that last year a friend came with me for the pre-op stuff. He stayed with me for the half day of paperwork, walking from radiology to cardiology to where ever they sent me. And, he drove me there, parked the car, walked me in, etc.

So this time I went alone. No big deal, right? My parents offered to meet me there, but, I told them that was silly. Well . . . silly for a normal, well, non-chemo-brained, non-cancer-patient person, maybe. I ended up unable to find a parking place – took me 30 minutes to find a place to park – I literally (and this is hard to admit) got confused, lost. Lost in a parking lot – how is that possible? My head is/was scrambled.

I finally found parking at the Cancer Center – the only place that rang a bell, looked familiar to me – probably because I spent 6 weeks getting radiation there every day. So, that is where I parked.

The next challenge in my maze was to get from there back to the Woman’s Pavilion to check in for my pre-op tests. Well, that was a whole other problem. Someone walked me from the entrance to the Cancer Center to the “Cancer Tunnel” (seriously – that is what is is called – a “cancer tunnel” – it is a tunnel from the cancer center to the main hospital and it is ominous. I felt like I was entering a science fiction movie, something out of 2010 Space Odyssey, I kept waiting for Hal to start speaking . . . it was a creepy walk through a deserted, very wide, no windows, creepily lit hallway, ick, so creepy).

When I got to the end of the hallway, there was an elevator to take down to the hospital level, but, it opened up on a maintenance side of the hospital – like I was entering the bottom of a ship – noises equipment etc.

It took me a while to figure out that there were two sides to exit the elevator from. At this point, I was very confused, tired, simply could not think. And so I just stood there and cried. I cried because I was lost, I cried because I could not figure out how to get out of this dungeon that I had walked into, I cried because I was confused.

It was like my brains were made out of scrambled eggs. My appointment was for 11:30, I arrived in the first of several parking lots I toured yesterday, by 11:20 (arguably plenty of time to get parked and into the check in place at the hospital. But, instead, I did not arrive until 12:15 – it took me almost an hour.

So back to the exit from the “cancer tunnel” – I finally figured out that the elevator had tow sets of doors. Got back on the elevator and got the other doors open and wallah! I was now in the main hospital. Still, could not figure out how to get to where I needed to be, asked for help, directions went in one ear and out the other. I ended up walking for a very long time. Until I finally saw something that looked familiar to me.

Then an elderly woman volunteer (who had by now noticed that I was lost and had seen me walk past her several times) walked me to the main entrance. It was crazy. I felt like I was going crazy.

The rest of the day, not even going to detail. It was more of the same nutty-ness – my brain that is. For example, went to provide the nurse with a urine sample (took the cup in with me, but forgot to fill it – sorry for giving too much information). My point is just that I could not take care of the simplest things, could not follow instructions or directions.

I finally got done with the exams and made my way home. Got back to my car via the “cancer tunnel” (who names a creepy, dimly lit corridor – with absolutely no natural lighting the “cancer tunnel”? I feel like I have been in my own cancer tunnel for the past year or more. I want out, I want out desperately).

On the way home I went back to the city to make a second written request for documents associated with my complaint to the city against my landlord (as my lawyer needs these to show that I was evicted due to retaliation – for calling the city on my landlord).

The city offices are about 1 mile from my home. I was just there on Monday . . . but, I got confused again, drove three times as long to get there, parked in the wrong lot, it is like someone is moving buildings on me, moving landmarks, messing with my brain.

I think it is stress. I am so overloaded – especially by the threat of having to move right now – by the threat of my landlord trying to evict me right in the middle of recovering from surgery. It is just too much.

I hesitate to even publish this post. It is embarrassing to admit how scrambled my head was yesterday. And, I surely hope that it is past tense.

I have a couple of appointments to get to today. One is back at Hoag – hopefully the parking situation will be better today. I will get their early and use the valet this time.

I have an appointment this am in Long Beach for a second opinion – surgical consult. I have never been to this doctor before, so I don’t know how to get there – I mean, I do have directions, but, I have a hard time following directions sometimes. I will get there and I will leave extra early I guess to allow for my scrambled brain to work.

2 Responses to “This is my brain on chemo . . .”

  1. Sandy Gougis May 5, 2010 at 11:08 AM #

    Hey, Sweetie. This is an incredibly brave post, and I’m so glad that you decided to share it. How many other medical patients have been in your situation and thought they were the only ones?! When I was recovering from my car accident, on heavy-duty medications but still in a lot of pain, and very stressed – I had several days like your yesterday! And for the last 22 years, I thought it was just me. So thank you for sharing your experience. I wonder how many other people you will help without every knowing it.

    Would you like to borrow my GPS until you’re feeling better? If you think it would make your life easier, just let me know, and I’ll bring it over.


  2. cancerfree2b May 5, 2010 at 5:52 PM #

    Hi Sandy,
    You are very sweet. Do you think that we could permanently install a gps device into my brain? That would probably be a good idea. And, maybe I could get a chip placed so that I could be found when I am lost . . . ugh! 🙂

    I can tell you that yesterday’s post will pretty much ensure that I do not make my blog public again anytime soon (as it is now, my blog is not searchable by search engines, I think I will keep it that way for a while).

    Thank you for your message. I really appreciate it.

    Today was another winner of a day. I was out all day for medical stuff and was finally home at 5:00 – very glad to be home finally – and then I get a call from Dr. Z’s office letting me know my surgery for the 11th is cancelled. The new tentative date is 5/21. Not particularly happy about this. The 21st is a big day for my work, as you know. So, not good timing.

    I sent Dr. Z a text (had saved her cell phone from when she called me once last year . . . heh, heh). She called me back, I explained the situation and she is going to look into it.

    It really throws a wrench into things as I already had care takers lined up for the weekend after the 11th. I can’t have my parents trying to look after me that whole weekend, it is just too much.

    Well, we’ll see, maybe Dr. Z. can give me another date next week. i don’t see how, but, hopefully there will be something.

    I appreciate both your prayers and your offer of the gps loan. Very sweet of you. I think I will be okay as I don’t have any travel this week or next. Thank you though, that is really thoughtful.

    I still want to go to Supermex with you again soon!


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