Sleepless in Houston is much less romantic than Sleepless in Seattle. But my having to type this on my phone will relieve you of some restlessness due to its brevity, and likely amuse you with egregious typographic errors. They always pop up when I try this. Editing one’s own writing is hard enough as it is. Editing it from a smartphone screen is much harder.
Apprehension over my appointment later this morning keeps me awake. There is always apprehension, even though I expect smiles and mostly good news. With cancer of any type, expectations lead to disappoitment. Later this mornin, on the 8th floor Leukemia Center, I will see some very ill people, many of whom started with expectations that dramatically differed from their current reality. I can’t help but see my own refllection in their faces, as if some joker has Photoshopped my face onto every body in there. They are me. I am them. In this place we are all each other. It is best to remember that without letting it turn to paralysis, if one can. So far, I can.
But I get mostly good news, and BATCC is a place where there is an increasing amount of good news, though if you are the one receiving bad news, you’d never suspect it. Some start bad and progress to worse. I’ve seen them. I’ve touched them. I have prayed to the great I AM THAT I AM over them. I will continue to do so.
The air is filled with expectations here. The air is also thick with survivor’s guilt. It is a powerful feeling that we all experience. The psychologists and counselors can all tell us this is normal, but its normalcy does not abnegate its enormity; only time and distance will do that. BATCC is the place where hope, expectations, and resignation with motion are witnessed through an instantaneous glimpse into the windows of a thousand unshaded eyes.
You’ll pardon me if I don’t feel very funny right now. Funny will likely come with the sunrise, bringing with it hope and expectations.
Last night made my heart hurt. There was a hairless young woman accompanied by her mother. As she entered the elevator with her wheeled walker, one look was all that was required to tell that she felt really bad. Her mother was chirpy with good cheer, but daughter felt so bad as to be unable to speak in reply to her mother’s encouraging, prompting questions. She could barely nod her head. I wanted to hug this girl. Etiquette would not permit that and the elevator was crowded. If I see her this morning, I will speak to her.
Sometimes our failure to meet expectations of others are more disappointing than our failed expectations for ourselves. The loved one who demands we fulfill their expectations by getting better by simply doing what they say sometimes complicates things beyond measure.
I supposed that’s why the question, “How are you doing?”, so benign in casual conversation, is a loaded question to the cancer patient, while the question, “How are you doing, TODAY?”, is much less disconcerting.
I may be able to easily tell you how I’m doing today without having a clue as to respond on how I am actually doing overall.
I would not have dared ask the young woman on the elevator how she was doing, and it was not necessary to ask her how she was doing today; it was clearly visible. I do not know her, but no doubt she and I both wish her mother would shut up on the elevator.
Sometimes simply being there is enough. Talking does not always help. Asking questions of others which require pre-determined answers that meet the questioner’s expectations are insufferable.
And in silence over the insufferableness of her mother’s questions, or simply because she was afraid that if she opened her mouth to speak she would vomit all over everyone in the elevator, the young woman struggled as she said nary a word. The strain on her was immense. It was visible. It was painful.
I hope she feels better this morning. I bet she hopes so, too, if for no other reason than to make her mother happy. It is hard to see someone you love so sick. Sometimes it is much easier to be the sick one.
A stiff upper lip is required either way.
I have written myself into sleepiness. It happens every time. I never expect it. Perhaps it comes as apprehensions sublimate into the ether as I write.
Sublimate. That is as fine a word as has ever been invented. When my time comes, my expectations are to sublimate on out of here. If you ever hear tell of it, your expectation can be that thst’s just the way it happened.
But it won’t likely be July 24, 2017, and if it is, it won’t be from Leukemia.
And at least I am now likely no more restlessly apprehensive about the future than you are, maybe less so. Here’s to less restless apprehension and more grasping of the moment that possesses us; may we, instead, be its possessor.