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port (2)

This photo was taken in May 2009 showing off my brand new chemo port. I remember how happy I was that they fit me in for this procedure before I had to resume chemo. Memories of collapsed veins and painful arms and hands…

Today I went for my monthly port cleaning and, while nothing wrong with that, I’d hoped that by now they’d have taken the darn thing out already. When I joined the five year club in November it felt like onwards and upwards. But I’m still waiting to have this thing removed, and I also need to have a colonoscopy this month (the 23rd) before the oncologist decides on what my future monitoring will be. PET scans every year? Every 8 months? We shall see.

Anyhow, I got a taxi over to the hospital this morning (a luxury I allow myself as I really HATE going to the hospital, so at least I can go in style and hang the expense). I was running a bit late today, though I got there at 12.40 (port cleaning hour is between 12 and 1 o’clock) and suddenly there was Manolo standing in the doorway when I skidded to a stop, arms crossed, tapping one foot, giving me The Look. So I said “WHAT? I still have 20 minutes!!” and then Manolo broke into a huge smile and led me to The Chair.

The procedure only takes about five minutes, but sometimes the port doesn’t cooperate and then I worry about blood clots or the nurse pushing air into my veins (I do, seriously). My favourite nurses are Manolo and Macarena. The latter because she is totally no-nonsense and the former because he always makes me laugh. Plus they are skilled at doing this – trust me, when I get a newbie I am a nervous wreck. Anyhow, there was Manolo scolding me for coming at the last minute, and I told him he was going to miss me after they take the port out. “Who else is always going to remind you to take care of the air bubbles??” I asked him. At which point Manolo burst into song, apparently something from his native Córdoba about a difficult “niña” (who, me?) …. and then it was done.

Then another nurse poked her head around the corner and said “another port cleaning!”. And I said to Manolo – “HA! I was not the last one and I expect you to scold this other latecomer as much as you scolded me!” I even made sure. As I was walking out and the other woman was walking in, I turned to Manolo and gave him the hand slicing gesture, winked at the woman, and Manolo went into full Manolo mode saying “what do you mean showing up at this time? you always get here LATE!” and we were all laughing. So I ended up leaving and really hoping it was going to be my last port cleaning, but also knowing I was going to miss Manolo.