I found the perfect life. Last week, woke up in a corner office, prime real estate, with a grand view across the city. My staff was top notch, some even had RN on their name tag, that means Real Nice. They checked on me, brought me stuff, and ordered meals from the kitchen whenever I wanted. (Recommend the country gravy with green beans and meatloaf.)
My feet barely touched the floor, when one of those Real Nice people would come running to help. They loved me, cared for me, clearly, I had found the perfect life. I put my few things into the dresser drawer and moved in.
It wasn’t but a few days after that. when I was just getting to know my way around, when this awful thing happened. They showed their true colors and kicked me out. Bye-bye beautiful corner office with a great view. Can you believe they wouldn’t even let me take the furniture?
They were in such a hurry for me to leave the place, they shoved wheels under me, insisting I be personally ushered out by this woman guard. I could tell who she really was because of this special ESP gift, my feet tingle whenever something is wrong. At that moment both feet were tingling so badly they were almost numb, so I knew for sure, she was a special agent, just like the TV show I saw last night. There was no other choice but to quietly comply.
Parading me through the corridors of shame, all of my meager possessions, including the toothpaste and the comb I stole from a package someone left in my room, reduced to a plastic bag and forced to carry on my lap. That undercover agent couldn’t stop smiling. How humiliating, but I knew underneath that perky little smile was really a smirk.
Kicked all the way to the curb, that smirky little agent refused to leave until I was in the car and the door was shut. I don’t even know how I’m ever going to regain my composure after all that I went through.
So glad to be home, but I sure miss my staff. Nobody even cares that I pooped in the potty this morning.
let the whole bean, breath sounds and gravy thing fade away into the ethers. But that was not to be
In the hospital for several days with chemo complications, lying in bed, safe from the germs that I had no defense for. I do recall combing my hair hours earlier when my face showed up in the mirror. A shower, however, hadn’t yet occurred to me.
“I need to check your breath sounds,” retrieving me from some faraway place of REM, was Lindsey, my nurse. “What’s this?” Lindsey seemed to be having a problem.
From my view I could see exactly the problem. It was leftovers from last night’s dinner. Reaching inside my shirt, I recovered a 4 inch long, gravy stained, green bean. “Would you mind throwing this away?” I asked Lindsey.
“Of course,” she said, like it was an everyday occurrence for patients to be stuffing their shirts with green beans. Another bag of I.V. antibiotics swinging above my head and I was already asleep.
I didn’t really care, until the next morning when all those foggy days solidified into clear memory. It would have been so much more comforting to hold onto a grit of dignity and call it a dream. Let the whole bean, breath sounds and gravy thing fade away into the ethers. But that was not to be.
I had hard, cold evidence just inches from my face. The lingering gravy was not to be ignored. I pushed the nurse button. “May I help you?” It was Lindsey.
Speaking into the little light on the TV channel changer, “I need to take a shower.”
Eighteen cracked and broken ribs seem so far in the past. Three years ago, picking up a full glass of water could break a rib. My garden filled with weeds, my tools untouched. Never dreaming quality of life could return like these past 2 years. Putting on a sweatshirt by myself, hauling buckets of rocks, its been nice.
But the wind has shifted. Cancer has woken up from sleep. The chemo that has worked so well, has no effect on the the newly discovered places. There are only so many kinds of chemo they can try. Now, there will be one less.
My head scarves out of storage, hang in my closet. By my birthday in mid Feb, my hair will be gone and the side effects will have revealed themselves. I could luck out as before with a mild experience or not. No one can say. So many questions.
When the time comes, I will be ready. I’m in the process now that will get me there. Grateful for the gift of another year.
It’s 5 pm in the hospital parking lot. On my lap is my CAT scan results, with words I sort of understand. What I am certain of, is that under the watchdog of scans and tests, cancer has been spreading in the lower abdomen.
I am living the first page of a new chapter in my life as a cancer patient. Each word on the paper creates its own world of possibilities that morph into a story. Soon there are 15 stories dangling above my head like helium balloons all bearing the title of What-if.
The mind thrashes out from in between the cracks of logic and reason scouting for relief. The fifteen crises balloons dangle for attention.
Could I postpone this freak out until the appointment in 6 days? Experts will launch a plan, the what-ifs give way until there is only one left.
The night begins to slip aside as dawn patiently waits. I search the You Tube icons like an alcoholic craving the next drink. “Go to bed. You need your sleep for tomorrow,” my reasonable self calls from the back seat of my awareness.
Maybe I just want to drag the night on. To hold onto the hours because tomorrow I find out if the cancer the scan picked up 6 days ago is the cancer that will put me down, the final one, the end game.
Maybe I don’t want to see the sun come up just so soon and here’s a 3 minute 17 second video of Alex the dog reunites with his military handler. I absorb the uncontainable joy radiating from Alex. My inside calms until the film ends and I am once again reunited with reality.
There’s An Orphaned Girl in Sweden that Tracks Down her Parents, its only 7 minutes and then I promise I’ll go to bed. But here’s Boy who Dies in Santa’s Arms, I have to see that one and at the end of the 5 minutes 27 seconds I realize I had watched it 3 months ago.
Now it’s 4:30 and I’m in self-destruct mode feeling like a child begging for another Popsicle. Click, 3 minutes 5 seconds the inner dispute continues. The adult takes the wheel and now the child is in the backseat sulking in defeat.
What am I looking for? Whatever it is, I am left thirsty. Angry at those scientists that put chemicals in the Pringles to stimulate the wanting for more. [That has something to do with you tube videos in my ADD mind.]
Whatever it is, I’m looking to fill something real from a fake world. Lusting for that fresh bite from that shiny Granny Smith apple nesting in that plastic bowl of plastic fruit.
I don’t know exactly what will fill my cup tonight, calm the child or restore the pathway of reason, but writing about it makes it more real. My attention is called away by my cat pawing at the door telling me her brother has been left out all night. Okay I can do that. I let him in. He meows at me, but in a kind way.