Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Flying Forks, Momentarily Dodged

I am sitting right now in the office of a cancer practice alone and I am about to shit a brick. Good thing I brought something to type on. I pound a virtual keyboard with great force.

Now I am in an exam room. I am thinking about forks, the kinds that are in roads, the roads that are metaphorical.

Th Kleenex box is within reach. This has the opposite of its [presumed] intended effect. The room is crammed with vomit- inducing upholstery in a sickly purple. The speckled tile alternate lavender and aqua. There's nothing worse than pastels when they get dingy.  Even the baseboard is eggplant and plastic.

Right now it's 50/50. I walk out okay or I don't, ultimately.  I know that all too well now.

I am here for something presumed to be benign. Four years ago, almost to the day, I went to the antenatal testing center for something we presumed to be benign also. I walked out of there a different person. So, right now, my face is burning and my hands are freezin


The hematologist/oncologist walked in as I pounded that last 'n' and we chit-chatted about myriad topics. Strange that in the course of 5 minutes we discussed technology, finance and the most private and profound losses I have experienced. For him, just another day at the office. For me, my heart ripped open, but my face blank and clinical. The grief and panic brain, which are one and the same, wanted so desperately to yell profanities. Still, chatting casually was better than waiting in that room alone.

I have an active fear of cancer. The absence of (much) family history or known risk factors does not assuage my fears. Something about its seeming ubiquity, the sheer numbers, has convinced me that someone close to me will soon be drafted. And perhaps, now that I know better than to believe in balance, I no longer think that I am off the hook, that I have paid my dues in suffering to the coffers of human existence. Quite the contrary, actually. I have seen loss beget loss and so I am attentive to its possibilities, wanting, above all, not to be surprised.

But this time, and for the moment, what was presumed to be benign seemingly still is. Which makes me wonder; do dues collectors charge interest?


  1. Oh, Audrey, total nailbiter there. So grateful that everything is benign, and that the flying forks didn't land tine down in your heart. That is what I thought when I read your title--who got a fork in the chest? Oh, wait, all of us. Anyway, glad you dodged this fork, and are also okay with this little fork in the road. xo

  2. So relieved to hear that the dues collectors have passed you by...this time...for now. Wishing you and your children and all of your loved ones years and years of perfect health.

    And if you do get bad news again someday, I hope the decor is better in the doctor's office.

  3. I'm so glad that your presumed-benign-something has decided to remain that way. And long may it stay that way.

    Strange, I can still remember some of the NICU decor. I suppose that there isn't much else to do in hospital waiting rooms apart from notice the (generally horrible) colour schemes.