The siren screams. You are on a gurney. In an ambulance.
The light brightens the road and your journey begins.
The road is a bumpy one and you think to yourself, “Why am I here? I’m just dealing with fogginess, lightheadedness and low oxygen.”
The ambulance comes to a slow stop.
The sirens stop.
The small talk with the EMTs stop.
The sun hits your skin as they set you down.
The warmth turns to cold though as you are wheeled inside.
A set of large metal doors swing out and open as to give you a big hug hello.
You just wanna say goodbye.
The low hum of activity you saw outside is now a whirlwind of controlled chaos inside.
Your welcome to the cancer center’s urgent care center.
You are surrounded by dozens of people… but you are alone.
Your phone is your connection to your friends outside.
They distract you... as you wait… in a hallway… on a gurney.
The smell of sickness is around you.
A woman’s puke as she vomits for 10 minutes.
The sound of sickness engulfs you. A woman pounds on the wall and wails, “Please help! Someone help! I’m in pain. I can’t do this anymore.”
You take a deep breath and thank God you are not in any pain.
You are not suffering like they are.
You sprinkle some positivity and a prayer their way…as you wait.
“This is awful,” you text a friend.
Your back pain starts to act up… as you wait.
Time passes but a doctor finally comes.
You are being admitted.
“Ughhhhh you poor thing.”
“You’re there and in good hands.”
Real responses to your real problem. Support of friends as you begin a new leg of your journey.
It’s support that’s been trickling in from the few people you have told.
Now… colleagues at work know… as you aren’t coming in in the morning.
You finally call your parents and tell them where you are.
You had been struggling whether to call them and decided to wait till you had an answer.
“Should we come? We can fly in,” they ask with concern.
“No. It’s just tests. I’m okay. It’s not a blood clot. It’s just tests,” you respond.
You hang up and look up to a familiar face… as you wait.
Your friend walks in with much needed familiarity and food.
Now, you both wait.
You are moved into a room. She follows. It’s nearly midnight.
After a couple hours pass she leaves. You are thankful for the visit.
The doors close behind her and you settle in.
“Well, at least you have central air here,” you think to yourself.
You hear the beeping of monitors.
You see shadows through the darkened door windows and you put to rest this day.
24 hours later you emerge with no answers to your symptoms but with relief that it is not cancer.
It is not something serious.
It is not a blood clot.
What it is… time will tell. More tests will tell… hopefully.
You leave the coldness of the air conditioned hospital and feel the wind hit your skin as two doors glide open.
They are the front doors of the hospital.
You are grateful to walk out of them.
You know others have not and cannot.
You wait... this time for a car.
A car finally picks you up and takes you home.
You shower off the last 24 hours and curl up into bed.
Your own bed.
It’s 8pm on Friday. You close your eyes.
You hear the ice cream truck and people playing on the street.
You hear the hum of your air conditioning and not the hum of nurses outside your door. You put to rest this day… ready for the next.