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Neil Crone’s Journal
Neil Crone is an actor and writer and a national spokesperson for the CCAC. A Second City veteran improvisor, host and stand up comic, Neil also loves to write poems and stories for "big and little kids".
Neil has written a journal of his experience with colorectal cancer.
My Chemo Card
I have a million cards in my wallet. Credit cards, debit cards, library cards, book club cards, organ donor cards, baseball cards…like I said, a lot of cards. Some are more useful than others, but there are a couple in there that just make me shake my head. Do you know that I actually have a ’Cancer Card’? I do. I’m not really sure why, but I have one. Every time I go to the hospital for chemotherapy I have to present my card at the front desk. This is undoubtedly an effort to thwart crooks coming into the hospital and getting somebody else’s chemo. I guess that happens a lot. Chemo junkies walking in off of the street and pretending to be sick so they can get their fix. Boy that’s when you know you’ve really hit rock bottom.
I know there are very real reasons for keeping meticulous track of the info on that card, and I am glad they do it, but it still makes me giggle. Believe me, a card is the last thing you need to tell if someone is getting chemo. Look at their eyes, look at their hair, look at their spirit; those’ll tell the story every time.
The Radiation people are equally canny. You can’t just sneak into Sunnybrook and wheedle your way into a free radiation tan, my friend. They’re tough. Before letting you into the room they ask you tricky questions like ’What is your birthday?’ or ’What’s your middle name?’ And even if you should somehow bluff your way through that checkpoint, there’s no getting around the final qualifier. Once you’re on the table they haul your drawers down and check your hiney for their special tattoos. I think they got that idea from the Mason’s. Anyway, I’m tempted, one of these nights, to give them the wrong answer, or ink in some new butt tattoo’s of my own, just to see what would happen. I imagine flashing lights coming on, blaring claxons and burly radiation cops giving me the bum’s rush out of there. Come to think of it, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad?
The other perplexing card that I carry around with me is a Catheter ID Card. An indispensable little item that instantly alerts anyone I care to show it to, that I have a tube sticking out of my arm. I can’t tell you how many times a day I have to flash this baby. "Neil could you cut the lawn?" Flash. "Neil could you take the garbage out?" Flash. "Neil could you…" Flash. It comes in pretty handy.
I think what I hate most about these cards, is that, like the medical gauze armband I perpetually wear around (to hold in place the tube sticking out of my arm. Flash) is that they are a constant, unwelcome reminder that I am not entirely healthy. That something is wrong at some level. But guess what? I know that. And I spend untold amounts of energy putting myself in a happy mindset so I can deal with it. I don’t need a freaking card to remind me.
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