Got A Minute?


Minute number 1:

“Code Blue! Code Blue!”
“What is that alarm blaring in the background? Wow…I can’t believe how shaky I am… Oh my god!” I thought as all the fluids, my life force and essence, seemed to be escaping from every orifice of my body.   CODE BLUE! 7TH FLOOR!! CODE BLUE STAT!!! “There it is again!” I thought to myself…”MAN!!! I can’t believe how bad I feel…” I blacked out somewhat…still conscious but shaking so badly, I was so weak as I wondered how I was able to be moving across the floor.  I then realized I wasn’t moving on my own. Strong arms with white sleeves were all around me holding me up, guiding me…”wow! I’m so scared! What’s going on?” I looked down, my mind felt so cloudy…where am I again and how did I get here?  Look at that, how odd… everyone is wearing white shoes…and then I saw my colorful toe socks…how come I don’t feel like laughing? I purposely put these on to make them laugh…them…THEM! Oh! that’s right I was coming in to see THEM! Yes…that’s what it was, when I got dressed this morning, I laughed while getting dressed and wiggling my colorful toes… I thought “they’re really gonna think these are funny.”  I thought of what they might say, “Only you Shirley, Only you would do that!” And then they’d laugh ha ha ha ha and I’d laugh, and my mom would say “you know my baby girl…she’s always gotta do something silly to try and make someone laugh”

Minute number 2:

Mom!…oh my God!!! Where is mom? Minute number 2:Oh…wait I remember…she was tired, she took the shuttle back to Hope Lodge…Thank you fate…thank you God! I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I sure am glad she’s not here to see me like this, I don’t know what it would do to her…I could only imagine, she’d be so scared and worried for me. I’m so so glad my mom is not here.  My mind was jumping from one topic to another…but time seemed to be standing still.  “Where am I again?  Who are all these people dressed in white? Why are they being so nice and trying so hard to comfort me? So many white shoes…”

Minute number 3:

CODE BLUE STAT! CODE BLUE STAT!That speaker!!! It’s so loud! It’s echoing in my head and making my already dizzy mind hurt!  It was then that it occurred to me, “Oh my God!!! That’s for me? Am I going to die?” I heard a female voice say “Did you get a hold of Alice?” the other female voice said hurriedly, “”Yes! She said she’s with another patient but I told her it was Shirley…and we need her STAT!”   The white sleeves were guiding me out of my hospital bed, so many white shoes and sleeves, guiding me towards my bathroom… where were they taking me? maybe the shower…but no, they placed me on the commode…the white sleeves were holding a container under my chin, I wondered why until more of my life essence began violently shooting out of me…voices from the white sleeved people…so many at the same time. Their voices blurred together, I could only make out bits and pieces “You’re going to be ok, Alice is on her way.”  As they rushed around me their voices began to blur again and I started to fade out.

Minute number 4:

“Alice!” A nurse said excitedly.  Alice said “Shirley…Shirley! What’s going on?” (She was talking calm, to try and keep me calm, so I knew it had to be bad) “It’s ok…it’s…hang in there…you’re gonna be alright.” (Then why am I so scared?)… I heard her give a nurse instructions.  As she spoke her voice was very calm but assertive.  She instructed the nurse to put all these different meds into my IV. The nurse told her it all started after they began the chemo.  I tried to talk, but more fluids escaped me…how embarrassed I was, naked and exposed for the world to see… fluids exiting everywhere, so cold and clammy…freezing yet feverish and so shaky…I was scared deep down, but tried not to show it. I didn’t even have the energy to keep myself upright. “Ohhhh I need to put my head down.” My head was spinning; dizzy…I tried to put my head down. “Shirley!!! Shirley!!! Stay with us…come on sweety, you’re gonna be ok!! Alice is here!!”  (Alice was my doctor’s “right hand man” so to say.)

Minute number 5:

I heard Sue, (my protocol nurse) her voice told me she was worried as she said “I heard the page and it was coming from the 7th floor…I knew something was wrong with Shirley!” (Sue, such a great person, so caring and sweet. We had many heart to heart  conversations. We became fast friends and shared intimate details of our lives with each other.)  I looked up towards her, she smiled nervously and said “I just left you not even a minute ago and you were fine.”  I tried to talk but couldn’t and gave her a nervous smile.  I could see the worry in her face, I didn’t want anyone to worry, I felt bad I was making her… making all of them worry about me, not to mention how embarrassed I was of my position. I felt more embarrassed than scared…No, I didn’t want to die. Especially like this and have that be in their memory of me, so open and exposed for everyone to see me at my worst. I finally managed to get the words out…”I’m sorry you all have to see me this way”.

Minute number 6:

As I sat there not knowing what sort of outcome was going to come from this or what was around the corner or the next twisted crazy turn of my life’s adventure…a feeling slowly started to come over me…I was feeling better…I felt a sigh of relief come over me, and my mind started spinning again… yes, I have cancer, (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma) and I’ve been fighting it for over 10 years now…no, I’m not afraid to die, I just didn’t want it to be like that. Then a voice interrupted my thoughts and this entire scary adventure of what seemed like a lifetime but was only a mere matter of minutes.  It was Alice saying, “How are you feeling? Your face is regaining color again.” I looked up from my awkward position in relief and said “thank you.” “Thank you so much Alice and everyone. But, I’m so embarrassed you had to see me this way.” Alice laughed and said “embarrassed? You have nothing to be embarrassed about, I’m just glad you’re ok.” Sue laughed, then I laughed, the white sleeved people laughed and helped me up and back into bed where amazingly someone had already replaced my soiled bedding with nice clean comfortable sheets, pillows and a blanket. They tucked me all in and I finally told Alice that I was late for my appointment so I hadn’t eaten anything. She checked my blood sugar with my glucose monitor and my count was low. She scolded me nicely and ordered a nurse to get me some Orange juice and cookies. She told me “if you ever are late for appointments again, don’t be afraid to ask for something to eat.” Then she said “we’ll wait a half hour or so and check your blood sugar again before re-starting your chemo.”  She smiled and walked out. Sue sat in the chair next to my bed with a smile on her face and a tear in her eye. Neither of us had to say a word to know what the other was thinking. And as they all walked out asking if I was alright. I thanked all of them over and over.

They said, “we’re just glad you’re ok… you gave us a scare… thought we were gonna lose you there for a minute.”


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