The Middle, The Fear, The Broth
The Middle, The Fear, The Broth.
The wondrous thing about hospitals is how bloody tricky they are to navigate. It seems that whomever decides the architectural design of a hospital, also has a deep seeded love for those horrible hedge mazes that I have absolutely no ability in. The one time I recall a hedge maze navigation (and I am pretty sure I have blocked the rest out due to sheer trauma) saw my other half reach the end in about twenty minutes, to then stand on a podium and try to direct me to the exit.
One thing about me, dear reader, is that my memory works just as well as a hairless brush in a bucket of paint. It doesn’t. I can barely recall my middle name on a good day. Result; maze fail.
After over an hour of lefting and righting and running into the same damn flower pot thirty six times, I began to assume this was my new home, and I was utterly fucked.
“Just go left” Daniel would yell from the top. “It’s easy. Left, then right. Straight ahead, then right, right again, left and then out.”
Easy. That sounds pretty basic. Sadly my mind didn’t quite get all those details. Turn left then upside down until you spew out fire then swing dance round and round with Bert Newton until he pops his head off and reveals he is actually a turkey, then right, then dig a hole and bury yourself in it because now you are dead. Thanks brain, you’ve done it again.
“Just go down this corridor, then right, then left and straight ahead until you hit the wall then go down the stairs and right, then you will see the doctors door.”
I just stared at this receptionist like she had a fork stabbed into her eyeball.
“Thank you,” Daniel piped up, and I followed on like the lost dog I was. Woof.
“Let’s have a look,” Doctor Ahmed smiled pulling at the results of my scans from its envelope. “Ah yes, I see. Well I can say I am 95% sure it’s cancer. And we need to get it out before it spreads.”
Heart. Stop. “Oh okay,” I manage to mutter, still in shock, still half contemplating the maze instructions from fork-eyes.”
The rest of the conversation rolled rather calmly. I took it all in. I knew it wasn’t great having a golf ball wedged in an organ inside me. I assumed it would have to come out. I really wasn’t overly taken aback by it all. I just knew I needed to get it fixed.
“So, how long has it been in there?” Daniel began to question.
“We can’t tell precisely.”
“And what caused it?”
“Well we can’t tell precisely.”
“And will it come back?”
“Well, we can’t know for sure.”
“Well, what do we do?”
“We get it out. Kidney. Tumour. All of it. Is Thursday good for you?”
It’s Monday. Thursday is… one, two, three, four… four days away. Right. I am having cancer cut out of me in four days. And an organ! Well there goes my weekend gardening plans!
We kind of get what is going on. This is pretty serious. Yet, being educated, rational people, Daniel and I both just calmly go with the flow and aren’t having a freak out.
“It concerns me how calm you are both being.” The doctor jots on a form while we comprehend his last statement.
“Wait, what? Should we be concerned? You just told me the mortality rate is about one percent and there is eighty five percent chance this is all going to heal nicely. Should we not be calm? SHOULD WE FREAK OUT????” I can feel my eyeballs darting around the room. I feel like exploding a bit, like crying out for some invisible God. But I just smile like a horror movie doll and keep listening.
“Oh no, it’s just not common. It’s good.” He smiles.
Heart. Restart. Whew. I breathe.
The next forty eight hours are a test of my mind. I’ve been a solid devotee to meditation for a few years and find it an amazing way to keep my brain in the centre of my head rather than bouncing around like a ping pong ball. Many thoughts come to mind.
I’ll be off work for a long time. I need to call my boss.
I need to tell my family I have cancer.
I need to tell my friends! Who will send flowers? Who won’t send flowers?
I don’t have a will.
I have life insurance, but I don’t know who it’s with! Who is taking my money every week? Am I insane?
I’m going to have a scar. My beach body is ruined! Wait, I don’t have a beach body. And now there’s no reason to try and get one!
Did sugar do this? Right, throw out all the sugar. Only eat raw nuts and cardboard from now on.
Maybe it’s salt. Right, out with salt. Just cabbage. Forever.
What if I die?
The last one tolls like a bell for several hours. I can’t fucking die. I just bought a bunch of books. And Game Of Thrones just announced the last two seasons. There’s no TV in heaven is there? I’m not going to heaven though, so fuck. Is there TV in Hell? Is that where I will go? I did steal a Mars Bar from the newsagent when I was fourteen. Fuck.
All the while I contemplate the drama of where the TV’s are, Daniel is my rock. Solid as stone and unwavering in his positivity. This from the guy who has no trouble telling the McDonald’s drive-thru girl that she is taking far too long to get his triple cheeseburger order complete and it is clearly her fault. He smiles but inside I know he is having the same unreasonable thought process as me. What would he do with three mullet wigs, two afro’s, three glitter bobs and a black bee-hive?
I close my mind down to these thoughts. They are no help. Not to me, not to Daniel, not to ridding cancer out of my body. There is too much shit I need to do in my life yet. I haven’t yet made it to the world stage. I could be a wonderful Thespian if I had the confidence. I could write a book! A wondrous story of lovers or lunatics. Who knows!
What I do know is that I am open to the universe helping me along. I have to give away the control to those who know what they must do. The doctors are in control now. There is literally nothing I can do but be positive.
I tell the world. I has the cancer. I needs the flowers! And some come! How good is that!
I’m checked into my room now as I write. Tomorrow is chop day. Open me up, goodbye to the tumour I have named Harriet. Goodbye to her home that is my kidney. And goodbye to an old version of me, in a way. I will be changed, both physically (can I request a bit of lypo while he is in there?) and mentally going forward.
And for the record, hospital food, especially this clear broth I have for dinner, actually isn’t so bad.