Yesterday I went with Mom to her first chemotherapy treatment. It was good to be able to be with her.
When we walked in, we were comforted by seeing a familiar face, Lorraine. She goes to church with us and is a close friend of Mom’s. Lorraine was taking her final treatment while Mom took her first.
Lorraine introduced us to the head nurse, Teresa, and said, “Teresa, do you remember Mike McSheehy? This is his daughter-in-law, and this is her mom.” Immediately Teresa looked at me with compassion, and a little pain. I remembered then that I had met Teresa at Mike’s visitation, and I remembered how much Mike meant to her.
She then told me something that made my day. Back when Mike was in that same room, he shared how he wished there was a blanket warmer since the room is always kept cold. So after Mike’s death, my mother-in-law requested that memorials be made to the oncology clinic to purchase a blanket warmer – about a $3000 machine. I never knew what happened from that, if enough money had been donated.
Teresa then told me that eventually they were able to raise enough funds, and they now had the blanket warmer!
Shortly after that, a nurse brought a warm blanket to my mom. I can’t describe how much this touched me, that my mom was being kept warm in that same room as Mike had been in, with something that was able to be purchased in part because of Mike.
Mom’s treatment lasted about three hours, and just being in the room brought a lot of emotions. I realized just what it meant when people told us how much Mike’s positive demeanor made a difference in that room. I can imagine him having the whole room in stitches, bringing smiles to people’s faces, bringing strength to them to keep fighting.
I wondered what people’s stories were, what family they had (I was the only family member of a patient in there), how they coped emotionally.
I thought what wonderful people who felt led to work in that department. How difficult yet rewarding in a way that job must be.
I gave Mom an early Christmas present – a kindle fire – so she could access the internet, email, Facebook, and of course, Weather.com, while she gets treatments or at home in the comfort of her living room.
She so far has done well with the treatment, but we are told if she feels bad it probably won’t come immediately.
I was just thankful, above all, that I got to be there.