My Life With Cancer, Sure Is Gloomy In Here (Part 10)
Before you go into the big room and get nuked, they take you through a simulation. Guess they want to find out if you’re gonna’ freak when left in a big room strapped to a table. You really get the feeling of how Frankenstein’s Monster felt. But before you even get that far you get introduced to the special treatment waiting room and this place was a shining beacon of optimism….NOT.
When I walked into the Cancer treatment waiting room, I walked into the gloomiest mood sucker ever. There were 7 people all paired up, well number 8 showed up a few minutes later in one of those backless gowns. Everybody was all huddled up in pairs and you could have heard a silent but deadly before it hit your nose. Yes that quiet. The lights were dim and it felt like death was holding a card party. I couldn’t stand it.
I had brought Krispy Kreme donuts, even though the place was loaded with snacks, so I’m pretty sure the people there thought I was a delivery person, until I went into the changing room and came back out with….The Backless Gown. Yes I was one of them, but I was alone and that seemed to be a problem. So I flipped on the bright lights, sat down next to one couple and asked, “so what you in for.” I was ready for about anything except a real answer.
His name was George and it was his first day for actual radiation. I told him what I had, he asked if I was doing Chemo, when I told him no, he said “that’s brave.” I told him it was my choice and he agreed. That conversation opened up the whole room. Suddenly people who were huddled up scared, realized we were all in this together. Some, more severe than others, but still we were a fraternity and sorority, so we were a saternity (spell check is having a hard time with that). Either way the room changed from a place where Death was waiting to a place where Hope lived.
That room changed that day, people started coming early and staying after their appointments to see each other and just talk. Some folks became more than just waiting room acquaintances and there even was one romance, I don’t know how far it went, but they weren’t real young. I loved the looks on the radiation tech’s faces when they would call someone in for their appointment and get told “hold on a minute, we have to finish something.”
I passed the torch of keeping the room alive to George before I left. George still had a month of treatments left, even though he started the same day I did. I told him to pass it along and make sure to have that person pass it along. I don’t know what happened to George, but the change in the room that first day gave everyone a boost. At some point this year I’m going to be returning to that room, not out of choice, so it will be interesting to see if it’s still alive.
Up Next (No Really It’s Safe)