There is a bookcase in the room. It has informative books on cancer treatments and ‘beauty after chemo.’ Wigs and such. On top of the bookcase are porcelain figurines of angels. All sorts of angels. There’s even a snow globe of an angel. When you shake it there are stars. Except for a bit of pastel blue here and there, all the angels are white and women. In light of hurricanes—until recently—being named after women, it occurs to me that women tend to be perceived as either really, really good, or really, really bad. How odd. Above the bookcase a small quilt hangs on the wall with a white angel on a blue background.
There are a few Bibles tucked into the shelves. Whew. I think about tucking a few tracts here and there – yes, tracts. I became a Christian because of one. The good ones are awesome.
I’m not getting chemo and I’m holy thankful. I look at the people in the comfortable chairs with footrests that pop out and IV drips. A few of them have family or friends with them. I feel guilty again that I won’t lose my hair.
I’m a bit of a guinea pig. My hormones need to be shut down pronto, but because of medication I’m already on, if I have the usual hormone blockers I could die of a heart attack, so, well. The oncologist decided the best way forward would be shots of some sort and a pill every day.
A nurse heads over to me holding a syringe up in front of her with a strange look on her face. She taps it a few times. “We’re having a problem with your medication,” she says. I feel like a passenger on an airplane and a flight attendant has come out of the flight deck with a concerned look and said, “We’re having some trouble with our right engine.”
I need to come back tomorrow, after they get a new batch.
I head over to Dr. ______’s office. Good old Dr. ______. Always a crowded waiting room, but a great place to people watch. Usually I like them and often I pray for them, but today a woman next to me pulls out her smart phone and starts playing some Youtube short over and over again, loud. It’s some sort of workout pop song music video and she laughs and then plays it again. I want to punch her in the face.
I’m scared about tomorrow and the shot. I’m afraid it will knock me into a depression. I’m terrified, actually. I’ve “researched,” if you can call surfing the World Wide Web for alternative treatments for depression research, other possibilities. There’s always ECT, which usually works. They put you out now, so you don’t have to lie on a cot with a cork between your teeth as they hit a lever, sending I don’t know how many volts through your brain and extremities so your body jolts up involuntarily. Whups, too many movies. Time to reign in the imagination.
There is a baby sitting on a woman’s lap. The baby, having recently learned the art of waving, waves at a bald old man with dark splotches covering his scalp. The old man smiles and puts his wrinkled hands over his eyes and plays peek-a-boo with the baby. The baby laughs and laughs.
This morning I got a text from a friend who works with breast cancer patients that said she hasn’t found depression to be a concern with women taking the medication I’ll be on. Thank you God. Working on it. Thanks for lots of stuff. The guy across from me with the wrinkled hands playing peek-a-boo with the baby, our amazing kids, my friends, fall, Rick, parents who care about me, our dog, my son’s dog, dogs in general. Even cats I guess. Okay, thanks for cats too.
The woman with the smart phone is talking with her elderly mother who sits next to her. She smiles and her mother smiles back. I no longer want to punch her in the face.