This blog is a collection of stories on the ordinary days of today and a documentary of the days of the past. Thank-you for reading and allowing me to share. Enjoy your ordinary days and hopefully the bits and pieces of mine will resonate with the moments in your lives that bring you happiness.
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May 23, 2013: Chemotherapy Lounge
“I don't understand this, I only turned my back for a few seconds.
All our money was in there.”
“Up next: Daydreaming about sex and why its good for you.”
The televisions talk for us,
fill the endless spaces.
There is no understanding
only tacit treatment of cancer patients
who are all alike.
Lined up in recliner chairs,
at times almost fifty of us.
“Welcome back. We’re talking about how to have house guests and enjoy them.”
“What makes your adrenaline rush? What makes it pump?”
The faintly metallic odor of noxious drugs,
the sour-sweet overlay of vomit permeates everything,
even the carpet.
Trapped in our seats,
plugged to poles we sit for hours.
Poisoning takes time.
“It was to be a yearly lease but I let him have it month to month.
Then he wanted me to pay for the utilities.
I said, ‘Do you want me to fix your breakfast, too?’”
“Let's get together for dinner and finalize the details about the wedding.”
“Sorry, Roxanne, not tonight.”
“But darling, why?”
The nurse has on a felt pumpkin hat for Halloween.
She sits heavily on a stool by my side,
drops ten or so filled syringes in her lap.
All of this will go into my body.
“So, how've you been?” she asks without looking at me.
I feign sleep, try to shut out noise and small talk.
Neither one of us is really here.
Magenta Adriamycin crawls up the tubing to the port
just above my bra.
“Tanya, welcome to our show. Tell us why things haven't been going so well
between you and Roger.”
“Storms will fire up north, expect some wind damage,
it’ll juice up down south with heavy rain.”
The taste of the drug hits me
as it disappears down the port in my chest.
My tongue itches.
I whisper, “I'm so sick.”
A reflex pat on the arm,
an emesis basin and towel in reply.
“Now your clothes can smell like you just hung them out to dry in the sunshine.”
“When are you going to tell him the baby isn't his?”
What I need is a large breasted woman—
pale, yellow house dress
worn, blue plaid apron.
I catch the scent of Vel soap
as she enfolds me on her old porch glider.
Bridal wreath in full bloom shades us
as we rock back and forth.
She rubs my back with a depth of compassion I can collapse in,
never bottom out
while she softly repeats,
“What a terrible thing to happen to you, honey.
What a terrible thing.”
AmyHaddad Haddad, A. (2004). Chemotherapy lounge (poem). The Journal of General Internal Medicine, 19 (June), 715-716.
In Dr. Seuss' language, my thoughts on the day would go something like this...
"You have a brain in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Unless someone truly cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
Well, I will just sum it up by saying that today certainly wasn't an ordinary day, but I will accept that. Life is full of changes, good and bad.
Sometimes the toughest part is figuring out if life shake-ups are truly a good or a bad thing. Personally, I have found my biggest life challenges have turned into opportunities. Doors opened to new people and adventures. A new chapter in life.
I am bullish in my view that this will be the case once again.
When the unexpected creeps into the door of normalcy, the best response is not one of self-doubt, anger, or fear. The best response is gaining perspective and self-awareness.
Time flies when you're having fun.
And when you're a little busy.
This morning Garrett asked me when I last wrote a blog.
"It's been a while" was my answer. Upon further review, it's almost been over a month.
I've had no reason for the delay, other than the combination of being busy and knowing the content of which I wanted to write warranted more time and thought than my more typical whimsical stories told. Although I have had an arsenal of stories that I have wanted to write about over the last month, I knew that this one needed to top my list.
A common question asked of me is in regards to my work life is "Sandy, what exactly are you doing these days?"
This is a valid question since I have been very open in sharing my work journey over the years through my blog. And I've had a career that has gone from very conventional to unconventional. It's much easier to say "I work for XYZ Company and my job title is Chief Do-Something-Spec…
A picture is worth a thousand words. But let's start with six...
"And they lived happily ever after..."
I bought this little sign more than seven years ago. It caught my eye at Target while shopping for milk and kitty litter on a weekday school night. The boys were in varying grades in school and I was single-handedly running my daily household.
Recently divorced, I was also dating a man from Denver. Garrett. Our relationship felt like forever, but the 550 miles between our homes was a stark reminder that our long-distance relationship was more like a fairytale than reality. We were reminded of this frequently by the people who knew us best.
"Guard your heart. Long distance relationships rarely work out."
"You are both good people, so be realistic in where this is going."
But the funny thing about love is that no matter how practical-minded or mature your mindset, your heart guides you to places that are scary to others, but quite comfortable for you…