Tuesday, August 3, 2010

biohazard spill on 11 SouthWest

Just about every chemo treatment something exciting happens. I fondly remember the first time where I showed up and my orders hadn't been submitted. Then there was the time that they were flat out wrong and they wanted to give me the wrong dosing of the drugs. Other visits included orders that weren't signed, but this time things were so exciting that I got a "code orange". Codes are interesting. They are used so that patients don't freak out over what's happening. You wouldn't want to hear "biohazard spill" or "uh-oh someone flat-lined" in the room next door. Code Orange at my hospital is a bio-hazard spill. In this case it was my precious taxol. How it came about is an error in training people on new processes. Over this past weekend the hospital changed the connection tubing on some drug bags. When my favorite nurse opened the bag to plug in my IV line it spilled some. They had trained her to open the bag a certain way, which she had done - but the training was wrong. I didn't freak out, but by this time I had already been subjected to numerous "you won't care what I do to you" drugs including the 25 mg of benadryl, some aloxi, decadron, and various others that are delivered right to the heart. So I grinned like a drunk fool and tried to take some pictures of the cleanup. (I know they're blurry, like I said, I was drugged!) Overall the damage was minimal. The spill was small enough that they didn't need to mix any more chemo, so that was fortunate.

The interesting and/or perturbing thing is that this hospital is one of the best in the nation. That means I am getting a pretty high standard of care even with the inconsistencies and silly issues. I trust my doctors and nurses (at least most of them) and am very glad that I am in this facility. However, reinforces the need to question them and keep them (and me) on our collective toes about the treatment they are prescribing and I am receiving.

So here I am at the culmination of my chemo treatment 8 hours away from being done with taxol and cisplatain. Then in about a week I meet with my radiation oncologist to discuss the next phase of treatment. I have already read horror stories on the internet about some radiation treatments that have gone awry and so I have a small list of questions for my radiation oncologist next week. If there's anyone out there who has experiences or advice to share about the radiation leg of the journey please feel free to let me know.

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