by Peter Freyne
Thank you one and all for your expressions of support, love and good vibes. I may be single and live alone, but right now, it feels like I’ve got one big family out there and I appreciate it very, very much.
I was a resident of Shep 4 up at the Mary Fanny from Thursday until Sunday afternoon. Got the first full chemo-therapy treatment on Saturday. Amazing. Takes 8-9 hours. Four drugs I’ve never heard of are injected into one’s vein. Feels like the fast-growing fist-sized tumor has already shrunk some.
The treatment and care I received was great. The nurses were very special people - hailed from Plattsburgh to Plainfield. I was in very good hands. And one thing they had in common was they loved doing what they do. They were just like the nurses I worked with many moons ago during my Vietnam War conscientious-objector days at Hennepin County General in downtown Minneapolis. Making such a difference in other peoples lives. Being there. (Even if all but the night shift has to park over at the Fanny Allen in Colchester and take a shuttle bus to Hospital Hill in Burlington.)
Yes, indeed, the new “Airport” i.e. Renaissance wing Bill Boettcher & the Boys built, is the butt of many a joke or sarcastic crack. The $60 million underground Renaissance parking garage built into Hospital Hill was coincidentally the target of one letter-to-the-editor in today’s Burlington Free Press:
“...The garage is dimly lit, difficult and dangerous to navigate, and the per-hour rate to park there constitutes highway robbery. The parking garage at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is free.
As a woman I feel unsafe in the parking garage because there is not enough lighting and oftentimes there are few people in the vicinity...”
BUT the good news on Hospital Hill is that about 10 days ago FAHC instituted a new chow policy for patients. These days, a patient picks up the phone and calls the kitchen to place their order when they’re hungry. Lots of choices. Seven flavors of yogurt to choose from. Three different soups. A Honey Mustard Turkey Burger and a Garden Burger everyday. Great mashed potatoes with gravy. A Chef’s Salad, a Caesar Salad or a Mediterranean Salad. Three entrees for dinner to choose from every night plus all kinds of sinful goodies for desert. And it tasted good, too! I had an appetite because They were loading me with steroids and that stimulates the appetite. (Only criticism: the turkey sandwich was particularly skimpy turkey-wise.) The folks who deliver it all to bedside say the new menu ordering has saved dramatically on waste.
Can Internet access for patients be far off?
Monday morning it was out to Fanny Allen for a PET Scan. Nuclear medicine. You’re injected with a radioactive sugar, sit quietly in a recliner for 45 minutes - can’t even read or write - then lay down and get slid into the big machine for pictures. I laid still with my arms over my head for 28 minutes.
It’s supposed to detect cancer anywhere in one's body.
The PET Scanning takes place in the back of a semi-trailer truck that travels around New England. (That's Gayla with the machine at left.) It’s at the Fanny Allen for just two days at a time. Word is Dartmouth’s about to get one of their very own.
So, I’m feeling different but OK. Doc said all those years of John Power Irish Whiskey might reduce side effects from the chemo drugs like nausea. So far so good.
I'd say a new learning period has just begun in this dude's life. And the good vibes, support and love you guys have expressed and shared has lifted the spirits of this Irishman big time.
"And miles to go before I sleep."
That's my theme song now.
Lots more writing ahead.
Let's keep in touch, eh?