The First Bag

The First Bag

A Story by David R Gonzalez
"

The emotions that a patient goes through after he has been told that his cancer is too far along to treat and he subsequently begins his first round of palliative chemotherapy.

"


It was as though they had been waiting for me to arrive. They all stood in the entrance smiling in my direction. Why were they smiling? They don’t know what I am going through. Is it just another vain attempt to make me feel at ease? How dare they think that a simple smile will appease my mind. I know what they are going to do; I’ve heard the stories, I’ve seen the movies. I know just enough to be scared. I am scared. I need to stop, its not their fault.

My heart pump viciously as they directed me to the scale. Why do they need to do this again, I’ve been weighed a thousand times already. Is it just to humiliate me? Everything I ingest is rejected and ends up on the floor. I doubt that anyone could weigh a normal amount living like this. It doesn’t matter, I’m too weak to argue with them anyway, I’m just tired of this routine. Why don’t they know that? I’m sure I am not the only one that feels this way. How can they be so cruel, so incompetent and inconsiderate? I need to stop, it's not their fault.

My hands are clammy just thinking about the poison they are about the pump into my veins. They showed me the video; the people smiling, talking about how they can continue to live their lives with this disease. Do they think this helps? I know they're just actors, none of them know what I am going through. How dare they show this to me? I know there are others like me, it does not change the fact that I am dying and the only cure is to poison my body. I need to stop, it's not their fault.

My throat closed up as the nurse pierced my skin with the sharpened needle. I should be used to this, ever since this started my arms look like that of a heroin addict. I should have done heroin instead. I would feel less pain now being filled with the numbing sensation of narcotics. I am dying and they know it. Even the doctors said it was too late. The nurse tries again to find my vein. Damn this nurse, why can’t they ever stick it the first time, why isn’t she good at her job? My veins withered they said, I am dehydrated they said. What did they expect? Even water burns my throat after the radiation. These idiots, they don’t know. I need to stop, it's not their fault.

I see the piss colored liquid inside the transparent bag, the first of many. But how many will my body endure? I know what comes after the liquid. The vomit, the hair loss, neuropathy, impotence, the list goes on. I feel the burning in my eyes just thinking about the side effects. I have been too familiar with these burning tears. And here comes the nurse. No, don’t give me that patronizing look of pity. Don’t pat me on the shoulder. You don’t know what I am going through. I won’t see my family again, they won’t see me. I am too old to be pitied, but, I am too young to die. I am too young to die. It is not their fault, It is mine.



© 2017 David R Gonzalez



Author's Note

David R Gonzalez
I wrote this for a contest while at work. I was inspired by how a few of my patients have told me they felt during their first round of chemotherapy. 2/15/17 I've made some edits after some suggestions (fix grammar, less questions).

My Review

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Featured Review

I loved this piece a lot for its originality, this is how a patient actually feels. It is easy to say everything is ok. It is easy trying to uplift the patients by some motivating words but reality is different and hard. I heard that it is very painful to go through that chemotherapy sessions, some feel dying is a better option than the therapy. Sickness makes people weak not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. You captured their feelings very nicely and accurately. This write kept me engrossed till the end, that's a sign of a good writing. Very nicely expressed.
Thanks for sharing this inspiring story, David.
Keep up the good work.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

thank you for taking the time to read this. I have spoken to a lot of patients and many of them choo.. read more



Reviews

I also really enjoyed reading this for its originality. I work at a hospital as well and it is very interesting at times to hear different stories about patient experience from the patients themselves. I think that you truly encompassed the way that a lot of people feel when they initially go for treatments like chemo; scared, angry, blaming themselves, blaming others. *claps* well done, well done! (:

Posted 7 Months Ago


The panic and grudge ooze from the lines. The account is so real and accurate - the others can never know what it actually feels because they have never gone through it. The "calming" words are in fact cruel to the patients sometimes.

The line l like is "it is not their fault" - few can understand it. The medical staff faces a dilemma - saving them would cause them so much pain that they would rather die, but it is their responsibility to save lives on the other hand. It is hard for patients under severe pain to say "it is not their fault". This is an inspiring piece. Thanks David!

