Thursday, January 12, 2006

Smell Them Roses

This morning I ventured off to my local hospital for my semiannual oncology pre-visit testing. Technicians x-ray my lungs and draw six vials of blood from my left arm. For whatever reason the the blood draw chair is usually set up for right arm donation and I have ask them to switch the setting to the left. They look at me like I am Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, high maintenance. Then I explain that I am down a few lymph nodes on the right side and have been told left side blood donations only. Aah, they look at my with a little more sympathy er...patience. Then inevitably someone during the course of the visit says "But you look so young." Yes, young(ish) people get cancer too. I am in turn amazed that they are taken off guard, they do work in a hospital.

I used to get very scared/neurotic at these little semi-annual hospital sessions. I would wonder if this time I would get to keep my life the way it is...remission, happy little kid, husband who is able to focus on work and not caring for sick wife. With each passing year the stress of these testing visits gets easier to bear. I admit it is a test of nerve strength as I don't get immediate results, I have to wait a week or two when I see my oncologist.

While navigating the newly painted green walls of the hospital I started to get that tempting fate feeling again. "I'm so close to seeing that new baby, please keep me on course.", I say in my head to whoever out there is listening. "You know that little Ava needs a healthy Momma.", I say almost defiantly again to the God that rests in my head. "I know I shouldn't eat chicken nuggets, I know she shouldn't eat chicken nuggets, I know I probably shouldn't drink wine, I should be buying more organic, I should have continued therapy." I go on and on. That's the bad part of spending the morning at the hospital with only your one to talk you down.

I feel the stick in my arm and watch the blood flow up. How do they make that blood flow up, doesn't that defy gravity or something? The technician skillfully finishes and tells me to have a super day. I smile slowly and pick up my new Mao book as I head for the door.

I step outside to an amazingly glorious sunny day. The hospital shuttle makes a special stop to ask if I want a ride back to my car. I peek inside the shuttle, it is filled with old people who might ask me what I am doing riding the emergency room shuttle. I'm not in the mood for chatting and comparing war stories. I tell the driver it is nice out and I think that I will walk.

On my walk back I vow to make my afternoon filled with fun. Enjoy the day. Live more in the moment. Try not to worry about things I don't have control over. I suppose this is part of what the whole cancer thing taught me to begin with.

I pick Ava and her little best friend (LBF) up from preschool. She is staying with us for a few days while her parents are on vacation. I ask if they want to play in the backyard since the weather is so nice. Four your old shrieks of "Yea, Yea" unfold.

So that is what we did. They played and I watched through the camera lens. Having fun, just like I promised.


Johnny said...

Very nice. Thanks for the reminder and the perspective of what "the roses" in life is about.

(I'm a guy, so I'm not going to get all teary eyed or anything. Ahem!)

Sparky said...

I'm a girl so I can admit to being a bit teary eyed. Beautiful day, beautiful children, beautiful post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You are thoughtful and insightful.
Take care of yourself and your beautiful daughter.

Colleen said...

Perrin - it's funny. The further out you get (I've almost hit that glorious 5 year marker) the more days you have that you forget those fabulous life lessons you learned while you were sick. Thanks for the reminder.

Beautiful children, beautiful photos.

M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

Awesome post Perrin! I don't know why it's so easy to forget that "smell the roses" lesson. When you're in the middle of a crisis or sickness you vow to do it forever. And then things gradually drift back to "normal."

Thank you so much for the reminder!!! Have an awesome day.