Thursday we had an appointment with a nutritionist at the hospital. While it was not bad, and actually, it was kind of good, it still left me feeling grumpy and frustrated.
Part of that was the way it started. We had an example of the downside of getting treated in a big medical center with multiple specialties. The nutritionist I was supposed to see spends some time in the Cancer Center, which is where the radiation treatments happen, in the basement at one end of the hospital. That was where my appointment was supposed to happen. But, when I called the other day to ask where the appointment was supposed to be, they told me I should check in at the Surgical Specialties department, on the 3rd floor of the Surgical Pavilion, an addition at the opposite end of the hospital across a skybridge. After checking in and waiting 20 minutes in the admittedly lovely waiting room there, someone figured out the mistake and came to tell us we needed to go to radiation oncology. Grr.
When we got there and met her, we found the nutritionist herself was a nice young woman, and she escorted us back to a room for our interview. There we quickly learned that she was not, as we had been led to believe, the person who was going to be talking to us about the details of getting my feeding tube and what formulas we were going to be using. That will be someone else, who we’ll meet when I have the tube implanted. (So much for Kimberly’s having prepped and re-read all the posts from the last blog about the myriad problems we had with the feeding tube.)
No, this was the person who has the job of assessing my diet and nutrition skills, and will be monitoring my weight and food intake to make sure I get everything I need during the course of treatment. She was very pleased to hear that it sounds like I have a healthy diet, and pay attention to food and nutrition already, and also that I had experience with the feeding tube years ago.
Of course, it also meant that there wasn’t really anything she could tell us that we didn’t already know. So it seemed kind of pointless for us. I guess it’s probably good that they have a meeting with someone like her built in to the process, for people who aren’t well-to-do organic locavores who make their own bread and cook because they are used to a low-sodium whole food diet. Intellectually, I also understand that it’s good she got to meet the healthy, pre-treatment me, so she’ll have something to measure against in our upcoming weekly appointments, but … eh.
And, as I thought about it, I realized that it’s good they have someone on the treatment team whose job is to monitor me and be responsible for me getting enough nutrition to stay as healthy as possible through the treatment and recovery. That’s great and means I am well supported. On the other hand, that implies that I will need someone to monitor me and be responsible for making sure I get enough nutrition during treatment and recovery. That is scary and ominous.
So, I ended the appointment thinking about how it’s very likely that in a few weeks my mouth will hurt enough that I’ll be happy to be able to barely swallow liquids, and just getting enough calories on-board will be a chore. And, as we learned, it will be an important one, because if I lose weight in my face, the targeting mask for the radiation might not fit quite right anymore. (Gee. Great. Are you kidding me? How much more ridiculous crap do I need to worry about?)
Finally, instead of dwelling on that, I decided I’d just put all that on hold, and delegate the worrying about it to our new nutritionist, and move on to the next thing on the list.
Which was Friday morning. My initial exam at the specialist dentist, who evaluated my teeth and jaws for their ability to cope with the treatment and after-effects. That was … something. More on that later.