Thursday, September 23, 2010
So wonderful to be back home! Yesterday was full of "normal", which I like just fine. And of course my OCD required me to try to catch up on everything in one day. Guess what? Still can't do it. And boy am I tired! Too much activity of late, of all kinds. Must remind myself constantly that my expectations are too great and then I constantly feel the sadness and guilt that accompany this awareness.
Back to the Seattle Trip..... I've been thinking about all the signs that tell you you that have arrived on the SCCA/Fred Hutch Campus, or where to turn in, or how to distinguish the research buildings from the Clinic. And I realized that there are absolutely NO signs on how to get out, or towards a direction, street or freeway. There are also perilously few exit signs in the Clinic building. Same thing in there: lots to tell you how to get it and none on how to get out. I see a theme in this. Really, I do. It is quite the replication of having cancer, or being chronically ill, or stuck in the quagmire of transplant. Lots about what can be done to you and not so much of what will happen after that. A chronic state of being stuck. I see both irony and sadness in that.
So I go through the front doors of the Clinic (yes, as some have asked, I was by myself), and dutifully proceed to my first "appointment" on my "itinerary". Where else would one start their day but at "Registration" which is really med speak for Finance. I present appropriate personal id, as if people are actually trying to sneak in, and confirm that I do still have insurance and that I am dutifully making payments on my tab. I am given my green card, which looks like a credit card, without the magnetic stripe, that I present at whatever departments I am visiting. They swipe it, which I guess is how they can prove to the insurance companies being billed that I was actually there. I have a collection of green cards. Kind of funny.
Next stop is the Chapel. I am alone and can pray aloud. The irony is that the chapel is really just a dimmed office with wooden floors and nicer chairs than in the exam rooms. There is no indication of any particular faith, which I guess is the way that in today's world it must be done. As sad as that is, I am ever grateful to know my God is everywhere, and He doesn't need anything other than my inner voice to hear my prayers.
It is time for Floor 6. Transplant Clinic is its primary nickname. Not fun, at all. Bad memories. Great views of Lake Union though. I present myself at Reception, and hand over my green card. It is recorded and returned. I know the drill and I know where the comfiest chair is, so I make a beeline. Ah, home away from home..... Mr. Reception calls back to the Patient Flow Coordinator, who confirms my assigned room is ready. Shortly, "Robertson, 29" is announced to the waiting room. And I am off to Room 29!
I had some fun in there. I really did. I hope you enjoy these pictures and my silliness as much as I did. I am quite sure that the Clinic won't.... And I remind myself, for the 10000 time, that they are really serious here.
But I also share these exciting pictures so you can see what one of their rooms really does look like. My first impression is that the exam table looks wet. At some point I get bored enough to lie on it and take a self-portrait, which I hope you enjoy. The room is quite techy but I never see all its glory used. The calendar is pretty big for the purpose of just counting days. So I add on the September 20 square that it's my husband Craig's birthday and ironically that I am here. At least it now looks like a real person had a real use for the calendar.
Bored, waiting, what to do next? Don't ask why I had this souvenir from my flight over, but it was fun. I wish I could find out how long it takes for someone to notice it. A little like I Spy, I suppose. But I do truly hope that some other patient saw it and smiled.
Room 29 is to be my exam room for GI. I see the PA, then he goes and reports his findings to the GI Doc. Then he comes in and lists a number of things that can now be wrong with me, and tells me I need a procedure and then is off to consult with my Clinic "Team". I decide that the artwork in Room 29 is not soothing me and I am happy when it is announced "Robertson, 21". Mr. GI Dr. hasn't returned yet, but we must make patient flow goals. And I get out!