Maggie’s Party

Saturday night we celebrated Maggie’s birthday with a few of our closest friends.  Brooke was extremely kind to take tons of pictures.  It was a wonderful celebration, despite Old Man Weather’s attempt to freeze us our or blow us away.

All day long while we cleaned, cooked and decorated we watched the wind blow outside.  Maggie and friends made TONS of food, as usual.  Preparation was a fun time (although I continued to stress, like I generally do before our parties.)  But everything went smashingly well.  People started arriving around 7:30 and finally left around 3:30AM.  A good time was had by all.  Actually, some folks had a REALLY good time, if you know what I mean.  Best of all, Maggie was thrilled with how it went.

The house was a wreck Sunday.  So much so that the cleanup is still going on.  We have quite a few bags for the ol’ garbage men this week.  And I’m hoping that the floor is going to mop itself eventually.

We have our next Spa visit this Friday.  Careful readers will note that, with this being Christmas weekend and since we have 48 hours up close and personal with a pump full of oxaliplatin, we have a slight logistical problem.  Now, because Maggie’s firm’s Christmas party is Friday night, Maggie has asked Dr. Loukas if she could postpone the pump until Saturday.  He was reluctant but caved, as most men are prone to do when she insists.  That puts the disconnect of the pump on Monday morning, also known as Christmas Eve.  So, in keeping with the spirit of continual education, I will be not only giving a Neulasta shot, but will also be flushing her port and disconnecting her port.  Wow.

Now, if you haven’t been privy to Spa visits then you probably haven’t seen the lab techs connect up the port-o-cath.  It involves lots of rigorous cleaning of the area followed by a stick of a needle into Maggie’s shoulder.  She says it hurts a bit but it’s over quick.  And I think we both agree that it’s better than going in through the arm each time.  But what always gives me pause is watching the lab techs pull Maggie’s blood out of that port-o-cath.  Knowing that the little clear tube is hooked up straight into a vein that goes straight into her body just makes me shaky.  Bodies aren’t meant to have easy access to the circulation systems.  Germs and other stuff have to pay their dues, going in through the mouth or nose or eyes.  That little thing gives them a free pass in.  And the important red stuff a free pass right out.  Neither of these two things are good.

So, enter me on Monday.  Disconnecting the pump is fairly straight forward.  It’s a lot like running pipe, or easier, actually.  Just click this little thingy to shut off the supply, unscrew this part, and wipe it clean.  Flushing the port, however, is a little tougher on my constitution.  For one, there’s the whole gotta-test-the-connection-by-pulling-some-blood-out thing.  Pulling my wife’s blood out is just tough to see, let alone do.  But them’s the rules.  Second, and equally as difficult but for a different reason, I hook up three syringes about half full of clear liquid – two saline and one heparin (a blood thinner.)  The actions are easy. It’s watching Maggie gag that’s hard.  See, apparently when saline solution gets into your blood stream you can immediately taste it and it doesn’t taste so good.  Couple that with a few days of oxaliplatin drip and you’ve got a unstable mixture.  But, like I said, them’s the rules.  So push the fluids I go.

The new trick for me this time around is that after I flush out the port with the three syringes, I get to actually pull out the connector thingy from her chest.  The one with the needle.  Stuck in her chest.  Did I mention needle stuck in her chest?

2 thoughts on “Maggie’s Party

  1. Happy Holidays of 2007/08, Maggie! Looks like you really enjoyed your birthday party; Happy Belated Birthday!!

    I hope those “Spa” visits will end soon, but remember, Grandma and I will be praying that you will get well soon. Don’t stop the treatments until the ugly cancer is all completely gone!

    Love and regards:

    Aunt Pat Valente
    Daly City, CA

  2. It takes a lot of courage and determination to do what you and Maggie have to do regularly. Maggie is courageous because she’s not letting this nasty disease dampen her spirit and zest for life. You, Chris, are courageous because you’re doing and seeing what no wife would ever wish their husband would have to do and see.

    So, continue on, my children, and …. to paraphrase a couple of lines from a beautiful old hymn…. “Fight the good fight with all thy might .. Lay hold on life!” And know that many thoughts and prayers are with you continuously.

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