While receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer, it’s hard to imagine anything that could make patients forget they’re in a hospital receiving treatment.
Nurse Marie Kettle, who runs the infusion clinic at The Memorial Hospital, knows this.
That’s why she tries to make her patients as comfortable as possible by providing recliners, blankets, TVs, hats, food and candy.
The infusion clinic, which began operating in October 2011, is welcomed by many Craig’s residents who no longer have to drive three or four hours to Grand Junction or Denver to receive treatment.
Kettle said patients now can spend just a morning or afternoon receiving therapy and no longer have to deal with what she calls the “chemotherapy hangover.”
Kettle described the sick feeling patients sometimes get after treatment. Having to deal with that on top of a long drive is something Kettle said they shouldn’t have to do.
Kettle said she does infusions for chemotherapy and to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease most often.
Kettle said the recliners in the room are a favorite of patients.
“People just love them,” Kettle said.
Kettle said recliners are OK with most people because it’s not a bed, but it’s still comfortable.
For patients coming for first-time treatment, Kettle said, there often is nervousness and fear of the unknown, but after the first cycle, patients do a lot better.
She also said the thought that patients receiving chemo will become very sick isn’t true. She said there are medications she can give to patients before treatment that keep nausea levels down. However, Kettle said patients can expect to be tired.
Some days, patients will come in and seem down and not up to the process of receiving treatment. Kettle said talking it out is the best way to remedy their spirits.
“You just talk about it with them. Let them know you understand, and let them express themselves, see if anything else is going on in their life that has them feeling that way,” Kettle said.
Another nice aspect of being smaller and rural treatment center, Kettle said, is the ability to talk with patients whenever they have questions.
Kettle said patients know they can call or stop by any time. A pharmacist on-site is available to discuss any medication questions, as well.
Other comforts include a quilt provided to each new patient receiving chemo by a local quilting group and hats donated by cancer survivors that sit and wait for the warm the head of a chemo patient.
“You make friends forever,” Kettle said. “I see people in the community who still come up to me and say, ‘I gotta have a hug.”
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org