Friday, November 18, 2011


It doesn’t have a flag, or an anthem, but it definitely has a 19th floor and IV poles and mechanical beds. Oh yes, back to the homeland. 

I would say that I’d been doing so well, though I fear that’s a lie. I had been staying out of the hospital for a month, putting one foot in front of the other, going to classes and being present in my life as best as possible. But as of Monday evening, it was time to head back to the homeland.

As I was throwing out some garbage before I hailed a cab to the hospital, I ran into my RA, and she asked how I was doing, to which I said, “Going back to my homeland.” She dropped her keys and gave me a no-way look. Yes-way. Oh, yes-way indeed.

But this post is not about me in my homeland. No, it is about someone I met here. 

In the ER, I had this lovely nurse, whom I’ll call Cleo. When she gave me some pain medication, I knew it wasn’t enough for me to get relief and so I asked if I could have more, followed by an explanation that I was not a druggie and that I had so much tolerance that I needed more pain medication but I knew how it sounded. She shook her head and said it didn’t sound like anything and that she completely believed me and that I had a chronic disease and needed it. Cleo was so nice and put me at ease when I was in so much pain. Then she told me her story:

Cleo had been feeling unwell, just general under the weather and GI boating and discomfort. Her doctors told her she was fine, but her symptoms persisted. She was getting married, and after the wedding her symptoms were even more uncomfortable and she went to the ER and demanded a CT scan. Lo and behold, they found it. It was a 20 pound tumor growing in her belly. The take away from Cleo’s story that she kept repeating? “I knew my own body and I knew something was wrong, I was tired of not being listened to - something was wrong.”

Being ‘in the homeland’ can suck. But there are also lots of lessons to be learned, and sometimes it helps to have the most important lessons reiterated by someone in the healthcare profession.


1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'm so sorry I've not been in more contact, but I have been following along and cheering you along on this big long battle. You are amazing, even when you don't feel like it. Big hugs as usual from Cali. Cleo sounds like a kindred spirit...