The "Hotel Melanoma" moniker is a metaphor for living with my particular brand of cancer. Except for those lucky few of us deemed "cured", all we cancer survivors are guests of one of the many, many branded hotels in the "Hotel Carcinoma" chain. We can check out any time we like, but we can never leave. Meanwhile, let's be livin' it up; and please support cancer education, prevention, and treatment research.

Tutu Brothers

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's With This Hippocratic Oath?

I’m just a recovering attorney, not a physician, but I’m reasonably sure that one of the principles embedded in the medical profession’s Hippocratic Oath is “first, do no harm”. (Many in the legal profession, if asked to draft a similar oath for lawyers, might propose something along the lines of “first, rack up some billable hours".) As a veteran patient, I must say that this aspect of the Oath sometimes manifests itself in strange ways.

One of my indelible memories about the kickoff of my first round of biochemotherapy treatment is that the nurses, who charged in locked and loaded with multiple IV bags of pharmaceutical concoctions with seriously toxic and potentially fatal side effects, were completely gowned, gloved, masked, etc. As you might expect, I was a bit nervous about the treatment regimen I was about to begin. So, my smart-ass lawyer mouth just had to blurt out “so what’s with the hazmat suits”? The nurse-in-charge’s response was to point to one particular bag and explain that if she got any of that on her it would eat her flesh. And this stuff is about to be mainlined into my bloodstream for the next several days? Yikes. I was so very relieved that the folks who’d installed the infusion line a couple of hours earlier had been so diligent in thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the insertion site of that line.

Has anyone else experienced such a Hippocratic disconnect?


  1. oh can one post be funny and scary at the same time.

    Yesterday morning, my daughter had her WLE and SNB. I was with her for the mapping of the
    sentinel node(s). And yes, I noticed the lead
    case with biohazard yellow stickers all over it that the very large blue liquid filled syringe was pulled from.

    Things that make you go "hmmmmmmmmmm" and then make you want to go screaming from the room.

  2. I know I'm late to the game here, but I had a PET scan two weeks ago and when I went to pick up my kiddos at my Dad's afterward, he thought it would be fun to try his geiger counter out on me. It went nuts! Kinda freaked us out!

  3. Martha, I haven't had a PET scan (I think my insurance company is too cheap to pay) but I can relate. Shortly after I completed radiation treatments, my radiation oncologist and I shared a laugh about this not being a good time for me to do anything like trying to visit the White House. I hope you are well.