“Pick a stranger, family member, or friend. Imagine a day in their life. Give us insight. Give us detail. Don’t just tell us about the other perspective, make us forget that you don’t live it every day. How does the homeless man on the street corner see you? What’s on your mother’s mind minutes before you visit? Does your boss like her office chair, or does the squeaking sound drive her crazy, too? Aim for two or three paragraphs.”
My Last Session
I shiver as the liquid goes through my veins. It’s just a flush but it reminds me that I have three more hours to go. The nurse smiles at me slightly as she attaches the first bag to my IV. It’s the same smile every time, no matter which nurse it is. That “I’m sorry but I hope this little smile will help you feel better even though your life sucks right now” smile. I give her a polite one back.
“Just two bags today,” she says sweetly and then walks to the young girl sitting next to me. The girl, who couldn’t be older than twenty-five, giggles at a text she just received. I notice that she is handling the treatments much better than me. Her skin still has a little color and she looks very fit. You might not even know she was sick if not for the blue and pink scarf she wore and the slightly dark circles under her eyes.
I lean back in my chair and close my eyes, listening to the sounds in the room. The quiet pumping of nine IV machines, the soft patter of the rubber soled shoes of the four nurses on staff today. I like all of them today. The mean one seems to have the day off. It’s a nice reprieve to have friendly faces. Why she chose to work in this field if she can’t be gentle and nice is beyond me. I think there is nothing worse than someone treating a cancer patient while donning a cranky attitude. I shift in my seat and reach for my sweater. The man on the other side of me coughs and asks the nurse for a bag. The smell of fresh vomit fills the air. I turn and hold my breath as to be polite. The young girl to my left crinkles her nose but continues to text as if nothing is happening.
I close my eyes again and try to think of something else. My Grandson just turned two this week. The look on his face as he blew out his candles was priceless. I try to recall his giggle of excitement as the fire went out. I want to engrave that into my memories. The beeping of my IV interrupts my thoughts. The nurse comes over right away to put on my last bag of medicine for the day. Once it’s on and dripping I decide to call my daughter, hoping that I am not interrupting something. When she answers I let her know that I will be done at three so she can give me a ride home.
“I love you,” I say. I put the phone back in my purse. I hate that I feel like such a burden to my family. I hate that they have to stop what they are doing to take care of me, take me to my appointments, and even drive me to the grocery store. At only fifty-two years old I never thought I would have to depend on others so early on in life. Today is my last treatment. I am so looking forward to the day that I can drive myself somewhere and watch my grandchildren again. I glance over at my IV. The bag is almost empty. I reach over for my purse and gather up my things. When the nurse arrives at my side I am all ready to leave. She gives me that smile again and unhooks me. She hands me my prescriptions for the week and I get my self up and head to the waiting room.
I just reach the door when I see my daughter’s car pull up. I walk out and open the car door. She turns down the loud music and moves her purse off the passenger seat.
“How are you feeling?” There’s that question again. I realize that people ask that because they really want to know but when you hear it several times a day for over three months you get kind of sick of getting asked.
“I’m ok. Just tired,” I say trying not to sound too shaky. As we drive off she tells me of the funny and ridiculous things her children have done today. I laugh as I try to picture them in my head.
“Thank you,” I say as she walks me inside the house.
“You’re welcome. I love you mom.”