Memoir Moments: Chemo

Hey all, coming at you with another short piece from my writing class. This one is another true telling, of sorts. It is actually two different events all rolled into one. Names may have been changed to protect identities…

Chemo, yet again. You would think that after five years this would be old hat, but no. The sharp tang of hospital chemical assaults your nose. Nothing like strong chlorine to wake up the senses with a jolt. Glancing around the room you see all the usuals, but in the chair next to your’s is a new face. She seems pretty bubbly, the day is looking up, of course unless she is obnoxiously positive. Man alive can those people grate on your last nerve. Nothing like Sally Positive to really make your skin crawl.
The clicking of IVs echos through the small room. Every week you go in, sit in your designated chair, drink water from the big plastic cup they keep for you, with your name on it in black sharpie on the lid, and wait through your several hours of chemo. Drip, drip, drip, go the IVs. Beep, Beep, Beep, go the monitors. A never ending drone that you eventually learn to tune out. But every week it is like the first time all over again. A cacophony of sound, banging through your head, until you learn to turn it all down and hear what you want to hear.
“Hi there, I’m Becky. What are you in for?” she asked you, beaming.
“Hodgkin’s… some trial drug chemo experience. You know, the one we all sign up for,” you tell her with a laugh. “What about you?”
“Oh, just maintenance Chemo. Ovarian Cancer.” She says, the smile wilting a little.
You can’t help but cringe. Ovarian… that’s a death sentence. Ouch. Of course you would never say such things to her, upbeat, encouraging, positive, that’s how all the strong cancer patients face the day.
“Doesn’t cancer just suck” you say in response. All the fun and we even sign up for this crap” you murmur.
She laughs, “too true.” She glances at your girlfriend and sees the knitting she has pulled out. “Oh that is so fun, what are you creating? Oh, and I didn’t catch your names…”
“I am B, and my girlfriend is SaraBeth.” You answer her.
“I am knitting a shrug” your girlfriend answers. “I mostly make up my own patterns, but this one looked cute, so I thought I would give it a whirl.”
“That is really great! I wish I could do something like that. Bet that will take a while.” Becky says.
“Oh not really, if I don’t finish this today, I will have it done before next week’s Chemo.”
“That would be amazing, you will have to bring it so I can see it! Hey Kelly, I am due back same time next week right?” She asks laughing, knowing the answer is of course yes. “What about you B? Are you due back same time next week?” she asks you.
“It would seem so” you answer, laughing yourself. Something cuts you off though, a tightening in your throat. It would seem that this time things are different. Your girlfriend drops her knitting and gets the nurse over there. Codes are called, the room moving into a flurry of activity. Mere moments, that seem to last an eternity there is a room full of staff, and they are pumping you full of antihistamines. Your veins feel like ice, the room feels too hot to breathe.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! I love to hear from you!

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