My throat is sore and I am tired. I slept nearly 12 hours last night. I do not think any of these things have to do with Friday’s chemo, but if I were to say to someone my throat hurts and I’m tired, they would say, well, I guess that makes sense considering you just had chemo. But I get sick and rundown and sometimes it has nothing to do with treatment. I hate that cancer and treatment become the de facto reason for anything that’s off for me in my health (physical and mental) status.

I napped for an hour today. That’s unusual for me, I hate napping and I avoid it when I can. When I say, I’m going to take a nap or I was just napping, I usually mean that I was lying down, trying to read a book. When I nap, I wake dehydrated and confused and generally feeling worse than I did before. Today, I woke up feeling like napping more. So I drank three cups of coffee to push through the rest of the workday. Clearly there is something going on. I blame a virus.

At the hospital on Sunday, I looked over my blood test results from Friday. Slightly anemic, low neutrophils and white blood cells, platelets on the low side of normal. It’s strange, I said, that even though I haven’t had chemo in two months, my immune system is still compromised. My nurse (who I quite like) said sometimes when they have patients whose neutrophil counts are just low enough to keep them from having treatment, they get them to run up and down the stairs a few times, then have their blood drawn again. Usually, the numbers go up. We don’t know why it works, but it works. It’s funny that exercise benefits your immune system so quickly that it can make a difference in the matter of minutes.

The hospital is quiet on Sundays. Hardly anyone is around. The entire 18th floor is dark; no one is up there. Or no one should be up there. While I sat in the nurse’s station having blood taken to be sent away to see if I am developing antibodies (whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know — either way, it doesn’t affect my enrollment in the study), a porter walked down the hall. He gave a curt hello to my nurse. He’s not supposed to be up here, she said. I bet people hide out up here on the weekends. I pointed out the fuzzy outline of a person sitting at a computer in the visitor’s lounge, visible through the frosted glass. People probably come up here and climb in the beds to sleep, she said. I told her I would, if I worked there. I would, too, my nurse said. Don’t tell anyone that.

I like the hospital when it’s quiet. It’s like being in a school after the students have been let out. You get the sense of the noise and the hustle and the busyness that are normally part of the space. I like emptiness in places meant for a lot of people.

That’s all, I guess. I’m going to make some pear, lemon, and ginger juice to try to fight this sore throat. Thanks to Lisa and Josh, I have a brand-new, heavy-duty juicer. I plan on getting a lot of use out of it.


About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
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4 Responses to Adjustment

  1. Lisa Gal says:

    We’re glad the juicer has been put to work!

  2. Nancy says:

    Marshmallows work for a sore throat, too. Not sure why. But they do. And they are tasty if you’re up for a treat.

    • Marshmallows are too solid for me right now (sadly — they are delicious!) but I am going to hang on to that nifty bit of information for future regular sore throats. I love the idea of treating a sore throat with marshmallows. “It’s medicine!”

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