11:00 a.m. My fifth procedure before noon. This was one of those days when your intelligence crackles from your fingers like lightning, because there is no way in hell you are going to get any rest.
Tech: It looks malignant.
Me: Well it looks like I showed up at the right time. You guys already have it all figured out. I agree.
The librarian (nurse who works with Cyd Vicious): Do you want to see a picture of the mass? It's in the mainstem bronchus.
Me: Yes, please.
Cyd Vicious to librarian: Give me my phone I need to show the patient's family.
Librarian raises her eyes in apology.
Me: No worries. I can wait.
Librarian: Want me to show you a funny video in the meantime?
I watch a video of an 11 month old boy in a sink reveling in water being sprayed on him from the kitchen sink sprayer (is there a more consolidated word for this?). He is lapping up the water like a dog.
Me: Who is that?
Librarian: That's my foster kid. I foster kids. He's getting his TPR on Monday.
Me: What's a TPR?
Librarian: A termination of parental rights.
Me: Let's back up here. Why do you foster kids?
Librarian: I had a hysterectomy at 27. I love kids. I applied to be a foster parent.
Me: So, you look 25. How did you have a hysterectomy 2 years into the future.
Librarian: I'm 29. Started fostering right after the surgery. That's why I love working with Cyd. He forgives the times I can't show up because I am being there for the kids. But this one, I'm really attached. I'm trying to adopt him.
Me: Why now? I mean, fostering kids must be hard. You have to build a wall, because you know they are going to leave. Do you have a partner? A spouse?
Librarian: No it's just me. That's precisely why I'm adopting. I've built that wall. And it's not fair for the kids. They need unconditional love, and if you aren't prepared to give them that at such a crucial time in their lives, you are shorting them. The foster system sucks. It's rough. I get picked on all the time. I've been written up as a delinquent. Once, when I had bathroom cleaner on the floor next to my toilet. The child I was fostering was six weeks old. - there's no way he could have gotten into that bathroom cleaner. Made no freaking sense. And there's this other rule, that all knives have to be in the kitchen. I had a butter knife in the living room once, and voila. Another deficiency.
Me: So you are a single mom. Of foster kids. One of which you are trying to adopt. (Reeling) And they are picking on you? What about all the other foster parents leeching on the system, the ones I read about who take the money and ignore the kids?
Librarian: I'm still trying to figure out how foster parents make bank. I'm in the hole. I spend way more on the kids I foster than the $400 bucks a month I receive for what I do. Sorry I've got to take this call.
Cyd walks over, done with the procedure: So it's malignant.
Me: Yes. I hear you encountered a giant mass in the mainstem bronchus, and have a pic. Can I see?
Cyd: Sure. Here it is. We could debulk it, they would have ten years ago, but it's got more of a chance shrinking with chemo/rad. You see this, right (giant fungating mass), and want to take it out. But it's not the standard of care these days. I'll do it if it doesn't respond to treatment. But that's rare. She's got a good chance of responding.
Me: I'm going to go upstairs and try to get some work done. Call me when you need me.