Cancer log 208: Working in the waiting room

Cancer log 207: The nurses are vastly amused that I’m working in the waiting room, but honestly, if you schedule me for an 8 a.m. procedure and tell me I have to check in at 6 a.m., I have to assume I can squeeze at least an hour of work in here somewhere. That just makes sense, right?

I explained that I had a set of papers to get back that my students were anxiously waiting for, and I felt bad┬ákeeping them waiting any longer than needed. (I’d set an alarm to get up at 3:30 so I could finish the last four papers before leaving for the hospital, but I’m afraid when the alarm when off, I reset the alarm and went right back to sleep for another blessed hour.) The truth is, I probably would’ve been working regardless, but I do have a good reason this time.

The most recent nurse laughed and said, “At least you’re not under anesthesia yet.” She brought me a warm blanket — warm blankets from the nurses are one of the few lovely memories I have from my time in the chemo ward.

I’m also noticing the quality of the patient robes here — not only do they wrap all the way around in the back, so that when you’re walking down the hall, your ass isn’t hanging out for all to see (thank you!), but they’re in a sturdy fabric, not paper, and an attractive print that I would be happy to wear as everyday clothes. It’s funny, but it makes a difference, somehow.

Loyola is a good hospital, reasonably well funded, and it shows. I’m glad my insurance was willing to cover my treatment here — I’ve been treated at poorly funded hospitals in the past, and the doctors and staff do their best, but with inadequate resources, and the strain of that is evident.

I’ve been watching New Amsterdam, which is a new-ish feel-good medical drama about a hospital director who is constantly trying to buck the system on this kind of thing, and I wonder if it’s pure fantasy, or if any of the things he tries are based on real events and actions that were effective. The latest episode directly confronted the problems with African Americans and the widespread distrust of healthcare (post-Tuskegee, Henrietta Lacks, etc., as referenced in the previous excellent article I posted, about the face transplant). In that episode he ended up training barbershop staff to take blood pressures and prescribe hypertension medicine, under his supervision, which seems a little like a fantasy, but maybe not?

Our own library has started doing pop-ups into barbershops and laundromats, in an effort to reach underserved populations, which I’m really excited about — it was related to an idea I brought up on the campaign trail a few years ago, doing pop-ups in empty storefronts, and I love that they’ve transmuted my airy-fairy idea into something workable. I can’t wait to see how that develops, and if we actually do manage to reach a broader library patron population.

I do wonder what amenities they offer in fancier hospitals. Heated hotel-quality robes? A green smoothie upon awakening? Plush bunny slippers?

I’m okay with my cheerful yellow non-slip socks, though.

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