Dr. Bryson is the captain of his faithful vessel: “The Good Ship Chemo.” He’s busy bouncing all over the ship. First a quick chat with a nurse, then to one of us patients, then it’s back to the office for an initial consult. My Wendy and I spent about 90 minutes with him during the initial consult. He was extremely thorough… a wealth of information about my current condition and his plans for my treatment. He covered every possible side effect to the Nth degree. He knows both his craft and his ship. His crew is just as good.
Maggie is a great nurse. She is quite entertaining; quick witted. She knows her stuff too. She reviewed all the side effects with me and my Wendy and was as thorough as the good doctor. Other nurses are on deck, meeting the needs of the others lounging on the passenger deck.
My Wendy and I were second to stake our claims on the passenger deck when we arrived for our first voyage. We chose a recliner in the corner. The eight remaining recliners were slowly occupied by fellow travelers: 10 rats on the good ship Chemo.
Some people have traveled the turbulent Sea of Chemotherapy for sometime. Their faces and skin tell the tale of how the Sea has taken its toll on the passengers' bodies. The bodies of virgin travelers like me have yet to show the signs. Every passing week will bring my increasingly worn out body back to the passenger deck of the good ship Chemo.
The good ship's crew attends to each traveler, serving cocktails via IV drip. The passengers recline in lounge chairs and slowly absorb the cocktails, while the captain meets the needs and demands of the ship, its crew and passengers.
I wonder about each traveler's story. Those aboard are between their 30s and 70s. Mostly guys too. One guy is cranking out work on his computer. Another is reclined and sleeping as his chemo cocktail is served. My Wendy crossed paths with a friend from back in the day who was aboard because of breast cancer. Some travelers have a companion, that someone that keeps them occupied.
Looking at all who board the good ship Chemo, I realize…
Cancer is indiscriminate.
It calls who it calls... on it's own terms. There are no negotiations. Children and the elderly have boarded the good ship against their will. That’s what cancer does. It sucks, but this is the way it is.
The captain and crew are cherished people. They set sail every day with different passengers, meeting their needs and ultimately restoring people to good health. It seems like jobs that can be tough on the heart. The mind eventually gets acclimated to the operation and the tempo of the ship. I am not sure the heart ever fully acclimates cuz there’s that one person that tweaks the heart more than most. That is both the joy and remorse of the human experience.
Those who choose to be a part of these crews have this drummer’s respect!