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Another excerpt from a works-in-progress: Today Cancer, Tomorrow The World

July 11, 2012

Here’s another section from the book I’m working on about my battle with The Big C:


When I get ready for my nephrostomy, this Irish nurse and this other guy are talking about lunch and staff gossip as she is wrapping rubber bands around my arm to get a vein to tap me. Amazing. Like I’m paperwork. Oddly, her indifference to my plight amused me more than offended me.

Soon I’m being transported to the operating room, I’m in a gurney and lying there like a baby in a crib and being pushed by this guy named AJ down the hospital hallway. And he has to weave around medical staff who are on cell phones and not moving. I said to him, “Boy, she didn’t do a thing to make that turn easier for you.” AJ shrugged and said, “Happens all the time. The worst are the doctors, sometimes they stand right in the middle of the hallway and won’t move. They just think they’re so important.” I said, “A friend of mine is a respiratory therapist, he said the more important the organ the bigger the asshole.” “That’s true,” said AJ. “Before a person becomes a doctor, I think they should have an IV in their arm and wheeled around in a gurney through every hallway in the hospital and then brought to their office. Maybe they have to see the world they look down upon to see why some people don’t look up to them.”


When I’m wheeled into the operating room, the staff is upbeat and friendly. One person cheerfully greets me with, “Welcome to our office!” They AWAKEN me. I start goofing on the procedure and them and we’re all laughing. They put a blood pressure wrap on my arm to monitor me, and I said to the nurse, “I’m like you, this is not the first time we’ve been squeezed by an inanimate object.” They crack up. Another nurse says how she walks around her house and vacuums with her iPod on. I said, “So you don’t hear the rats in your place.” A guy says, “She actually does have a rat in her apartment.” Then I say, “Which ex-husband is that?” They all crack up. She says, “I’m just unlucky in love.” And I say, “With that personality I’m not surprised.” They chuckle and say, “We want this guy back…it’s too bad we have to put him under, we want him to keep talking.”

After the procedure, I’m dazed and loopy from the meds, I feel more alive than ever. They give me fruit juices and it’s like being spoiled when you’rr a kid with a cold and you love the attention–no one is going to say no to anything you want. I thought back to when I was a kid and I had the mumps. My Mom and I left the doctor’s office and walk past a drug store, its display window included two plastic toy ships, and black freighter, and the USS Hope, a white ship. I’d always stare at them. They were both priced at $1.99. I was always looking for for my bathtub fleet. My mother must have noticed my interest in the ships. Later that day,  I was in bed with a fever, Dad came onto and brought me a present, but it was the freighter. I remember crying, “I wanted the USS Hope!” My Dad left and came back with the US Hope. I remember lying in the bed and being catered to, my mother checking on me, and everything relied on how I felt that day. When I started to get better, I didn’t want lose all the attention; after all, I wasn’t going to school, and outside of having to get up to go to the bathroom and missing out on TV. I wanted to prolong the drug of being healed. When people feel sorry for you it’s a great high, I think that’s why losers lean towards self-pity to trap people. And you know what? When I got over the mumps and put that US Hope boat in the bathtub, it capsized. My Dad forgave my selfishness. I imagine him near me again, a look of concern on his face, holding out a boat of hope.

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