Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crazy Good First Day Of Chemo

With the dog days of summer, 2014 behind us, and Halloween almost upon us… All the leaves are green and the skies are gray,etc….  lately… I got to thinking this past weekend that there aren't too many days left this year before a day at the dog park with Cooper and Keegan would be out of the question. And this past weekend just so happened to be a beautiful Saturday and Sunday back-to-back, so I spent about a hour or two at the dog park both days. Monday, I was going to be starting my post surgery chemotherapy, so I wanted to really enjoy the weather on a park bench watching the dogs play. Everybody wins!
It was on Sunday, however that I struck up a conversation with the gentleman sitting on the bench next to me. He was rather quiet, and I couldn't even tell which dog was his. I was sitting there pensively contemplating going to the hospital the next day and wondering if over the next few weeks I was going to experience any nausea along with the inevitable fatigue and if it would prevent me from trying to find some part time holiday work or even afford me enough energy to work from home, being that I feel so desperately compelled to go back to work again, if even for a few hours a week.
Suddenly, I found myself saying out loud, "Wow, this is my last day of freedom for a while!"
The guy next to me on the bench replied, "Why? Are you going to jail?"
I explained that I had just had rectal cancer surgery and I was going for the chemo" He said, "I know all about it, I'm a doctor" He added, "I'm due for a colonoscopy myself. It's been about ten years"
"Yeah, you're due" I countered.
Anyway, through our conversation, it turns out he was there with his wife who was playing with their dog. The two had just returned from an anniversary celebration in Jamaica. I told him I was a musician and played a lot of Reggae music among other things in my repertoire. It also turns out he delivers babies at St. Mary Medical Center where I go for the chemo and had my surgery, and he knows my oncologist. I asked him his name and he said, "Aaron"  I told him, "That's my MIDDLE name, Hal Aaron Cohen!"  Then his wife came over and we talked all conversed a little longer before I said goodbye and headed home. They wished me luck and I said "thank you".

Next day (Monday), I go to the Saint Clare building at St. Mary's for my appointment to sit for two hours while the wonderful staff there administered the chemo-cocktail. Not two minutes after I sat down, one of the office managers walked up to me carrying a huge gift basket wrapped in cellophane from David's Florist and my first thought was, this is for someone else. She said, no, the card says it's for Hal Aaron Cohen. I'm like - WHO EVEN KNOWS I'M HERE?  

Well, it turns out that Dr. Aaron knew exactly where I'd be at 1:30 PM that Monday, because I just told him the day before. When I saw the name "Doctor Aaron" on the card, my jaw dropped. I really was speechless. I still can't quite get over it. And upon examining the contents of the basket, it became quite clear that he and his wife left the park and did a little shopping. Because this wasn't one of this "off-the-shelf-as-is" baskets. Everything in it was hand picked. There was Arizona Green Tea and Honey, bottles of flavored Smart Water, Energy bars, candy, All kinds of miscellaneous goodies, dog treats for Cooper and Keegan and what appeared to be a big box of candy in the middle. It was heavy. Like a big mass of solid dark chocolate. As I began to unwrap it, however, it turned out to be a book. Which was perfect, because I was wondering what to read for two hours during the treatment, and I forgot to stop at the library. The book was "Waging Heavy Peace" by Neil Young; and autobiographical tome about his family, his early days with Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y to his present projects including electric cars and his PureTone music platform that plays back music with a quality much more pristine than the current MP3s. At any rate, this stuff is interesting to me :-)  What a thoughtful gift! I am blown away!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Cooper and Keegan were driving my sister crazy. Especially Keegan, who had been barking non-stop since I left the house. Cindy (my sister) is laid up at the moment with a torn tendon in her foot, so she can't get out of bed. Poor Rob (my brother-in-law) wouldn't be home from work till after I got home, so it was up to me to walk her dog Lola, along with my two fur balls as soon as I got home. When I got home, I was carrying two jackets (because it was cold when I left) and the basket of goodies, when my phone started ringing.  I figured it was Cindy calling to see where I was, but I just let it ring since I was already walking up the driveway. Turns out it wasn't her calling anyway. Oh, and I also had a pretty full ileostomy bag (I know - gross). WELLLL --- I finally got the dogs walked, bag emptied, shoes off and in bed before Rob got home. He made a killer frittata omelette for dinner and that was the perfect topper to a Crazy/Good first day of chemo!

Now, how do I thank Dr. and Mrs. Aaron?