Finding Empathy At The Infusion Center

Beautiful smiles wearing masks as they get their ports accessed and other lines like mine hooked up. I’m in the company of other people there daily, whom I don’t know, but start to become the normal faces you see when you’re sick.

Finding peace in people

Some days I sit wondering what their story is. Not all hospitals have the best privacy practices in infusion rooms, massively in part due to the shortage of nurses, budgets, and the inability to have private infusion rooms. Despite the miles I’ve put on to be at the hospital and clinic every other day, I have found a certain peace in the people I have the opportunity to meet. I’ve become close to many of these people. On weekends, I bring my cribbage board as well as my partner, and we play as much as we can. There is another couple who loves to snicker at us when we bicker about who had the best crib.

There for the long haul

Others are going through unknown circumstances, most likely feeling the same type of loneliness on days when we’re each here alone. Doing our own thing quietly for a couple of hours. I’ve come and gone out of a specific infusion center for the last 15 years. After a few years at a different hospital, I was shocked to see some of the same nurses there as when I began coming for therapy 15 years ago! I was met with open arms and quickly became acquainted with folks who were there for the long haul like I was...like I am.

Ups and downs

It’s easy to make up a story about someone you know nothing about. But in a place like this, the stories are a bit more melancholy. When people feel well enough, they might joke here and there. On days we don’t, we exchange hellos and smiles and let each other rest. Because in all reality, we have no idea what the person in the chair next to us is going through. We haven’t seen that couple that giggles when we play cards lately. It makes me wonder if he (the patient) is doing okay now. I sure hope he is. It’s hard to get attached to people and then they graduate therapy or sometimes, you just never see them again.

Nurses are the heart

Last but not least, the heart of my infusion center -  my infusion nurses. The energetic men and women who work long hours, stand almost all day long, and would cater to your every need if they could.  I’m not sure how much “fun” infusions would be if I didn’t have the care I received at my infusion center. The nurses and staff are like family.

Gratitude and giving back

Being a part of the medical system sure gives me an opportunity to feel the love and care of others and also the ability to give that love and support back. I’m thankful for the headspace I have most days when I enter clinic, because I know my situation could be so much worse. The empathy I’ve found in others receiving treatment is something I might not be able to convey to someone who has never had to utilize those services, but I know for the ones who have been there and are there now it will resonate.

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