This morning dawned drizzly and dreary and seemed to match my mood. Bri and I had to be over the mountain at the hospital by 8:00 and y’all know what a morning person he is, so you can imagine how thrilled he was when the alarm woke us this morning. I have been suffering from a cold and spent the night coughing rather than sleeping, so I curled up in our heated seats and listened to the droning of NPR for an hour while we drove through fog so thick you could only see 2 feet in front of you. Although I am prone to exaggeration, that is not one. I actually heard them say it on the radio.
Halfway through the drive, I sat up and told Bri how awful all this stuff is. This cancer in our life. This screening and scanning and wondering and waiting. I was feeling pretty miserable and enjoying my pity party. Then we talked about living in the moment and how horrible it would be if all we focused on was the hard parts. The pain and disease and death and dying and what if’s? It is good to not have to go through this alone. Even if it’s riding in a car with a quiet man who doesn’t talk much in the mornings. It was good to just have his presence. And it is good to just have God’s presence, too.
Bri’s coffee must have helped perk him up, because he started talking once we got through the
pea soup fog. And you know what we talked about? Politics. Oil prices. NAFTA. China. Free trade with Columbia. Stuff that on a normal morning would blow my mind, much less on a morning when my brain hasn’t started working yet. I am so glad I married a brilliant man who can explain things to me. I am so glad he is patient and willing to help me understand. I guess he has to. Civics and economics make my head explode, and I’m sure that’s not something he wants to have happen in his car.
Once we topped the mountain, the sun started peaking through, and I started looking around. The dogwoods were breathtaking. The spring green of new buds on trees surrounded us. Old-fashioned, civil war era homes stood strong and proud with their lush lawns. I breathed it in and thanked God for this day. Another day to live. Even if it included scans and questions and fears, it was still a gift from Him.
Arriving at the hospital registration center, I wrote down my life story. Then we were led back to an office and plied with more questions. As I answered, my eyes were drawn to an 8-x11-inch sized paper tacked to the registrar’s wall. It read, “Don’t forget to send MRI patients to the lab first for bloodwork and IV’s” or something like that. All I saw was MRI and IV. It was then I became like an insane animal, nostrils flaring, eyes wide and rolling, erratic breathing. Nobody told me anything about IV’s, and my last experience with them was not pleasant. In case you’ve forgotten, it included 5 hours of them trying to find a vein. (In case you were wondering, my port-a-cath can’t be used for contrast imaging dyes used in scans.) I maintained my composure until we hit the elevator and then I clung to Brian, my strength, yet again.
After making our way through the labyrinth of hallways, we found the MRI waiting area, watched something inane on television and waited. They called me back, and the IV nightmare began. After 3 tries of shoving the needle in further and deeper while my veins rolled underneath, a blown vein, and me almost passing out twice, she finally succeeded in impaling me and sent me on to the imaging room. The worst was over, and all I had left was to lie unmoving in a large metal tube with my earplugs in because those machines are LOUD. Banging and clanging and ringing in my ears. What? What was that? Did you say something? I can’t HEAR YOU.
As I lay on the table, it was a great time to breathe and pray and thank God for getting me through yet another scan and ask Him that it would be clear. A time to lift up my friends who are going through their own trials… it can be overwhelming to think about them all, but it is never overwhelming to pray for them and place them in the most capable hands in the universe. So, if you’re one of the ones struggling, remember… He loves you and so do I.
(I should find out the results some time this week, and my doctor told me that he would call me as soon as he knew something so I wasn’t to worry. He’s such a good doctor. I’ll let y’all know what I hear.)
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