The Port Goes In

June 30, 2006

Similar to the endoscopy, I return to Alta Bates on June 30th, only a week and a day from finding out I have cancer. I can walk there, and simply arrange for a friend to pick me up since the “knock out” drugs make you a bit loopy after the procedure.

A chemo port is this thing that’s the size of a quarter, but maybe a quarter inch thick, and a slightly larger base. It’s inserted below the collarbone, and then somehow hooked up to a vein. It’s great — it means no needles in the arm! This breast cancer website has a really good explanation of what a chemo port is.

All the prep seems to be just like the endoscopy, except things are taking a bit longer this time. Just before the procedure, the anesthesiologist comes in and we start talking about how I like to be more medicated than less, and share my root canal story with him. He agrees. A weird thing happend, and the curtain seperating myself from the next patient opened. The guy was asleep, and really old and yellow — like the Cal basketball jerseys yellow — and I motioned for him to close the curtain. You see a lot of really sick people in hospitals. Not fun.

So the anesthesiologist wheels me into the room where they’re going to do the procedure. It’s a lot bigger than where they did the endoscopy, and have these interesting looking lights. I ask “that’s interesting, those lights, they look like the ones I’ve seen in the operating rooms on TV” and the doctor replies “that’s because you’re in an operating room”. A bunch of people start filing in, and I start asking them what their role is in the procedure. One’s anXray fluoroscopy guy, and of course I ask what that is. The next one does this and that. They’re all polite, but not really chatty people, and seem uncomfortable with so many questions. The anesthesiologist asks me how long did it take before the drugs kicked in during the endoscopy. I answered “about as long as it took for me to sing Oh Canada. Would you like me to sing Oh Canada?” — and that was the last thing I remember. He’s the one guy who’s figured out how to shut me up when I’m on a roll!! Drugs!

I woke up in the recovery room. I had a bunch of morphine and I was happy and singing — so much so I woke three people up. Ahh, morphine. It makes you do silly things. My friend Paul who picked me up said I insisted on showing him my new port, and then said something about wanting to run around and show all the neighbors. Luckily he stopped me!


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