Good People To Guide Us

Fred Rogers once said in an interview, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, 'Look for the helpers. You will always see people helping.'"

The helpers

During my four-year cancer journey, I have noticed many good people helping. Most people act like they enjoy their job. Let's review how these people guide us.

Receptionists

They are usually the first people you see when you enter an office. It is always nice when they recognize you and greet you by name. One lady is my favorite because she compliments my scarf or necklace. I should learn her name.

Phlebotomists

I used to get anxious about going to the lab for blood draws. They would tell me that I had little veins, so it was hard for them to find one. Little veins? Why couldn't I have a little butt? These days, I have complete blood counts every three months. The workers in the oncology lab are excellent - they find the right vein every time!

Nurses

I can't say enough nice things about nurses. They are knowledgeable, helpful, and know what questions to ask. When I was a little girl in the 1960s, I thought I would become a nurse because I liked the small white caps they used to wear. Then I discovered that I was not too fond of the sight of blood or any body fluids for that matter. I don't know how nurses do what they do!

Proactive doctors

I think I have the best primary care physician! She observed my blood levels for a few years and kept asking how I was feeling. Most of the time, I felt okay. Finally, in 2016, I told her that I wasn't feeling well. I lacked energy and had some dizzy spells. I have always been thankful that she was an active listener and referred me to an excellent oncologist.

"Don't be upset that I am referring you to an oncologist. We want to observe your blood levels," my doctor said. That's what we did for almost a year, then, I had a bone marrow biopsy. I consider myself lucky to have two excellent doctors.

Hospital staff

The staff at Hillcrest Hospital did my first bone marrow aspiration in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. They were friendly and upbeat. They asked me what music I wanted to listen to before they put me to sleep. Six months later, two efficient ladies did my second aspiration at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas.  They didn't put me to sleep, but I did okay. I think because the ladies were chatty. Their friendly chatter kept me from getting anxious.

I was 61 years old when I was at MD Anderson, and I got lost! How I did it, I am still not sure! I started walking after receiving my confirmation for blood cancer to find privacy to make a phone call. After my phone call, I took the wrong escalator and ended up in a different building! A staff member noticed my medical bracelet and walked me back to the MD Anderson building. There are always people helping.

The kindness of others

Years ago, I read It's Always Something by Gilda Radner. She complimented Bob, her radiation technician, saying he was the funniest person she had ever met. This is Gilda Radner talking; she was an original on Saturday Night Live! People who knew Bob said he should be on television, but Gilda said, "No, he should be in the radiation therapy department because that is where his humor is needed the most."

Mother Teresa said, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

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