You can be done for the day

During my time away from Houston and in between infusions, I still need to get my blood drawn once per week.  The waiting to get in for these draws is always far longer than the draws themselves; a couple days ago was no exception.

The morning of our office building's Christmas luncheon,  I sat in the waiting room waiting to be called back to the infusion area (my draws are through my port).  The minutes kept ticking as I kept waiting.  I have wondered often if the large clock on the wall in the waiting room is a good idea.  Regardless, the clock is there and I kept checking it.  Ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty minutes and still ticking.  There is a sign in the waiting room that reads something like, "If you have been waiting longer than 30 minutes please let us know."  Unfortunately, it seems ill-mannered to me to actually say something, so I continued to wait.  Thirty minutes, thirty-five minutes.  By this time, I have read every new entry on Facebook, checked my email at least a dozen times, sent a text to half the people in my contact list asking what they were up to, and played a couple games of solitaire.  Still no call back to the infusion area.  Forty minutes and I am feeling more than irritated and completely disrespected.  I had an appointment time, I was there on time and I had a Christmas luncheon to go to! 

When the clock reached the forty-five minute mark, I made my decision.  I was done!  I walked up to the reception area and I told them I was done.  The two ladies that work there looked at me dumbfounded when they learned I had not yet been called back; this was, after all, only a blood draw.   One of the receptionists asked me if she could go back and see when they could take me, "No," I said, "I am missing a Christmas party that I want to go to.  I am done."  She asked me if she could reschedule me for later the same day. "No." I said, "I already took time off work to be here; I am done."  She asked me if she could schedule me for another day. I looked her in the eye and told her, "No. I have had it.  I guaranty I am not going to die between now and my blood draw next week. I am done."  I told her I knew I was being a bad patient and apologized for that, but that I was done and I would call her when I was ready to reschedule.  And I walked out. 

I was mad and close to tears.  I was proud of myself that I had taken a stand regarding my time and my worth yet at the same time I was disappointed with my behavior.  I wasn't "following the rules."  

I got in my car and drove back to my office to meet my friend, Michelle, with whom I was going to the Christmas luncheon. When I walked into the office, Michelle asked how I was, to which I all but yelled, "I am done!"  Michelle asked me what happened and I told her through my sobs, how disrespected I felt, how tired of doing all of this I was, and that I was just done.  She asked me what I was done with and I told her that I was done with everything. 

I was done with waiting, I was done with blood draws I was done with going to Houston, I was done with having cancer!  She asked me if it would help if she went with me and I again told her I didn't want to do anything, that I was done. She asked me what I wanted to do and, like a child who didn't have a real answer, I started responding to her with, "I don't want to do anything!"  During this back and forth, Michelle had sat back on the couch in my office and casually put her feet on my desk.  With her arms folded, she very calmly said to me, "Okay.  You don't have to do anything today.  You don't have to go back today.  You don't have to get your blood drawn today.  You can just forget it all today.  You can be done for the day." 

These simple words were exactly what I needed to hear.  With those words, there was nothing more to fight; no reason for me to continue to rant.  These powerful words, "You can be done for the day," put me back in control. I was still in charge of my own life and it was okay to step away for a day and just breathe. 

Michelle and I did go to the Christmas lunch and it was a very nice time.  We met new people, we ate good food and we laughed.  We shot the bull and hung out.  I finished my day at work and as she left for the night, in true good-friend fashion, Michelle said to me, "Text me tomorrow when you make your next blood draw appointment."

Two days later I went back for a successful blood draw, even though I had to wait 35 minutes.

(I love you dear friend.  Thank you for always supporting me, even through the crazy!)

Lynda Wolters