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Feeling humiliated trying to find an escort (a rant/vent)

salamandra
salamandra Member Posts: 723
edited March 2022 in Singles With Breast Cancer

I have a procedure (related to potential side effects of the hormone treatment) that requires sedation.

I have had to ask multiple people to be my escort and none of them have been able to come. I honestly feel humiliated.

I ended up asking someone I don't know all that well, who I just happened to see the week before, and who lives nearby, and she is going to come for me. If she'd said no, I think I would have been crushed. And might have needed to reschedule the procedure. Again.

I hate this!

I am thinking that if a doctor thinks we need a procedure that requires an escort after, insurance should damn well cover the costs of someone to meet us and accompany us home.

One of my closest friends, whom I'd normally ask first, is recovering (very well and fast, thank goodness) from a stroke. I am watching her treatment and what a key role her husband is playing, and especially will play once she is able to go home but still needs help, and I can't help but think how much worse of a nightmare it would all be for someone like me, without a spouse.

I hate this all so much!

90% of the time I am honestly content to be single, and maybe 9% of the time I am wistful but content. 99% of the time I absolutely feel like I can manage my own life just fine as a single person. But g*d damn it!

I also feel limited in who I can ask, because how can I ask a friend who has kids and is so much busier than I am anyway, and lugging kids around adds a whole other level (we live in a city and most of us don't have cars), and I don't love asking someone who would never ask me because they themselves have a spouse.

I *love* where I live. I just recently started working at a new school that is better than I possibly could have imagined. My life is generally sustainable and workable. But this incident alone has me spinning thinking about moving to the city where my siblings live. I love and miss them too, but I hate this feeling.

Ugh. Anyway, I am posting this here to express feelings and hoping to connect with others for some emotional processing and solidarity.

(I'm not angry at my friends, really. The ones who have said no are all out of town, or have prior commitments. I'm glad that my other single friends are out there living their lives and doing cool stuff. I just feel so sad).


Comments

  • nancyd
    nancyd Member Posts: 556
    edited March 2022

    I'm a lot older, but I've been divorced for over 25 years. I went through my breast cancer treatment while single with two children. I was fortunate to have family nearby who filled in many times—but not every time I needed someone to escort me. Lately, I haven't been able to call on them for some non-cancer tests that needed an escort. I prevailed on a neighbor and offered to reciprocate when/if she needs a ride. That worked out OK but I think I would have preferred a family member as the procedure was kind of personal.

    Going forward, I wonder what I will do when my family moves away or dies off. Or if I need regular care. I definitely can't count on them for that kind of help. So I understand where your thoughts have taken you. I've been thinking along the same lines. myself.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,641
    edited March 2022

    I understand as I have been single for almost 15 years after happily ending a 23 year marriage. I have been single throughout my whole bc experience. I do have adult daughters who have been very helpful (and their partners) but they also have young children, jobs, school etc. My memory is a bit fuzzy but I remember that the American Cancer Society did offer rides to cancer patients who needed transportation. Can you speak with the social worker at your tx facility to see if they can hook you up with transportation?

    Please don’t feel humiliated. You seem quite happy being single, as am I, but it does have its challenges sometimes. Take care

  • summerangel
    summerangel Member Posts: 182
    edited March 2022

    I've been single for a long time as well and can understand how you feel. Currently both of my adult daughters and their partners live with me, and while some people think I'm crazy to have four 20-somethings living with me, I find it comforting and fun. As I've gotten older I understand more why so many people, single or married, choose to live close to their adult children. In the past 7 weeks it's also really hit home for me as my dad got sick with Covid and died, leaving my mom alone after 57 years of marriage. I'm about 5 hours away, as is my sister (my other sister is even farther away and isn't helpful regardless of where she lives), and my mom has been having a lot of trouble navigating life alone. There are resources out there for single people, but things are so much easier when you have friends or family close by.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited March 2022

    Happily single, but I can relate. I was diagnosed and all of a sudden almost everyone disappeared from my life, especially family. My son was in college full time and working part time. Diagnosed right at the beginning of Covid made things more challenging. I've had to rely on him for those appointments/procedures that require someone to drop off/pick up, but other than that I've done for myself. I've become friends with a couple neighbors in the last year who have been very supportive and have offered time and time again to help, but they have children and sometimes people will say "if you need anything..." to be nice, I get it. However, one, who I've become close to, told me that she would not offer if she didn't mean it, so I'm so grateful for that, it's nice to have that confirmation.

