Posted by: donrhymer | August 16, 2011

How About Some Juice?

My “Oncologist Who Hates Me’s” current drug of choice is a delightful little confection called Erbitux. I could tell you it’s many varied uses and exactly why it’s different than other chemotherapy drugs, but let’s face it, you really don’t care.

You would lose interest in seconds and flip back over to your Facebook page and change your status to “Bored Fartless with Don’s Blog.” The only thing remotely intriguing about my weekly dosage is its glorious side effects.

No, not nausea and hair loss, but severe acne and a general feeling of “malaise.”   Yes, you read that correctly, this drug makes you lazy and depressed with a face full of zits. In other words, it gives you the unique opportunity to relive junior high school. And isn’t that a time in life we ALL want to go back to.

I’ve had four surgeries and none of them debilitated me more than waking one morning to find mountain ranges, valleys, and snow-capped peaks working their way across my body.  I think my chest alone is now home to six or seven different ecosystems.

As I sat in the hospital last week, getting my weekly IV drip of this particular rat poison, I was asking the Nurse about the drug and what I could expect. I’d heard the stories and I was a little worried. She leaned over me with extreme empathy and compassion…

“You will break out all over, you will feel bad for a long time, but… eventually it will all go away. One day you will be just like new.”

And then she waved her hand vaguely over my surgically altered neck and chest and said….

“Except for all this you got going on. This won’t change. This you are stuck with. Want some juice?”

 I was a little offended, but then again juice sounded good, so I let it go. Juice seems to be the hospital’s “go to” fix for whatever ails you and surprisingly, it quite often works. I’ve seen huge, heavily- tattooed gang-banging Neanderthals about to go off on a five foot one Filipino nurse and all she has to do is say: “How about some juice?” “NO, I DON’T WANT ANY DAMN… wait, you got any grape?”

I think the juice solution would be just as effective in all of life’s little dramas. Your boss is yelling at you for missing a deadline, perhaps whip out a nice cup of pineapple-orange juice and watch that anger melt away.

Yes honey, I did sleep with little Amy’s Gymboree teacher and you have every right to be mad, but wouldn’t a nice glass of cranberry-apple go down smooth right now?

Okay, maybe juice won’t work, because, let’s face it; hospitals don’t function like the real world. As the dependence on juice demonstrates, hospitals are an altered reality that tends to more closely resemble your neighborhood pre-school. Think about it, there’s a lot of whining, authority figures demand everyone take frequent naps, and the staff tends to address their patients like children:  “Mr. Rhymer, before we hook you up to the IV do you need to T-T?”

And the answer is yes, of course I gotta go. All that juice goes right through a guy.



  1. I like the idea of a juice based economy. And I think it would work in situations beyond hospitals. I’m going to carry some in the car with me, and next time I’m stopped by a police officer I’ll whip it out. If he doesn’t accept it, I’ll try throwing it at him and speeding away.

  2. I remember my sister having trouble with the ‘zits’ from the chemo. She never did loose her hair though. They give you one blessing and add a curse!

  3. Hi Don! Oh yeah… juice. After spending 4 days consuming nothing but ice chips & being so #*()& thirsty, juice was great! It was all I had for another week or so before they started putting me on solid foods. Juice rocks!!!! Praying for ya! George

  4. Yeah you are also right the nurses tend to address you as children even though the ones I had were very nice. My favorite nurse was the one who said to me (while I was in the midst of intense ICU hallucinations) “No honey there aren’t any giant bugs crawling out of the wall.”

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