After last week’s treatment, I thought I had nothing to share but I do. It has nothing to do with the treatment – which was as eventful as standing in a short queue at the grocery till point – but with not being a wallflower.
I’m great at being punctual (it’s a respect thing by my own standard) so I’m usually already waiting when the nursing sister walks in with her clipboard list and ticks us off as we enter the chemo suite – as I imagine a pedantic shepherd might do. (Do they check stock?)
I arrived 2 hours later than usual at their scheduling request when everyone else was already well into the swing of their day. I exchanged greetings with 2 doctors, 3 receptionists, a lady from a pathology lab, at least 3 other patients, a couple of spouses / family members of patients, the suite assistant, the cleaning lady, an accounts dept employee, and all 3 of the nursing sisters on duty that day. In a small space of less than 5 minutes and about 30 metres, that’s almost 20 people!
So what? As I descended into my chemo comfort zone, I realised the number of people whose lives I’ve impacted and who’ve impacted on mine – all at various levels – since I started this journey. Merely recognising a familiar face brings smiles to faces – theirs and mine. It’s not quite a “belonging” thing but they also weren’t stranger-in-the-lift encounters.
It must be a scary and lonely to go through life unnoticed. I don’t think I’d have paid attention if no one had greeted me in that short space but I sure feel good about how I put myself out there in the world as an individual.
Anyway, it made me think about how we humans interact. As painful and uncomfortable as life can be at times, it’s quite an experience. I’m intrigued that I chose it.
Ok, back to this week.
I’m only slightly concerned – or, rather, uncomfortable – with becoming complacent with this weekly ritual. I’m taking solace in the fact that I’m aware of that which means I should easily be able to step out of it when the time comes:-)
I walked into an almost already full room to find my seat. Setting up subsequent treatment, thick), pouring over the wall calendar, flicking through pages of the suite’s diary, opening the patient’s appointment card (mine’s now 4 cards thick), and talking across the room to confirm the next date and time.
This time, she added that it’s the start of my last cycle and all eyes in the room turned to me. I just smiled softly and nodded to her. This point was the culmination of a week’s introspection.