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There’s real time and there’s hospital time

Events today reminded me of this fact.

If you are waiting for visitors, they will generally arrive in real time. This is because they still live a real life, outside of the hospital. They can make plans and stick to their real life schedule.

Everything within the hospital bounds happens in hospital time. This means that you think you know when to expect it, but you will probably be wrong. You will end up waiting a long time past your “real time” expectations.

Today was the start of my son’s chemotherapy. We expected it to start around 10am but it did not appear until 3pm. His chemo nurse said that it wasn’t due until 3pm, and that it would be 3pm every day. At least now we know.

My son is in a temperature controlled room. You can’t open the window. You can’t open the inner door unless the outer door is closed. This is part of infection control. We thought that he was supposed to stay in his box. The chemo nurse told us (at 3pm) that he could’ve left his room this morning. It would’ve been nice to have known that this morning. Once the chemo has trashed his blood he won’t be allowed to leave. We hope that his blood counts will be ok for him to escape a while tomorrow morning … And we hope that chemo does indeed start at the same time every day. We can plan accordingly.

Before he has his chemo he has an injection of GSCF which helps boost his white blood cells. The nurse was preparing this and I went and gave my son a hug. “It won’t hurt” said the nurse. I explained I wasn’t hugging him because of the injection but because it was the THIRD time in his life that he was starting chemo.

Previously, he has only had the GCSF injection after chemo, and he administered it himself at home. He asked the nurse if it was ok for him to do it instead of her, and she was fine with that. I’m all for letting him have as much control over his treatment as possible.

Because, you can control real time, but hospital time is just “when it happens” …

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