Treatment #3 went well this month, unusually smooth appointment-wise anyway.
You see, sometimes the government isn’t always efficient. Maybe you’ve heard that before, lol. My experience with VA healthcare is probably way better than most government agencies though.
A typical treatment goes like this:
- Show up at the right time or a bit earlier and check-in.
- Get called in for vitals and weight – this is usually pretty quick, takes just a minute and usually called in within 10 minutes.
- Go back to the waiting area.
- Get called in for blood draw for labs – takes about 5 minutes, but usually, the wait before getting called is 20-30 minutes at best.
- Go back to the waiting area and wait for labs to be processed. This can take an hour or so.
- Get called into the treatment area.
- A few quick questions from the nurses.
- Wait for the pharmacy to ‘mix’ the chemo. They don’t start this until after the labs come back, and it can take 20-30 minutes and sometimes longer depending on how many seats are filled. Sometimes it’s an hour.
- In the meantime, we get any prescribed pre-treatments like steroids.
- When the chemo is done, the nurse checks and verifies it and then they pipe it in. My particular treatment is a double dose but only takes about 30 minutes.
- After treatment, I’m ‘unplugged’ and sent on my way
On top of that – their computers went down for about an hour this morning.
As you can see, a 9:00 am appointment means I might be able to get out of there by Noon – If I’m lucky and the caseload is normal or light. It doesn’t happen too often. And then there’s the wait for the DAV bus. Sometimes it’s nearly 3:00 pm before we hit the road. It’s kind of an all-day thing. Thankfully, the new protocol allows me to only come in once weekly for three weeks instead of twice weekly! I get a lot more work done this way, even though I can do some things when the wi-fi works at the VA.
Point is – I almost never get breakfast/lunch (even though it’s really a bonus anyway) because my actual chemo treatment is only 30 minutes, and ordering food is about a 45-minute wait. And in my case, they don’t like to let me order food if they’re not sure I’ll get treatment, or be there long enough to order and eat. Sure, if they let me order as soon as I get called in for treatment, there’s still plenty of time to order and eat because the pharmacy is pretty slow. But sometimes – like today – I get to chow down! And it’s pretty good food. Had something new, a brat and cheddar omelet. Fantastic! Some oatmeal, a muffin, and of course a raspberry cheesecake. Because why not? Chemo doesn’t have to be that bad. 😉
But in this case – I still was done with my appointment at 12:15, and the DAV bus wait wasn’t awful. Got home at 3:15, but the chemo hit me pretty hard so instead of getting any work done, I laid down and slept until about 5:00. Oh well.
Until next time – be blessed. I know I am. To God be the praise and glory!