    It's difficult sometimes for me to think of what the future holds; it's a bit scary in this aspect. I hope that once I'm at the end of this long road and once I'm ready and willing, that I do find a companion, but for now I'm good.

    Gentle hugs.

  • rockymountaingirl
    rockymountaingirl Member Posts: 48
    edited March 2022

    Another single here, with family far away and the usual assortment of friends with jobs, friends with kids, friends with jobs AND kids, etc. When it is just transportation that you need, I second the suggestion that you check to see if the American Cancer Society or another organization in your area can provide a ride. The problem is with those medical providers who want your escort to wait for you while the procedure is being done, and then take you home and stay with you for a while to make sure you're OK. They make me crazy. I think it is high time for the medical / insurance establishment to start treating this as a medical problem to be solved -- that is, if they sedate you or otherwise render you unable to drive or take care of yourself, then they should not consider that the medical "job" is done until you have been restored to a condition in which you can look after yourself. And if that means that sometimes you need someone to provide medical escort services to get you safely back home and make sure you are able to manage on your own, then your medical provider should help you to arrange that, and your insurance should pay for it. At least, that's the way it would be in my dream world. While we are waiting for that to happen -- it could be a long wait -- I suggest looking around to see if there is an agency or individual who could provide this service for a fee if, in a pinch, you can't find a family member or a friend who can do it. A home care agency maybe. I looked around when I started breast cancer treatment, and although my family and friends always came through for me, I felt a little better knowing that there was (paid) help available if I needed it. It's nice to know you've got backup!

  • sarahmaude
    sarahmaude Member Posts: 326
    edited March 2022

    Salamandra, I’m not even single, but I too have been frustrated with the need for an escort. In COVID times, I observed that escorts weren’t allowed in the facility, and that was not a bad thing. Having someone wait until you basically need a ride home isn’t of great value. For my husband’s and my recent routine colonoscopies, we were able to be dropped off, and in our case, we live close enough for our driver to go home for 2 hours or so; the doctor called the escort/driver with follow up notes, I got a print out of my results; about 20 minutes before discharge, a nurse called the driver, and they were was able to pick me up outside the facility when done.

    My son was able to be my chauffeur without even seeing me in a hospital gown. He got breakfast and got to do what he needed to to. Technically, an Uber driver could have done the same thing.

    I think that asking friends and family to give up hours where they are just waiting is an obsolete expectation. BC is crappy enough without having to burn favors and ask our supporters to use leave just to spend 90% of it waiting.

    If you need observation after the procedure, that’s another situation, but just escorting and driving should be much less of an ask



  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited March 2022

    In my healthcare system lots of procedures that used to be overnight are now done as day surgeries but not only does the person need to be picked up & driven home, they need to have someone who will stay with them overnight (& frequently they'll need drivers to & from a couple follow up appointments). I know that it can be a huge problem for some people... they either don't have anyone they feel comfortable doing that with or they literally just don't know anyone who is able to do it.

    It is definitely something to think about it terms of what might be needed for us and our families. You can pay for this service through private nursing agencies but then you have to have saved up for it....

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 723
    edited March 2022

    Thank you so much to everyone for the supportive words and solidarity! Intellectually I *know* it's something that is not mine to feel humiliated for, but I guess it picks at some old scabs and wounds that are never as fully healed as I hope, as well as new fears emerging as I get older and age-related challenges start to feel a little more real and imminent.

    The whole thing makes me angry enough that part of me wants to bring a sleeping bag and say, "fine, I'll just hang out here until the doctor releases me or the building custodians kick me out!"

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,641
    edited March 2022

    salamandra,

    So sorry that this has stirred up the past. In many ways, all cancer is metastatic in that it infects almost every area of ones life. Aging… an odd thing for me because at stage IV I am usually grateful just to be aging. I had hoped I would get a pass on aging symptoms since I already had an incurable cancer but no such luck 😉

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,934
    edited March 2022

    I've never had a driver's license. Back in my 20s, what I thought was going to be a simple exam on my knee turned into an excruciatingly painful procedure. I knew I couldn't take a bus home (and have to walk several blocks), so I called my sister for a ride. She was just a few miles away, but she bitched at me the whole time because she had her two kids with her and didn't like that I was infecting them with my x-rayed knee in her car. So when I had surgery, I called a cab (long before Uber existed) and also took one when I was discharged. When my husband has had Colonoscopies, he takes a taxi there and back, although I've been with him (non-covid years). I've never used it, but my Medicare Advantage plan covers 20 rides per year arranged through them for appointments; I'm not sure what restrictions it has on post-anesthesia situations.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited March 2022

