Monday, May 10, 2010

Chemotherapy Recovery: Be Nice.

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Being overly nice and friendly to fellow patients and nurses is very vital for recovery. Being looked upon favorably by fellow patients and nurses could be life prolonging. Humor goes a long way, and gifts are always welcome. One infusion day, (with my wife present), I handed out red roses to all the nurses and support staff. Being a self-confessed redeemed flirt it is a natural thing for me to be friendly with nurses. Complimentary comments are usually returned and I have received very much needed advice in the context of a casual and friendly conversation. In an appointment with oncologists, it is inevitable you forget to ask a question or to inquire about a side affect or issue. Nurses are literally loaded with advice and knowledge. Tapping that resource is a very, very healthy choice. Looking around at fellow patients is a learning experience as well. These veterans of chemotherapy can also be quizzed on various topics. One day, I observed a fellow patient with noise canceling headphones. I took that to note and at the next infusion, I brought mine to cancel out all the beeping of the instruments to listen to music or teachings. Nurses that have the 'athletic' look I always ask, "Hey, how do you stay so trim and fit?" It opens the door for conversation that could be an opening for friendship. I am genuinely curious and love to discover the joys of life others enjoy. When I come in, these tidbits of personal information makes it easy to start conversations and once they are started, the resourcefulness of a nurse is tapped and I become a better person as a result of their resourcefulness and experience. Those that are runners I always inquire about their progress and their goals. Information sharing in the context of friendship creates a healthy bond with another fellow human being. Instead of dreading an infusion, or appointment, or a port flush, it becomes an event to look forward to hanging out with friends.

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