The Infusion Center.

Last night at 8pm, I got to the infusion room at the Cancer Center. It's really very beautiful, considering what happens there. It's a large room with an arching smoked glass atrium. In the center is a fish tank and lots of plants.

Also, in the center is a row of comfy chairs, each one with a pillow. As nice as they try to make it look, you know what it's there for. Chemo. I suppose if I do end up with a cancer diagnosis, this is going to be a familiar setting. But, I wasn't really thinking that way. I'm still convinced this is just the usual routine gland swelling that accompanies AIDS.

I was the only patient there at first since it was after hours. I checked in with the attendants and got an wristband so they'd know who I was. And another one with my medication allergies (sulfa drugs).

Then this adorable Asian nurse named Josh came over and said to just sit anywhere I liked. I found a nice chair and had my book with me. Figured this couldn't be half as bad as back 11 years ago when I had the catheter up inside my vein and we were doing TPN infusions. Still, I wasn't look forward to the poke. I still hate needles after all these years.

He said, "The needle is a bit long so it can sit in your vein, but it shouldn't be too bad. It has a plastic tip."

Now, why a plastic tip would make a difference I have no idea, but okey doke.

It hurt like hell for a few seconds, but then I got used to it and pretty soon, I didn't feel anything at all.

"It'll only take a few minutes to drain out blood to fill this bag, and then a couple of hours to replace it with the saline solution."

In case you haven't been keeping up, my blood is too thick, so we're watering it down just a bit.

After I got set, another guy came in and sat. He looked really healthy, but obviously had been there before because he had a port in his arm and they all knew his name. I wondered what he was there for.

I started reading my book, got about three pages into the new chapter and fell dead asleep. Slept through the whole procedure. (I love sleeping through procedures. I do it often.)

I was awakened by this very loud beeping noise. Josh came over, disengaged the pumping meter, unhooked me from all the tubes, gently pulled out the needle and that was it.
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