I am sitting here at the Royal Victoria Hospital waiting for my appointment to have my blood-work done.
It is early. I am early. My mother-in-law volunteers here at RVH each Tuesday morning and begins her volunteer work at 8:00. So, it was easier to catch a ride with my husband, who drops her off on his way to work, rather than arrange to have my van (now almost in sole possession of my daughter).
The sunrise this morning was stunning. “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” so the old adage goes. I couldn’t help wonder if I were the sailor who needed to take warning? What will this brand new day bring? At the advice of several people from my chats on social media last night, I woke up and thanked God for this new and very beautiful day. It is certainly a gift to be able to wake up on the “right” side of the bed.
My husband and I went for our usual walk – and my pace was noticeably faster than normal. I was ready to face the day. I did not want to go for the walk but I did not want to miss it either. I don’t like going to bed early while there is a party go on either. I think I inherited this “nosey- Parker” kind of attitude from my Mom. She was always so tired at night but refused to go to bed for fear of missing out on something. I did NOT miss out on the walk. The moon was bright so the path through the woods was beautifully illuminated. I was so taken by the shadow of light and dark that I stopped and turned around several times to take in the dappled scenery. It was beautiful. What a gift that was. Something you would see only in movies. As a child, I would have been afraid – maybe spooked by the odd light patterns. As an adult, in my renaissance, I was mesmorized. We finished in good time and quickly got ready to head out the door for The Appointment.
“Your appointment is with Dr. Russell at 11:15, Stacey.” said the nurse over the phone. “You need to get blood-work done two hours before that.”
“Who is Dr. Russell?” I inquired. I get so confused with who is who and what is what as there are so many more doctors and appointments than I have ever had. My mom used to keep a medical journal to track all of my dad’s medical history. Perhaps it was her experience as a nurse that trained her to be so vigilant to record this sort of information. It was impressive and when I accompanied my dad (on multiple occasions) to the hospital I would bring this journal. The nurses were impressed that I knew all of his history and it helped get him service much more quickly as the answers to their questions were at my finger tips. I, on the other hand, have not done that yet. Seems there is some sort of pride in not having one. It think it is coming to that point, however, as I cannot keep track of the appointments I have had and the results they produced.
“Doctor Russell takes over for Dr. Dodge when he is not available.” the nurse reminded me. Of course. Crap. I have faith in Dr. Dodge and I do not know the other one. Unsettling it is to not have your own doctor when the illness and treatment is so “BIG”. What do you do? You have no options but to trust that you are in good hands. I am counting on prayers from supporters which plea to help the doctors be insightful and inspired.
“Oh, okay.” I responded.
And so here I sit – waiting – for my appointment. I chose a seat near the back of the main lobby to be close to the full wall window as though it provided a quick escape route for me should I choose to bolt. The sun has risen and the staff have begun to arrive. The floors are being cleaned. The coffee is being brewed. The electric baseboards are on to take the edge of the chill the morning air ushered in through the turn-about.
My first challenge was to decide whether I would wear a hat – or let it all hang out. Could I make my debut today? At least, I figured, I wouldn’t be the only baldish person in the Cancer Care Centre.
So – here I sit. Waiting for my appointment with my white un-tanned head screaming out, “here I am!” to passers-by. Is that a former student? Yes it is! I remember he told me his mom had cancer. Crap. He is waiting for his mom. He doesn’t know who I am. Why would he? He would think I was in school teaching. He would not be looking for a former bald teacher. He is charging his phone. He is not looking up. I should call him over. I don’t.
I sit her. Waiting for my appointment with my bald head within earshot of my former student.
The foyer fills. Technology is everywhere. Everyone is connected. People drift in with coffee in hand. I wonder what they are here for? Do they, like my student, have someone they love in crisis? Are they waiting for their own appointments? How many untold stories await to be told? Who are these people? I love watching them and guessing what rich lives they have lived.
I could go on and on. There is so much to see and so much to hear when I have time. I can live in the here and now. I have no need to predict the future or to live in the past. I am present. I am here. I have time…as I sit here waiting for my appointment.