I woke up last week sounding like Harvey Fierstein. Ended up with a stupid headcold. Ugh. I know it’s that time of year when everyone is sick… but it made me mad. I was JUST starting to feel better from my Tamoxifen reaction and then I had to go back to bed to nurse my cold.


Because of my cold I had to miss my Chemo Brain class. My Theraputic Touch. My Meditation class AND then a pipe burst in my master bathroom and I had to miss my Aquafit Class to wait for the plumber to find the leaky pipe. It’s been an annoying couple of weeks. Ha ha.

I had to go give blood today and have my port flushed. I always ask at the reception desk which nurse is doing the blood because I don’t ever want that “Frantic Nurse” to touch me again.

The lovely receptionist checked for me to make sure that she wasn’t around and then told me it would be a few minutes. The waiting room is the same waiting room where I used to wait for chemo.

mainI can hear the chemo machines beeping and smell the smells of the chemo ward. It always triggers me – so I sat and pretended to look at my phone while I did some Square Breathing to keep grounded.

As I was sitting there two different chemo nurses walked by and came over to tell me how great I looked. It was nice to see them and not have to see them (if you know what I mean).ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Just as I was feeling settled and calm – I look up from my phone and guess who walks in and says my name… “Frantic Nurse“!!

I asked if she was taking my blood and she (frantically) said “Yes. I am filling in for xx and xx while they are on lunch.” There was a long awkward pause while I searched my brain for the right words. It probably was only 2 seconds but it felt like 2 minutes.

“I would prefer that you don’t take my blood. Could I have someone else?”
“I would prefer if a different nurse could take my blood.”
Why? What’s the problem have I done something there’s nobody here until 1:30 I have to do it for you now or Blah blah blah frantic frantic frantic

I stopped listening and went into panic mode. Ugh. This woman. I can NOT handle her. Her energy makes me feel like I’m spinning out of control.

So I took a deep breath and decided I didn’t need to explain to her why I don’t like having her draw my blood. I smiled again and said “I’m going to ask the receptionist to book me another time. Thank you so much.”

Her reaction?? I have no idea. I left the room. ๐Ÿ™‚

As I was walking to the receptionist someone called my name. Turned around and saw a different nurse. I asked her if she was looking for me and she was. I said “Oh good. I was about to leave because I didn’t want “Frantic Nurse” to take my blood. She stared at me for a few seconds and said under her breath “I don’t blame you. She’s terrible.” We linked arms and walked down the hallway comparing notes.

Frantic Nurse” sounds like a nightmare to work with. I told the nurse about how I had put in a complaint about my experience. She said it was good that I had done that but that because the Cancer Center is union run it probably won’t do anything. ๐Ÿ™

I walked out of there feeling like a can of pop that had been shaken up. Ugh. It was so stressful. Thankfully Drop in Meditation was at 1:30 so I walked up stairs and lay on a mat and spent the next 1.5 hours trying to let go ofร‚ย “Frantic Nurse“.

Should I complain again? Last time I complained in person to the Head Nurse but I’m wondering if I should send in a letter. I don’t want to get her fired or anything but it sounds like she needs some re-training or to be moved to somewhere where she doesn’t interact with patients.

Ugh. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it… ๐Ÿ™

e41d11689c0311e3a9460e1ad7174570_8In other news my hair is growing … It still doesn’t feel like my hair. It’s very thin and soft.

My regular hair is thick and stiff like a wire brush BUT it’s growing in nicely and I feel like I can pass for a normal person.

Proof of that is that I had a woman come up to me at the Cancer Center today and say “You have the most amazing shaped head. Is your hair short because of chemo or is this how you wear it normally?”

I said “Yes. Both.” ๐Ÿ™‚

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11 Responses to Cough

  1. ann says:

    Hey sarah!
    I think it’s fair to send a letter. It will probably go to the manager and the frantic nurse will be talked to, but she won’t get fired for that. Between the union and the fact that she hasn’t seriously injured or killed anyone (after all, she *is* employed), she’ll be fine. I’m sure of it.

  2. Katherine says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m glad to hear you stuck to your principles and set out to leave instead of dealing with “Frantic Nurse.” Trust your feelings and send a letter to her organizing or licensing body. There will likely be follow-up.

  3. Meridith says:

    I agree it is fair to send a letter. If you have that strong a reaction to her, other patients most likely do as well and that isn’t great for ANYONE’S treatment. Good for you for standing up for yourself as well. Sending big hugs!

  4. Anne says:

    I agree with Ann without an ‘e’. Working in the healthcare system I can frankly say that a letter is often required to have an issue looked into. As she works in a union shop she maybe offered training but the likelihood of her getting fired is slim. I always encourage clients to give feedback (positive or negative) otherwise nothing can change.
    Wishing you all the best in your continued healing journey.
    Anne with an ‘e’.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I agree with folks you should write a letter since it is Union I highly doubt she will be fired and besides maybe someone needs to have the guts or cahones to make a change to quote Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Besides maybe if you write a letter and others (hopefully) have done as well then maybe they might move her where she cant do too much harm.
    Good luck and remember to breathe. It will be ok no matter what you decide to do.

  6. Catherine says:

    Whatever you decide to do, I admire your simply saying “no thank you” in the first place. I’m going to remember that if I come across my own frantic nurse. So sorry you had to deal with her again, and I’m glad the other nurse was there to understand why you felt that way.

  7. Sneaky says:

    I love that picture of you.

  8. Secundra Beasley says:

    Yes you should continue to speak up about Frantic Nurse. You will not be responsible for her firing. By not speaking up, her job is validated. You should not have to dread getting health care because of one bad apple.

  9. Silvia says:

    Good for you! You set an example for all of us, particularly after a certain age: we do not have to put up with unpleasantness. Period.

    I would COMPLETELY recommend that you write in a letter. And, just as you told us that you do not wish for Frantic Nurse to be fired, you can address this issue in the letter and STRONGLY recommend that she go for retraining/professional polish (or whatever it’s called).

    Can you imagine how many people, including cancer patients, have had to deal with her yet have not gone ahead and filed a complaint? Your writing a letter might spare another cancer patient from having to deal with incompetence.

  10. Tia says:

    I’ve been following your experience as a fan of your cookbooks! I had a horrible experience with several staff during some hospital time this year. I wrote to VIHA about the experience as they have a patient care quality control office. It made me feel more in control and they are investigating the situation. It is so important to advocate in writing to the right person/authority so (I’m sure you could find this yourself) the feedback portion of the Vancouver Island Cancer treatment centre:

    Print this Page
    Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2008
    We recognize the importance of providing the highest standard of care, treatment and services for our patients and a respectful work environment for our staff. To this end we continuously evaluate our performance. Did we meet your needs? Do you have any suggestions? Do you have any concerns? Did we exceed or fall short of your expectations in any areas?

    Please provide your feedback via one of the following options:

    Patient comment cards are available in the first and second floor lobbies. Please complete one and drop it into the box provided
    Alternatively, you may print the attached comment card and return to:

    Vancouver Island Centre Administration Office
    2410 Lee Avenue,
    Victoria, BC V8R 6V5
    Tel: 250.519.5501 or 250.519.5502
    Fax: 250.519.2022

    Letters can be mailed, emails sent or calls made to the address above
    Meetings can be arranged with members of our leadership staff. Please call Administration at 250.519.5501 or 250.519.5502.
    We value your input and appreciate you taking the time to contact us.

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