Tuesday, January 17, 2006

First Appointment

The waiting room was crowded like a coop full of baby chicks. How could my sister make her 10 a.m. appointment with this many souls ahead of her? I searched the room. Only a few wore hats or turbans. Did this mean the rest were not cancer patients? I spoke to my sister, "Pick out the covering for your head from the selections you see." We laughed and agreed that nothing could make our heads look entrancing to the public. We were never hat women. We only wore them in our young teen and college years when that was the fashion. Sis' hair stylist told her she had a perfect head and didn't need to cover it up. She also warned her she'd have six weeks before her hair fell out. An upper followed by a downer. We agreed only k.d.lang could go hatless and hairless at the same time.

Silence. I vowed to keep Sis company until she went into the chemical cubicle. We watched individuals go in for blood tests, tried to determine if they were CP's too. Sis' name was called; we thought this was IT. But the nurse wanted to put the needle into the port in her shoulder. Sis gets weak at the sight of a needle, except the sewing kind. Even if the injection doesn't hurt, once she's seen the needle, you can count on a fainting spell. She returned smiling, "Nothing to it." A few minutes later she bent over saying she didn't feel well. No fainting this time. Fifteen minutes passed and she announced she could sit and wait alone, for me to go home until she called to be picked up. I left with a lump in my chest. I mentally sent all the strength I could to her until she called to say she was finished and ready to return home. She was smiling big when I arrived outside the Cancer Unit. "Will it always be like this?" I asked. "I don't think so."she replied. "Today those chemicals went into a healthy body. In the next few sessions I won't have a healthy body, and then, watch out!" We have a long journey together before the six months are behind us.

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