Opinion: Column: You're In My Thoughts

Though this column will have been written before Christmas, its content will be about Christmas (as you'll soon read), and because of early deadlines as well for our Jan. 2 edition, it needs to be submitted sooner rather than later anyway.

You regular readers may remember the timing conflict – and concern – I had involving my pre-Thanksgiving infusion, in addition to the impact that this last quarter's every-three-week-infusion schedule would have on the holiday season; fortunately, Christmas was not to be affected.

As scheduled, my last chemotherapy infused on Dec. 7, so by the time Dec. 24/25 arrives, there will be no side or straight-on effects. No problem sleeping. No problem getting up. No problem eating. And no problem driving the two-plus hours up and back to our holiday destination.

However, this column wouldn't be written if there weren't a situation of some substance I felt worthy of 600 words or so.

Because my last infusion occurred when it did, the next infusion is scheduled for Dec. 28. That Friday date means I'll have to contribute blood (lab work) and a collection of the previous 24 hours of urine on Wednesday, Dec. 26 (I'll be back home so that's not the problem). The problem is that I will have had to collect and keep cold urine beginning first thing-ish on Tuesday, Christmas day, a day when for the next 8+ hours I will be in someone else's house eating, drinking and making merry – and more importantly, be away from the privacy of my own bathroom and the at-home convenience of collecting urine in a bottle and keeping it cold.

Not that I intend on making a big production of it on Christmas Day, but I will be bringing a cooler with me and likely needing to place it in a very public bathroom in the house or another less obvious place that I'll be visiting half a dozen times throughout the day.

Moreover, to make sure I can provide a sufficient volume, I'll need to bring along a gallon of Turkey Hill Diet Green Tea, because it goes through me – unlike water – and enables me to fill the specimen bottle to the top.

Which if my last few creatinine levels are any indication, and I want those levels to measure within an acceptable-for-infusion range, I need to drink as much of the tea as possible and visit that hopefully inconspicuous place as much as possible as well.

However, as I think about the transportation/storage of the urine and tea situation, I'm thinking I'm going to need two coolers; one for the urine bottle and one for my tea. Because I certainly don't want the two bottles in the same cooler or God forbid, touching one another. I may not be a germaphobe, but I really don't think I'll be able to drink my tea if it's stored in the same cooler.

And I certainly don't want to impose on my host's hospitality by asking her to store either of these bottles in her refrigerator, likely already packed to the gills with dinner prep.

As much as I can, somehow, I want to keep a low profile and not be interjected into any of the proceedings/conversation. (Not that I'd be embarrassed, since everyone in the house is family and familiar with my diagnosis/general circumstances.)

When the dinner/visit is over, we'll be driving home, coolers in trunk. If I need a rest stop, I'll have to pull over to use my bottle, since I'm contributing until Wednesday morning, Dec. 26, after I'll have spent the night back at home. So Christmas won't be a total loss, as Thanksgiving nearly was, but it will be impacted nonetheless.

Still, if my creatinine level is low enough to once again enable me to be infused on Friday, Dec. 28, the awkwardness of the occasion/task will have been worth the trouble. (Besides, it was fodder for a column.)

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