I March Forward…

March 31st, 2013

All it takes is one step in that hospital to trigger memories of my past. Looking at the small coffee shop to my left I can’t help but think of the countless times I stopped to get a snack from there while waiting in between tests. As I look to the right, the sight of the courtesy public phone brings me back to the days I used that line to call my brother (who works in the hospital), to let him know I was in the building. I march forward; all the while remembering this. I make my way passed the blood clinic knowing that I will be returning there momentarily after I check in on the oncology floor. I take the stairs to get to the 7th floor with my appointment papers and medical card in hand. I take a deep breath and open the door that leads to the oncology wing. I pass by the patients and families waiting in the hallway to be seen by their oncologist. As I pass them, I always get the feeling from their glance that they are wondering if I am a patient, family or staff member of the hospital. Without fail, I look around and notice that I am the youngest one there.

I make my way to the admission booth and am greeted nicely by the staff. The same lady that sits in the front asks me how I am doing as she takes my card and gets my file ready for my oncologist. I tell her that I am doing well. I don’t say much after that. There is a feeling of being restrained that overcomes me whenever I am standing at the booth because right next to it is the waiting room where patients are called to receive their chemotherapy treatments. Where I too have waited to receive my treatments. From the corner of my eye I can’t help but notice that as always, every chair is occupied. It saddens me, but I know there is nothing anyone can do. I glance at the faces sitting. I pray that they have courage and strength to win their battle. I have a sense of guilt that rushes over me. I feel guilty that today I stand on the outside looking in. Today I am standing at the admission booth but it is not to receive treatments, it is for a general follow up as I am blessed with better health. I know I should not feel guilty for this but I can’t shake the feeling. If only the patients sitting down could be in my place as well. It’s as if I see a building going up in flames right before my eyes. I want to rescue each and every one of those victims from that fire but I know I cannot do anything because ultimately those flames may just save their lives.

I look at the patients sitting in the waiting room and I know what they are feeling. The stiffness of those chairs was unsettling. The smell of the room was somewhat nauseating. There was an unspoken fear that resided in that room amongst patients and families. One look into the patients’ eyes and you could understand what they felt. I remember when I was waiting to receive treatments, I would not say much to the patients sitting around me. I took comfort in the silence. I felt reassured in the compassionate glances that were exchanged by one another. I remember that it was quickly interrupted by the dreadful intercom that announced the next patient to get up and make their way to the treatment room. How I wished at times that I never heard my name being called. That it was a mistake and it was someone else being called; only to delay my treatment a couple of more minutes. But that never happened. Once my name was called I would look to the right and tell my mom and brother that it’s “our turn”. I used the word “our” because although it was me receiving treatments, I know the battle was not mine alone. My family was there with me every step of the way. For the next 4 and half hours I would receive treatments. Or as I called it “cocktail hour”.

I am brought back into reality as I hear another patients’ name being called on the intercom. The lady at the admission booth hands me back my cards and tells me to go downstairs to the blood clinic. I know the drill all too well and have to go give blood before I can be seen by my oncologist. I take one more glance at the patients and their families sitting in the waiting room. I am sending them positive vibes and prayers. I march forward; all the while remembering this.

canCertainly live life!

One Response to “I March Forward…”

  1. janice fender says:

    I am so happy to hear you are still in remission my friend. I Love hearing your blogs about the journey because I have dealt with cancer in my family and can relate to what you write about. My husband has been cancer free for over ten years. May god continue to bless you. sincerely, janice fender

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