Of Mini-strikes, Air Travel and Intimidating Fellow Passengers

Good morning.

Two Wednesdays ago I went for chemo #2 in this round and, while I didn’t get to sleep the morning away as we waited for the meds to arrive, we were able to witness a very short strike/demonstration in the hospital’s main lobby.  As you may recall, Hadassah hospital is having some financial difficulties and, as a result of gross mismanagement, staffers were working without being paid.

Two Wednesday mornings past, we strolled down to the lobby to kill some time and waded into a group of people.  It didn’t take long to realize “something” was up and, when we saw one of the nurses from the chemo day care ward, we inquired as to what was going on.

Workers gather for a mini-strike

Workers gather for a mini-strike

Apparently, hospital management had reached agreements with the doctors, as well as the nurses and the support staff.  However, according to Nurse Ariella, management reneged on the agreement with the latter two groups.  Therefore, a one-hour strike was called for workers to demonstrate in the lobby.  (That’s a funny thing about Israeli workers; a strike doesn’t always (usually?) mean walking away from work for an extended period of time.  It sometimes means just the opposite.  For example, it would not have been unusual to hear on the news that morning: “Nurses and support staff have called a general strike from 11:00 am – noon, today.”)

In any event, we watched as the crowd grew and, as soon as

A little too close for comfort.

A little too close for comfort.

it reached some critical mass where I became concerned from being in a crowd too large and Tammy just didn’t like it, we skedaddled.

I am happy to report, though, that my treatment was not significantly delayed at all.  After moseying around the hospital both inside and out, including seeing the famous Chagall Windows (not as impressive from the outside), we received a text message that my meds had arrived and I was cordially invited to return to the treatment room.

It was, blessedly, an uneventful treatment session.  I ended up napping most of the time and Tammy did her needle pointing.  The only hiccup was when scheduling the upcoming appointments.  My next will be on Wednesday, the 28th and, following that, Tuesday, June 10th.  It was to have been on Wednesday, as usual, but the nurses are going to be participating in a conference (No complaint there!), so everything gets moved up one day.  The challenge is that Tammy will be working that day, so we will need to figure out the logistics.

Well-placed "smoking corner!"

Well-placed “smoking corner!”

As I waited outside for Tammy to bring the car around, I noticed that right outside the entrance to the cancer ward is a smoking corner.  Just in case you don’t believe it, here’s a snapshot.

That’s another sight seen in Israeli hospitals – patients, in wheelchairs and with IVs, sitting outside the building smoking.  Does one see that in the US?

I am happy to report that I continue to work as much as I possibly can.  Last week, pre-chemo, I got in many hours of quality work time (before basically sleeping Wednesday through Friday) and, this week, I have a short trip scheduled; I will be in NY from Thursday morning the 22nd through Monday evening, Memorial Day.  This time, I’m flying ELAL and, while mechanical, weather or labor snags are always a possibility, I’m expecting none of the 22-hour shenanigans from last time, and plan to land early Tuesday evening, in time for chemo Wednesday.

The International Masked Marauder.

The International Masked Marauder.

I’ve already requested wheelchair assistance and, I fully plan to board early, staking my claim to as much overhead binnage as I will need.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: wearing a mask when I travel is like Moses at the Red Sea.  People take one look at me and assume I’m Typhoid Mary. And, if any gate agent challenges my early  boarding, I make sure to look a little tired, breathe a little heavier and challenge them back with a glare that says: “You sure you want to risk the bad karma?”

Hat tip to my occasional travel companion, Shimon, who advised me to get a better mask – the N95 pictured here.  Apparently, it does a much better job of protecting the wearer, whereas the flimsier masks are designed to protect whomever the wearer is with.  I like it because it’s a bit more serious-looking and creates a good Darth Vader-like effect if I breathe just right.

Finally, everything seems to be status quo.  My side effects aren’t terrible; there are just occasional challenges I need to deal with and, with the support of my family, friends and colleagues, these too shall pass.

Thank you, again, for all your support and comments – both public and private. I’m hoping for an equally boring update next time I post! 🙂


About Alan

F---ing Cancer since 2011.
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8 Responses to Of Mini-strikes, Air Travel and Intimidating Fellow Passengers

  1. mayerfertig says:

    That is a serious mask…

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Alan says:

      I’m a serious guy. Oh, and I’ve also started wiping down my tray table and arm rests with alcohol wipes. Apparently, those are the REAL petri dishes!

  2. Cousin el says:

    Sending you lots of hugs and kisses. Have a safe trip this week!

  3. Ari / Wesley Hills says:

    Apparently, the inside pocket in the seat ahead of you is not something you want to put under a microscope either. As for smoking at the hospital, we’ve seen pulmonolgists and cardiologists lighting up during their break. Here in the States! Amazing. Safe and comfortable travels, and stay off the picket line.

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