Thursdays at the ROC.
You can pronounce that rock, or R. O. C, either way it sounds like a television show. Being there, at the ROC, feels like a television show. Sitcoms generally have one or two sets. Who hasn’t seen That Seventies Show’s basement couch? Or what about Archie Bunker’s chair. Describe for me the interior of The Swamp. Or where little Janet Jackson listened to Jimmie Walker shout “Dyn-o-mite?” After countless viewing hours these sets are etched deeply into our collective conscious. Similarly, we see one or two sets on the third floor of the Riley Outpatient Center. Waiting room, Exam room, Procedure room, Infusion room.
The cast of characters stays the same, every time we approach the desk the two women confirm our address. We sit down to the right of the information desk. Here two scenarios take place. We look around to determine who is new, remember you can tell by the deer in the headlights look, and who is ahead of us, you can tell because the kids have no hair, some with scars (yes, I mean on their heads). And of course, everyone steps quietly, eyes darting to an fro, around the pale little boy in the wheel chair who looks like he could expire at any moment, or any kid with a pink bucket. Sometimes a caffeinated mom talks to us, or I, as the caffeinated mom, talk to others. Connecting with another who understands when you simply say, “decadron,” as your child is laying on the floor screaming can feel good. Usually though most people just look at each other and look away. It is as if too much contact will allow the emotions of the situation to explode.
To get from this uncomfortable limbo into the exam room, the patients are called by a tech. Everyone jumps up as fast as possible, even though, it tends to be a hurry up and wait situation at the other end. In the “Department of Weights & Measures” as I dubbed it, the HIPAA violations stare me in the face. Never the less, I don’t write down any names, even though I think about it every time. Two things bug me about this room. Ray of Ray’s Sunshine Foundation, wrote a little note and put his picture on it. Ray has crossed over. Just above and to the left of this note is a button with a boy’s face and his dates of life, 1998-2002. I see these reminders EVERY time I see them.
Then to the exam room where we fight Isa to get her port accessed. Every week we have to try different things, today it was bringing in a second nurse to hold her hand, and who Isa knew would hold her down if she had to. This is the room where they pushed the VCR today. Today, Isa’s counts came back low.
ANC 238 (the lowest it has been since leaving the hospital in January)
So, we ended up sitting in the infusion room for several hours, we had to wait for blood for some reason. She received, oh i forgot, a bag of Orange juice as the girls call it. Platelets as the grown-ups call it.
Then we make another appointment, get some of the Beads of Hope and off we go to pay 7 dollars to the parking garage.