Monday, December 17, 2012


Have you ever been in a chemotherapy infusion lab when someone graduates? They sit through their last chemo treatment and the nurse hollers at the top of her lungs, “Everybody come on!” Everything stops. The doctor stops seeing patients, the patients in the waiting room, in the examination rooms, in the infusion lab, and all of the staff run screaming and flood the lab. Then the nurse says, “This is so-and-so and today she has graduated!” And everyone claps and screams until they can’t clap or scream any more. There are hugs all around. Phone numbers are exchanged because these are people we’ve sat here with for several days a week for many months. A bond has formed. And eventually, she skips and jumps out the door into the bright, crisp day knowing she no longer has to come through these doors as a chemo patient. Just check-ups.

We won’t be doing that. Graduating, that is. We’ll be doing this until Baba dies of some other cause. Hopefully in her sleep...peacefully. It’s hard to get a handle on. Perpetual chemotherapy. No remission. Just keeping it at bay until she passes from old age or “natural causes.” It’s like traveling in a constant loop. There is no if-then option. You just trudge in a circle because that seems to be the path you’re supposed to be following.

The problem with me is that I look at the monotony of it all and ask, “isn’t there some way to revive this?” There has to be a way! We have to bring some life, some celebration into this or we’re going to fall into a rut of our own making and never get out! We need pink in here! And green and yellow and marshmallows and snow cones and unicorns and snow in the middle of our seventy degree winter! Streamers from the ceiling, lights, the good china, parties every Friday, and never-ending amounts of ice cream in the freezer. Whimsy, wonder, joy, love, curiosity, happiness, bubbliness (I swear it's a word, y'all), laughter, practical jokes, art made by 7-yr-olds with a dinosaur fetish, opera sung by 10-year-olds in Klingon. All of that and more. And WINGS! We all need wings! And we need to go outside and twirl in circles until we all fall over and remember the most important thing.

That you are never too old, young or sick to feel alive.

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