The Road From Scanville
No, please! Don't die of shock! Sometimes that really does happen.
Anyway. I was sitting there in the waiting room, dreading the hideous drink and struggling to peel the lid off the bottle, when a vaguely familiar woman in an orange t-shirt walked up to me. I recognized it as the very same orange t-shirt that was handed out to cancer survivors at the fundraising games a couple of weeks ago. "So what happened to your purple hair, girl?" she demanded. She took the nasty ass drink bottle out of my hand and opened it for me. "Let me go get you a straw," she said. "It's easier to get that evil shit down with a straw."
A minute later she returned with my drink and a straw, and then she stood in the middle of the waiting room, cupped her hands around her mouth, and loudly announced that she needed all cancer survivors to gather round pronto. Five total strangers stood up and formed a protective circle around me: they cheered, and made me laugh, and talked me through the ordeal until I'd managed to gag the very last drop of the nasty ass stuff all the way down. And keep it down. At which point the entire waiting room erupted in relieved applause.
Somehow the trains seem to run on time in the radiology department, and a record breaking two minutes later I was called into the back. While a nurse was sticking the IV in my arm, my old friend Dr. G, the head of the radiology department, popped into the tiny needle room to say hello. He performed two procedures on me last year: a needle biopsy in my chest, and an emergency guide wire removal from my groin. I'm a little concerned about why, out of the eighty-eight gabazillion million patients he must see in a year, he still manages to remember me so damn well. I especially worry because I was under twilight anesthesia for both of his procedures, so Sweet Baby Roomba only knows what the hell I said to him. He is an extremely attractive man.
So today he bopped in and told me I looked really good. I said thanks, but I only hoped I look good on the inside. "You will," he said confidently. "Except your spine will still be horribly twisted." Shit. Now HOW does he remember an irrelevant detail like scoliosis? This is the department big shot, the head honcho, so he certainly doesn't take the routine scans himself, or even read them. Should I be flattered or horrified that the memory of my deformity has stuck with him for over a year?
And then he said: "Look, that's Frida Kahlo on your shirt!" Well so it was. I confessed that I'm a bit of a Frida buff, and he told me he's from Mexico City and a big fan of Frida and Diego himself. And next thing you knew we were off, talking a mile a minute about Mexican painters. At one point he asked me if I'd ever been to the Blue House, and the oddest thing happened: I could feel my lips moving, and then I heard what sounded like my own strangely detached voice saying, "Not yet. But if these scans come back clean, I'm planning a pilgrimage there in the fall." WHOA. I am? Huhn. Funny, because just last night I was worrying about whether I would starve to death or freeze to death first come winter, given my dire financial situation. "You know, cancer kind of kicks you into acting on all those dreams you've been putting off," I heard the voice that sounded a lot like mine say.
"Good," he said, beaming the most dazzling smile straight into my heart. "Before you go, let me know and I'll give you a list of murals you should see." Not if I go. He didn't say "if." What a dear sweet wonderful man.
I don't have an oncology appointment yet to hear the results of the scans, but it should be within a week. I may have to drive back down there tomorrow and ask the chemo nurses to check the computer, because the oncology clinic has been really bad about not mailing me the notices on time. And I can't really get on with my life until I know the results. Everything's on hold, in a weird kind of limbo. I've been putting off stuff like signing up for classes, planning trips, falling in love, and so forth until I have some kind of indication of what the next six months will bring.
I hope and pray that Dr. G is right. I'm SO ready to get moving with rebuilding this life. And his list of Mexican murals just might be the best possible thing to look forward to.