It is warm in here. I have been sitting in this waiting room for 45 minutes. I feel as if I can’t breath and that I need to get outside. Howard is sitting next to me. He is engaged in a text chat with my brother and I am glad he is occupied. Every few minutes he looks over at me; I guess to see if I appear to be okay.
It is late in the day, 4:15 and I can feel the emotions of others whom have sat in these chairs. It is as though the room itself is sad. There are other people waiting, an elderly lady and a younger lady . The elderly ladies name is called and she heads into the “back” rooms. I can’t help but notice she is all by herself and this makes me a little sadder. The younger lady is reading a magazine, she puts it down, looks at me and says “I am getting sleepy.” I reply, “it is warm in here that will make you sleepy.” After a few more minutes she is called in the “back”.
I pick up a magazine and try to focus on the words, but my brain isn’t working. Howard continues chatting with my brother. Finally, a beautiful lady with a warm smile invites me to follow her. Yep, in the “back”. She is friendly and I can see the fatigue she is trying to hide, it has been a long day for her. She turns and asks Howard if he is okay waiting there and tells him she will be awhile.
I am instructed to get undressed from the waist up and to put on a gown, with the opening to the front. I enter the dressing area and place my clothes in locker number eight, which is the only one available.
I am now sitting in another waiting area. The decor is calming and beautiful, the colors I notice are some of my favorite – shades of teal. As I sit down, I notice the younger lady sitting in one of the teal colored chairs. She looks up from her magazine and with a smile tells me “it is much cooler in here!” I smile back and say “thank goodness!”
I sit here for a little while, playing with the locker key wristband, twirling it in my hands. I am looking at the number written on the key, number eight and I think to myself, eight might be a luckily number. After all both Howard and I were born in August and we began our life together in August. We met in August!
However, I know it is not a question of luck, the science will write my final story. The coolness of the room begins to seep into my bones and I wrap, the three sizes too big, flannel gown tightly around me.
The younger lady begins a conversation, she is with her daughter who has been called back for a repeat mammogram, same as me. She tells me her daughter is worried.
It is now time, the same beautiful lady takes charge and needs to performs her task. Sorry, she tells me, “I know this is going to be uncomfortable” as we enter another room filled with equipment. Gone are the calm colors.
After she is finished, I am again sent to the Teal Room to wait. After awhile, another lady with gorgeous red hair and a friendly smile invites me into a room with soft lighting to perform an ultrasound. She is extremely kind and I ask her how her day is going as I think to myself, this can’t be good, I need an ultrasound!
She leaves the room when she has taken the required images and tells me she will be right back after the radiologist reviews them. I say, ” I’ll just lay here and take a nap.” She is gone what seems like a lifetime. I am thinking Howard and I should be on the road, heading to see family and friends.
A light knock on the door, the pretty lady with the red hair enters the room and I notice right away she has a great big smile on her face. The tells me things are fine, no problems. I can’t help but cover my face with my hands and say thank goodness. She tells me with a kind voice, “go celebrate!” I get up off the bed and tell her “I wish you could say those words to everyone you see in here.”
Back to locker number eight. Who knows, perhaps a little luck, but ultimately the science relieved my mind.
I exit from the back and I don’t see either the elderly lady or the younger lady with her daughter. I see my hubby looking at me with his beautiful blue eyes. He is trying to gage my facial expression. I hope he can see my smile. I walk over to him and give him a big hug and kiss. I whisper in his ear, “we can now begin loading the coach!”
He tells me the younger lady wanted him to tell me that her daughter is fine! I am so very happy for both of them.
Finally, I am outside, it is cooler and I can once again breathe. My experience started a week and a half ago and I am grateful it is over.
I thank the medical staff for the great job they do. I thank the innovative minds for their dedication to improving the science and I am grateful for the available technology used to help diagnose and cure cancer.