Thursday, May 26, 2005

We're not immune

All the nurses on my ward have been a bit miserable this last week or so. Because Gail has got cancer.

Gail's a woman in her 50's, but you've never met someone with more "teenager" energy; she refuses to act her age! She wears her hair in short, bleached spikes. She laughs and jokes about everything! Even this.

I think it was on the 13th that we were all called into the boss's office. Never a good sign... but none of us expected to see Gail sitting there, on her day off, looking grimly cheerful. She greeted us with, "well, I've got breast cancer... and not a good one either." Something like that, although I can't remember it clearly; I felt a bit numb.

Damn it, but we know too much about cancer sometimes. Gail's had a sore hip, and we all knew before the bone scan that it had spread to there. Once breast cancer has spread, even a little, it's incurable. You may survive a few sick years, but you'll lose the fight eventually. We know too much about bone pain, brain tumors, liver failure. I don't want to go to her funeral!

Even so, I hadn't given up hope for her until I visited her after surgery on Tuesday. It was such a twisted, nasty tumor that the surgeon couldn't get it all. And not only has it spread to her hip, but both legs, two ribs and two parts of her spine. It's aggressive and it's everywhere...

The funny thing is -- and I've seen it a thousand times, but I wasn't prepared to experience it -- that she is coping with this better than all of us on the ward. She's joking with the doctors, eager to get back to work, trying to get us to draw up a "visiting Gail" roster... Of course she's upset. But she's at peace with it.

And the good thing is, she's gotten to thinking. She's talking casually about life-after-death, and catching up with Paul (a nurse on our ward who died suddenly 2 years ago). She's considering what she believes.

So I'm praying a lot for Gail. I just hope I can be a bit of help.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


A doctor came in laughing last night, and sat at the desk. He told us he'd just been talking to the sister of one of our patients (who somehow got his number) and she is going to make a complaint about me. I didn't think that was particularly funny!

He said that she was angry because she'd visited her sister for 2 hours, then driven home, then immediately rang our ward to see how her sister was. (Huh???!). The nurse with whom she was angry (me) told her "She's just the same".

The doctor thought that was hilarious, especially since the woman had first told me she'd just gotten home after visiting her for 2 hours. What else was I supposed to say, after all?

Apparently she then asked the doctor how her sister was, and he somehow managed to restrain himself from saying "Just the same"!

Work has been lovely this weekend. Just like a weekend should be! I'd rather be on holidays, but I have missed chatting to all the friendly staff on our ward. So it's good to be back.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The End

It's nearly the end of my holidays! I have to work 6 months before I get any more (sook sook).

I'm typing on Matt's computer this time, listening to "The Goons", who are funny but terribly distracting!

I've been shopping today, but most of my holidays have been spent reading. Nearly finished the fourth "Wheel of Time" book. Nathan's brother, Jason, tells me there are two books in the series yet to be written. AAAAGH! I finally got some new Blundstones. The other ones lasted me about 8 years, and the soles (on the inside) were falling apart. I threw them in the bin outside the shoe shop!

I don't want to go back to work!! I've been thinking too much about how nice it would be to work 2 days a week. I read one Courier in the last week, and recognized 4 names in the obituaries... and that's not unusual! I think oncology nursing is finally starting to get me down.

M'eh! I'm whinging because I've got nothing to report! Next time I might have exciting stories from the South: crazy people and the things they do... and maybe a bit about the patients, too!