This afternoon I puked onto a CT scan machine, which is a first. In fact, before today I hadn't vomited in weeks, since the unfortunate incident on the Ferris wheel at Disney's California Adventure—and that's because I haven't had chemotherapy since early July.
But this Monday, Labour Day, I'm back at it, more chemo, and as usual I'm getting anxious. However, I'm not usually that anxious. I didn't barf when I had blood tests on Monday, and I had no reason to think I would today as I went for my scan. But there I was, lying down and being motorized into the giant donut of the scanner, and I said to the technicians, "I'm feeling nauseated right now. I don't know why. I think I'm going to throw up."
And so I did. They brought me one of those useless little cardboard trays that might handle the stomach contents of a small bird. Then another. Then we switched to a big trash can. It was all over very quickly. I'd lost the salad and sandwich I'd had for lunch. The techs had to slice off the right sleeve of the surgical gown I was wearing, since I already had an IV in my arm but the gown was a mess. I threw away one pair of underwear, but luckily I had another. My white T-shirt wasn't entirely spared, but with some wet towels I cleaned it off well enough.
The technicians said, "You'd be surprised how often that sort of thing happens," then they chucked a bunch of the soiled linens, replaced them, and cleaned up the floor and scrubbed the impenetrable face of the scanning machine. Just like that, the room was spotless again. Then they got me to lie down and we proceeded with the scan. I doubt anyone in the waiting room knew what just happened as I left, feeling much better.
Now, I had a rough night last night, with lots of intestinal problems that kept me up until 3 a.m., and those resumed this evening in a slightly altered form, though they seem to be calming down as we approach midnight. They seem slightly different from the similar problems I've had, in some form or another, since even before my cancer diagnosis in 2007, so I may have a mild infection. Thus, I don't know if this great big hurl came from nervousness about my upcoming chemotherapy, an intestinal bug of some kind, or a combination of the two.
But I reiterate my admiration for the consistently high spirits and good natures of the staff at the B.C. Cancer Agency. They laughed it off, as I tried to do, cleaned up both their facility and me, and got back to their jobs as soon as they could. No one's yet been able to cure my cancer, and quite likely no one will, but I drove home feeling unembarrassed, and that's pretty amazing in itself.