Day 6 // Meet Miss Uncompassionate


She’s been on my mind since Day 1 and I’ve recanted the story several times always erasing her remarks quickly from mind.

Today was different for whatever reason. Maybe my chemo fog was beginning to lift. Maybe I had too much quiet time at the studio. My most productive thinking usually happens on Monday mornings when my second home, Bella Forza, becomes my first.

Nonetheless, Connie, as I will call her, was a haunting beat in my head. It wasn’t until Grace popping in to her office for a moment this afternoon that I could reiterate the story…and this time it had meaning.

Compassion is good medicine regardless of the source. But on my first day of treatment, amidst chaos and anxiety, Connie was unable to provide a measly 15 seconds worth. Walking into the “treatment” room I was guided by Lynn – she would be my nurse for the day. She showed me the complimentary snacks, beverages and bathroom facilities. I had packed my usual meals based on the length of time of my treatment and asked where they could be stored. Somewhat surprised at my organization, Lynn tilted her head and smiled as if I was a breathe of fresh air. And maybe I was to her. Looking around at my seating options, I honed in on an area where I could sprawl. David of course was with me thus we needed more than just one recliner!

As we settled in, Lynn asked a variety of questions including the million dollar one – “Do you have a port, Beth?” David blurted rather quickly and in a very proud voice, “Beth doesn’t need one. She pumps iron and her veins are popping out without even flexing!” Of course he and I chuckled – how could we not. But our laughter and the lightness of the moment changed on a dime with Carol’s snide remark.

“That’s all about to change. Your veins will become so weak you will want a port. They won’t pop out anymore!”

Ouch! Words cannot describe the myriad of emotions flooding through my head. Was that even 15 seconds of uncompassion? It might have been less! Could I let Carol get away with this? Absolutely NOT!

I slowly turned towards her (there might have been a dagger or two in my eyes) and replied in my most confident voice – “I’m positive (my voice got really loud here) that will not be the case with me!”

Well, Carol, your statement was my new challenge. To never have a port. To show her my veins at the end of 106 days. To defy and deny her misery as I would not make it mine.

But how sad that a patient’s anxiety could potentially be reduced so quickly and easily. Treatment itself brings a multitude of emotions and thoughts – you aren’t yourself. All anyone wants is to be treated with dignity, empathy and compassion. Carol obviously doesn’t get it.