I’m dating myself, but when Leroy and I made our maiden voyage into the chemotherapy room for round one of 13 rounds, we thought we were prepared for the procedure. We had been warned that each body deflects the worst that chemo has to offer in different ways. Some patients get fevers, or sweats. Many get nauseous and their blood counts bob and weave all over the chart.
We knew how toxic these drugs were because our chemo nurse would greet us in her hospital garb, give Leroy a shot that would help to ward off these ugly side effects, but when it came time for the bag of chemo to be hung on the T-stand, the gloves and gowns and face guard would come out. Within minutes our wonderful, smiling, chatty nurse would look like she belonged in a quarantined pod. She was totally unrecognizable: covered from head to toe in protective gear.
So that was then and now? Now they are sending patients home with a pump full of chemo to disperse over many hours in the comfort of the patients’ own living room. Not all chemo is homeward bound, but to think that some care GIVERS are now responsible for what is called the ” Takedown” or disconnect of the chemo pump once it’s delivered the drug, is pretty remarkable.
The lessons of “how to” do this are extensive. There are written instructions, demonstrations, back up after back up if a care giver is in need of medical assistance 24/7. The equipment is checked and checked again and all precautions are taken. After all, we are talking about chemo therapy. Safety is key.
And the future is now. Cancer treatment moves forward, so why shouldn’t procedure follow close behind?