You Know You’re a Cancer Parent Pro When …

By Suzanne Leigh
Published on the Huffington Post

  • You recognize there’s no such thing as too many vomit buckets in your home.
  • Words like “neutropenia,” “pentamidine” and “cyclophosphamide” just trip off your tongue (and you can spell them, too!).
  • You’re irritated that someone’s taken your usual spot in the hospital parking lot.
  • You pack coordinating outfits and your hairdryer (and possibly even your anti-aging cream?) to use during your child’s hospital stay … it’s become your second home, why look like a hot mess.
  • You breeze past hospital security. They should know who you are by now, for God’s sake.
  • You’re mistaken for a social worker as you walk to the hospital elevator.
  • You realize you are getting too attached to your nurse practitioner.
  • The hospital cafeteria cashier asks you for your staff discount card.
  • Your first thought of the day as you wake up beside your inpatient child is not getting your caffeine fix, but asking your RN for the latest ANC.
  • A rising ANC makes you blink back tears of joy.
  • You marvel at discovering the only truly waterproof mascara that doesn’t leave rivulets of black running down both cheeks when you cry.
  • A doctor’s request to talk in private triggers a reflex of primal terror.
  • You question the phlebotomist when the lab requisition isn’t marked STAT.
  • You get used to the resident saying they’ll have to get the attending to answer your questions.
  • You wish the residents would stop wasting your time and only the attending would attend.
  • The attending’s face falls when she sees you at your child’s bedside –- she knows she’s stuck with you for a while.
  • You wonder when you’ll get your paycheck — wait a minute, you don’t work at the hospital, or anywhere anymore  (who’d want to hire  you, anyway?).
  • You are constantly on the lookout for attractive hats for your child.
  • You’ve perfected the stink eye for anyone who dares to stare at your child’s bald head or steroid-swollen face.
  • You restrain yourself from saying “WTF” when you hear your daughter’s friend complain about her new haircut.
  • You snoop through your child’s e-mail inbox and intercept those messages that you decide are insensitive.
  • You are never without tissues and Tylenol in your purse. You know that you’ll probably have a thumping headache and/or shed a torrent of tears at least once a day.

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