Posted 8 Months Ago


I loved this piece a lot for its originality, this is how a patient actually feels. It is easy to say everything is ok. It is easy trying to uplift the patients by some motivating words but reality is different and hard. I heard that it is very painful to go through that chemotherapy sessions, some feel dying is a better option than the therapy. Sickness makes people weak not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. You captured their feelings very nicely and accurately. This write kept me engrossed till the end, that's a sign of a good writing. Very nicely expressed.
Thanks for sharing this inspiring story, David.
Keep up the good work.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

thank you for taking the time to read this. I have spoken to a lot of patients and many of them choo.. read more
This is good, strong writing. A small nit here..."My heart pump(ed) viciously".
Though my long time battle is with heart disease, I related to the narrator's thoughts, even to feeling a bit nauseous.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

Again thank you for taking the time to read this. I am glad the narrators emotion could come through.. read more
i know just enough to be scared is a very strong line. for me it was what set the tone. I think you do a good job presenting the mechanical aspects and the personal as well. One flaw, if i were to be picky , i think you can dive deeper into emotional specifics, personal intricacy of an individual, it might seem a bit assembly line. just a bit though. You cracked the surface, i think you have experience in this enough to go darker and deeper ( if you want). You are pure and concise with your writing. It could breathe more. Good.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

thanks for taking the time to read and review. I might expand on this in the future. I wrote it qui.. read more
Wow. This piece is so great in so many ways. Every sentence and paragraph seemed so personnel and vivid. You must really feel for your patients and have a good idea of all the pains their going through, all while having the thought of death everyday of their lives. Every patient must be thinking this during their treatments. It's amazing how descriptive you could be with this piece while not actually enduring the pain yourself, that takes a lot of talent. This was a lovely but sad story with a message everyone should take into consideration.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

thank you for taking the time to read this and I very much appreciate your comment. over the years I.. read more
I like this. I like in the end "I am too old to be pitied, but, I am too young to die. I am too young to die." This is strong and the reiteration serves the point well I think.

I like "I need to stop, its not their fault."

"It is not their fault, It is mine" may serve well at the beginning and at the end as the piece runs a gamut of who's to blame.

I would say you could rearrange some of the sentences too, but that might take away some of the grittiness and messiness of emotions in the piece. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

thank you for taking the time to read and review. I appreciate it. I am going to look at this again .. read more
Matt

9 Months Ago

No problem. You're "It is not their fault, It is mine" can say he is blaming himself as well as blam.. read more
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ZJC
First off, the realness of this piece is extremely powerful. The story is unique, as is the perspective of how someone reacts to those around them that are only trying to help.

I did appreciate how the narrator how to remind themselves at the end of each paragraph that it was not the nurses or doctors fault. It gives a real sense of just how much pain the narrator is going through and the hopelessness of their situation.

The ending struck me, with the phrase 'I am too old to be pitied, but, I am too young to die.' Great use of words there.

I would suggest looking at this story again after a few days to have 'fresh eyes' on it. For example, at the beginning of the story 'my heart pump viciously' perhaps should have 'pumps' to make it flow better? I find to put a story or chapter away and then to look at it days or weeks later helps me with editing and making the story sound much, much better and clearer.

Overall, powerful story and message...

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

thank you for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. I will also follow your suggestions.. read more
I have noticed a recurring pattern in your last 2 pieces about the narrator asking themselves a lot of questions. This is an extremely powerful tool, but too many questions and it starts giving off a vibe of "does this character think for themselves at all, or do they want us to do that?"

Before anything else, I do want to say I enjoyed the story; it was unique, and definitely something I as a writer would not have been able to pull off. It speaks 100% as you writing it, which is the main thing I enjoyed about it. With using questions as a tool, though, it is best to give a sense of "okay, this is what I know to be true. but what about this? Analysis. I digress, moving on with my life/death." It's more flowing for the reader to not just get stuck on "okay, I get it, you're asking questions to engage me, what now?"

Again, very powerful message and well done overall. Just a few changes here and there and it's pushed passed to even better.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

Thank you for taking the time to read and analyze. I really appreciate your constructive criticism a.. read more
Philip Smith

9 Months Ago

No problem man. I can tell you put a lot of passion into these stories, so I'm more than willing to .. read more
Really good read man, I get the feeling it was written more or less in one sitting? I don't mean it in a bad way, it is raw and flowing. I was right there in the hospital with you.

Posted 9 Months Ago


David R Gonzalez

9 Months Ago

I actually did write this on one sitting. I was at work in between patients. So you were definitely.. read more

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377 Views
14 Reviews
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Added on February 14, 2017
Last Updated on February 15, 2017
Tags: Cancer, chemo, death, desperation, sadness

Author

David R Gonzalez
David R Gonzalez

Gainesville, FL



About
I am an amateur writer who has always had a dream to publish a novel. Having recently graduated with my doctorate has given me some free time to pursue this as a hobby. I am using this website to get .. more..

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