Posted by: donrhymer | July 22, 2010

Chemotherapy Day Two

8:45 Today my twenty-four year old son Andrew has come to hang out with me. Just two guys hanging out swapping stories… in a hospital room. Separated only by a flotilla of lethal pharmaceuticals. Oh yes, every son’s dream.

9:22 Things got off to a rocky start. My First Born Caregiver almost passed out when they stuck me with the IV. But he rallied, tried to make it look like he had lost a contact so I give him points for that.

10:02 I am starting to worry that Andrew may not be the most attentive of caregivers. Three times he has leaned over to show me some cool app on his iPhone and cut off the multitude of tubes flowing into my veins.

Each time it sets off an alarm that for some reason sounds like a fire engine in 1929. The nurse’s station is positioned in the center of like a hundred beds so every time an alarm goes off it’s like someone stepped on an ant hill. They spring into action trying to figure what in the hell is going on. It’s like a bad Buster Keaton movie.

10:27 Okay, now I am starting to fear for my life. My inattentive caregiver spilled his caramel macchiato and almost cut off power to half the cancer ward.

10:53 For the last thirty minutes he has insisted in talking in a Jamaican accent. He gives me no explanation for this behavior.

11:15 This is getting serious. I woke up from a brief nap and he was gone. I unplugged my IV’s and when I found him he was wheelchair racing down a back hallway with a Tech from radiation.

I must admit I got mad and yelled, but in my defense I was hungry. “What are you doing boy? You’ve got work to do, this banana sure isn’t going to  pre-chew itself!”

12:01 Thank God Kate finally got here. She walked right in, adjusted my bed, changed a lightbulb, took my vital signs including my blood pressure using only the back of her hand and was halfway through today’s sudoku in under three minutes.

That’s when it occurred to me, I married Steve Nash. Two time NBA MVP Steve Nash. Directing traffic, calling the plays, dribbling in and out of full court presses with calm and grace. Oh my God, I married Steve Nash with significantly better hair.

12:24 Poison inserted. Cisplatin hits the system with a bang. Blackness falls over the land.

I figured out a way we can weaponize this drug. The next time we decide to invade a country… North Korea, Venezuela, Vancouver… all viable targets… we simply inject Cisplatin into a few million mini-Snicker Bars. We toss them around the soon-to-be invaded country for a couple of days, and when they fully kick in we just walk up and knock.

Trust me, the entire country will refuse to even get out of bed.

It will be the biggest “Oh Fuck that” day in military history.  “Take it, take it all. Our land, cows, goats, shaky economic infrastructure, our runaway film production from California, our women, take it all. We’re just going to lie in bed and watch ‘Antiques Roadshow.’

5:24 I’m home, feeling a little better. Upon re-reading this, I have to admit that maybe, just maybe… I exaggerated Andrew’s hospital exploits… a little.

Fact is – he was great. All my kids have been fantastic during this whole ordeal, each in their own completely authentic way.

My oldest daughter Molly’s approach is to give me space, but be very intentional with her time with me. She makes every second count with a lot of closeness and direct eye contact. She’s becoming so much like her mother.

Carrie wants to make sure I have an outlet to get it all out. She asks me a million great questions about every aspect of this disease and treatment. What’s it like? How does it feel? What happens next? Are you scared? She wants to process it all and help me do the same.

And Andrew, Andrew wants to be present. He came home from NY for a few weeks and is just ready to do anything anybody needs no matter how small.

Yes, I get it, I’m getting a little Chritsmas lettery here at the end,but when you get cancer you can keep your blog 100 percent  edgy and cool.  My hope for you all is that should some tragedy befall your family, that you’ve got an equal collection of inattentive caregivers within your four walls. And if you happen to have a considerably more attractive Steve Nash hanging around? Well, it sure doesn’t hurt.



  1. How dare you. Steve Nash’s hair is tremendous.*

    *Mrs. Rhymer, please note that your hair is no slouch and understand that my affection for the former Mav’s guard and his mop top reach into childhood.

  2. Dad, you have cancer?

    I thought you were just donating blood.

    Nobody tells me anything in this family.

  3. Hey man, how come your chemo experience seems so much more exciting than my chemo experience? The highlight from mine was catching up on shiteously outdated gossip rags and projectile vomiting on the nurses every time I laid eyes on them. They called it ‘anticipatory nausea.’ I anticipated when they would be within striking distance and then I would aim. – Amanda

  4. Clearly cancer has not taken away your sense of humor. Although I think its more likely that it was you have a wheelchair race. I bet andrew was running behind you yelling “dad! Put your pants on its time for chemo!” In a jamaican accent though cause apparently caretaker andrew has one. And caretaker molly has a souther accent. What accent does caretaker carrie have? Or do I speak in sign language only?

  5. Hi Don, already it cannot be easy for you and your family. We’ll watch this space.

    All the best.

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