Thursday and Friday were very intensive. Interviews with care professionals to instruct and prepare me, reading folders and leaflets (a.o. regulations on hygiene and restriction of sugar intake), new measurements of body functions. The biopsy in the CT-scanner with long needles into my breastbone, the noise of the drill and the relief that the pain was not as bad as I’d expected. The taking of a blood sample which was scheduled and which I’d forgotten (I only realized after closing- time of the laboratory). Someone fixed it for me, so that the chemo the day after could take place after all. The room with the three treatment chairs, the talks with the nurses, the other patients and visitors, the coldcap on my head (more about this in a following blog), the bright red poison that flowed into a vein into my hand and caused an allergic reaction in my arm (which fortunately disappeared later), the many alarms of the several pumps. And finally the frightened glance of my little calico cat, twin of the red tomcat, and the smarter of the two.
Meanwhile I am preparing a small symposium which is going to be set up quickly before next Friday on my initiative and urgent request. Out of necessity the research for my Ph.D. is put on hold for the second time, and I dearly wish that the care professionals and service designers can proceed with the knowledge and data gathered so far.
At home my brother makes the guest bed in the study for me, next to the bathroom, so I needn’t go down the stairs at night. He stays for the weekend to care for me. When I go to bed, dead tired, my little red tomcat lies happily on the guest bed, very content with the new arrangements. The calico cat sits anxiously in a corner, hiding.
The first bodily reactions start coming, in a totally illogical order. In my imagination the representatives of my body parts – or functions – report to myself about these reactions. My question to them is, invariably: “Is it ok, or is any action on my part required?” Their answer: “At this level we can cope, but we do not know what is coming, of course”. The analyst in me is busily categorizing and interpreting these signals and reports.
I dread the anticipated effect on the stomach, the nausea and loss of appetite. When the first light stomach cramps manifest themselves, the experienced analyst in me soberly responds: “Logically speaking, this is just ordinary stress”. I am slightly irritated by myself. Stress may be totally logical, but so contra-productive just now. At that very moment my calico cat jumps on the bed. She presses her nose against me, snuggles up cosily and starts a long and loud purring. “It is not quite my field of research”, the analyst ponders, but it might be wise to focus on this sound, possibly it helps”. And so it does. The next message from the stomach area a bit later is: “Appetite. Please send some food this way”. Fed and contented I fall asleep.