    Salamandra wish I were close to you I would volunteer! I think you have struck upon a significant issue. With all the push to make procedures outpatient, there is a burden of care shifted to the patient to manage. I know our local chapter of the American Cancer society relies on volunteers to drive patients - the challenge occurs when that patient requires 24 hour observation after the procedure which used to happen when you spent the night at the hospital.

    Sorry you have to have the procedure - but your post here has inspired me to reach out and see if I can provide assistance locally to those who need it.

    I was at a Doctor's office yesterday and there was a lovely confused woman trying to get into the wrong office (which wasn't open). She had difficulty walking and needed care. So I determined which office she needed to get to and assisted her there. We all need a little help sometimes.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
    edited March 2022

    Salamandra, I think you've cut yourself off from two big sources of help! You mentioned not wanting to ask friends with kids and spouses, but there's no reason to avoid them. Someone with a spouse is actually a great idea because that means they have someone at home to hold down the fort while they help you. And someone with kids probably has babysitters available and might enjoy a break from the kids to help out a friend. Living in the same city as siblings or other relatives doesn't mean they'll be able to help when you need it. My siblings all have kids so there's no difference between asking them and asking a friend with kids!

    There's no reason a single person's support system should only include other single people. I think that's unrealistic. I'm also single and live alone and if I restricted myself to only asking other single childless people for help, I'd be stuck up a creek too. My married and/or parent friends and relatives are just as happy to help as anyone else. And I'm happy to help them out when they ask.

    Don't make assumptions, just ask them!

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 723
    edited March 2022

    So the procedure was today and my friend came and it was all fine. Best case scenario, it will help with the turning of a friendly acquaintanceship into an actual friendship.

    I know you are right about asking friends who are not necessarily single also. It's not just about them not having time (that seems more of a factor with kids), but also on some level... pride and reciprocity maybe? Like they would never ever ever call me for something like this, because they have their person. So I guess it is a combination of feeling like a third wheel and like it's rubbing my face in it. But now that I am thinking about and naming those things maybe I can move past them a bit.

    Rah, I love that it inspired you to help. I tried to do some googling for local services but everything I came up with (at least for people my age) was paid, starting at about $80 minimum - and that's without paying for the transportation, so literally just meeting me inside the doctor's office and, I guess, walking me to the subway station.

    exbrnxgrl, that's always relevant perspective on aging. I always resent it when my father complains about the pains of age, and especially jokes like 'aging isn't for wimps' or whatever, because I think about my mother's death at 53 - which doesn't seem so far from my current age at the moment. x

    Anyway, clearly I am carrying more baggage around all this than I had realized. But at least I got my new IUD and hopefully the biopsy and blood tests all come back clear!

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited March 2022

    Salamandra glad the procedure is completed and you have opened a new friendship. Best of luck on the test results Heart

  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 509
    edited March 2022

    Hi Salamandra,

    I agree with the poster who said dont discount married people. I am married, and I have asked different friends to accompany me to chemo, and I really enjoyed their support. Also, if a friend asked me to be her escort, I would feel honored, and I know I would do it, unless in extenuating circumstances myself, and my husband would be happy to hold the fort. I also have kids. When my kids were really little and I was traveling for work maybe we wouldnt have been able to do it. But these days, totally, any day.

    Asking an acquaintance is also a good idea, and a good way to turn the relationship into something deeper. Someone I used to work with asked me to babysit her kids once when I didnt have kids myself, and we had known each other for like a couple of weeks because I was new, and I happily did it and we became friends after that.

    (I really believe in helping each other out)

    LaughingGull

  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
    edited March 2022

    I was single my first nasty chemo and other stuff, and frankly I asked anyone to help me. I had no family here and had no partner or kids.

    The other things was to join my local aging in place org. They're usually called villages. I asked volunteers from there for help here and there.

    Finally, I'm married now but my husband is horrible at advocating for me, just his temperament. I hired a patient navigator to step in as needed. If I'm in dire straits, she'll intercede with doctors and nurses to get me what I need. An expense but I'm dipping into my 401k.