icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Another Perspective

The Infusion Center

The check-in for the infusion cancer center is in the main lobby of the Moores building on the UCSD campus. I don’t know about you, but I’d never been to an infusion center before I needed to go myself. It is the room where cancer patients receive their chemotherapy.

It is a large space on the ground floor. It is divided into patient treatment areas by curtains. The nurses’ desks/computers line the one outside wall that has a large window that overlooks a small grass and scrub area. Patients are almost all elderly with many women wearing scarfs on their heads. Men typically wear jeans or sweet pants.

The patient sits in a recliner. A small television on a large mechanical arm can be swung into viewing range. Judge Judy seems to be on an awful lot. Some people read and some nap while the toxic drugs drip into them. A stiff chair is available for a companion.

Many people there cope by using humor. Others choose anger. The curtains provide visual privacy but they do little for reducing the sound of voices. Rich, self-entitled folks seat near poor, struggling souls. I overheard a phone conversation once where the speaker was doing a real estate deal in La Jolla. The speaker was very insistent that his way is what had to be done. The poor, in contrast, appear to be as invisible and quiet as possible. The blend of people, sights, and sounds stir my emotions in ways that are not calming. Clearly if I didn’t need to be there, I wouldn’t be.

I am fortunate that I do not need to be there a long hours at a time. I take pills. Once the Cancer Center pharmacy releases the proper dosage, I have two nurses oversee my taking of them. They first ask me my name and date of birth for the umpteenth time. Then they scan my wristband, which I find to be a bit dehumanizing. Then the pills are removed from their container and counted by each nurse to be sure the correct number are present. Finally they watch me carefully to assure the clinical trail authorities that I did indeed swallow all of my 25 tiny pills.

The best thing about the infusion center is the nurses. These men and women are angels. In the heart of this unpleasant darkness, the nurses manifest a light of hope, good will, and carry a presence that is the embodiment of God’s Grace. They emit a genuine caring that transforms the infusion center into a place of healing. I don’t know how many people are cured, but the people I see leave that room with a life-affirming and positive attitude. It has to be the nurses.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Post a comment