Today was my last Benlysta infusion of the year, and I was the last infusion of the day at the hospital’s cancer infusion center. As I arrived, I stopped at the valet parking station and headed right in. In the waiting room the discovery of my Nook tablet battery on empty made me wonder what I would do for the next couple of hours. Soon, I was distracted into a Christmas mood by noticing wreaths, a Christmas tree and other colorful holiday decorations bringing cheer to the infusion center suite. The nurses welcomed me with offers of goodies and an invitation to sample the contents of a generous spread of treats. The nursing staff and a couple of patients had all contributed to a bevy of sweets.
As I sampled a soft, gooey brownie filled with walnuts and chocolate chunks, I started craving some coffee, and made a note to myself for next year to bring something to share at my December infusion. While the staff prepared my IV infusion set up, I dropped my purse and jacket at the infusion chair closest to the coffee station and brewed a single serving of some surprising great coffee, complete with my favorite hazelnut creamer.
Although I have easy to find veins, the nurse had trouble run getting past a valve in the vein on the top of my hand, just as we both remembered she had the same problem in the same spot once before. She explained that some patients are what she called “valvy” explaining some people have more valves than normal. The unusually uncomfortable feeling of pressure in the vein had me communicating my discomfort with conviction, as the nurse commented the IV had just blown out. Pulling the it out, she and I both agreed she would have to toss it and try another IV in a new vein.
Soon, she got the IV successfully in place and started the Benlysta flowing. I settled in to read a novel I had borrowed from the book cart on the way in, not sure it was going to be one I would want to read through to its end, but its early pages sufficed to keep me amused, sans my uncharged techie toys. The short one-hour infusion time passed quickly. Most infusion days, I arrive at around 3:00 p.m. and am usually walking out by 5:30 p.m. or so. Today was no different, except for stopping briefly to exchange Christmas wishes with the nurses and saying goodbye until “next year.”
The infusion center validates valet parking for patients at the hospital, but I realized as I left the building that I did not have any cash for a tip. I left my keys with the valet, and let him know I would be right back. I headed for the main hospital building to find a teller machine. Just inside, I found one, pulled out some cash and went to break a twenty at the gift shop. I found a cute battery-powered necklace made of miniature Christmas lights, thinking it would be fun to wear to work next week, and calculated the cost just was enough to break a twenty with plenty of change left for the tip.
Once back in my car, I headed out toward the street, suddenly realizing I had forgotten the file folder I brought with me, expecting a call from my financial adviser. I remembered I had left it on top of the teller machine! In a panic, turned my car around at the light and rushed back to the valet station. Handing my keys back to the valet, I hurriedly explained I had left some very important papers and had to go get them. I literally ran back through the hospital entrance, glad I was wearing sneakers, and uttered an audible thank you prayer as I spotted my pink file folder atop the teller machine.
Inside the file was a receipt, super bill and lab orders from my rheumatologist and my medication list, but more importantly, it also contained my father’s bank statements and the durable power of attorney for handling his business affairs. This week, I have worked with the bank to restructure some of his maturing investments. The file contained all dad’s bank account numbers, statements, account balances, addresses, etc. This information, together with the details in the power of attorney documents, could be catastrophic in the wrong hands, potentially providing everything someone would need to commit bank account takeover fraud.
Slowing down abruptly to stop the pace of my pounding heart, I retrieved the file with a deep sigh, took a couple more intentionally deep breaths, and whispered another short prayer of thanks. Instinctively, I clutched the file tightly to my chest as I slowly walked back outside. Thanking the valet once again, I was back in the driver’s seat and finally truly headed home.
As I pulled away, I noticed my heart was still pounding and grumbled to myself. I was extremely frustrated that lupus and my short-term memory problems from CNS lupus caused me to forget something so important! I was also angry at myself for being careless with the file. At the same time, I was extremely thankful I remembered it in time to prevent financial disaster.
My favorite expression from the famous Charles Schultz cartoon character, Snoopy the dog, was on my lips as I drove toward the freeway, voicing a deep guttural “aarrgh!”