Our Four-Star Hospital Cafeteria

It’s not that my wife and I get off by hanging around hospitals.  It’s just that what we need to get done doesn’t get done at our neighborhood sushi bar.  So, with a squeeze of the hand and a kiss on the cheek, my wife heads upstairs for her cancer scans and I go down for my colonoscopy.

“We’ve improved the prep a lot since your last time, don’t you think?” says the nurse who takes my clothes.  “No more do-it-yourself enema, which is nice.  See?  The worst part’s over.”

“No,” I reply, “the worst part’s not over.  The worst part is starving for a whole day and a half.”

The transporter wheels me into a room at the end of the hall.  “Is this the cafeteria?” I ask the three nurses, nurse anesthetist and doctor who surround me.  They chuckle politely and describe how wonderful “Twilight Sleep” will feel.

“Might as well knock me out.  I can’t see the TV screen anyway.  I’m blind.”

“We know,” they say.

“So much for privacy,” I say and nod off.

I awaken in the hallway.  A voice from above intones a prayer. I blurt out, “OMG!  Who called the priest?”

“It’s Sister Savannah reading the Daily Prayer over the intercom,” replies the transporter, accustomed to drug-addled rambling.

The nurse brings my clothes and a snack: orange juice, fruit cocktail, cheese and crackers.  I wolf it down—now I’m really hungry. The doctor comes in and says I did very well.  He hands me a glossy folder with my results and photos.  “Polyp pictures!” I say.  “Oh, boy!”

I am wheeled, blessedly, to the cafeteria, where my wife has a cup of tea and a piece of fruit and I choose a donut and chocolate milk.  It’s the best donut I’ve ever had.  My wife tells me she and the cancer center staff are on a first-name basis and she considers them friends.  I tell her I’m glad that kindly connection helps her but I wish she and the cancer center staff had never met.  She agrees, then asks about the colonoscopy.  I tell her those people don’t want me back for five years because they think I’m a smart-aleck, to which my wife agrees.

“So, what’d they find up there?” she asks.

“Two polyps,” I reply.  “Wanna see the pictures?”

“If they’re yours, they’re beautiful,” says my wife.

“How did your scans go?” I ask.  “I mean, I know we won’t get results ‘til tomorrow, but…”

“Actually, they did tell me what one scan looked like,” she says.  ”But it’s something I’m sure you’ll say you already knew.  They told me the CT scan of my head revealed nothing.”

I hear mirth in her voice.  “Wide open spaces, eh?”

“Yep,” she replies.  “Nature’s perfect vacuum.”

And we laugh long and loud.  I get another donut because I’m still really hungry.  And my wife pours another cup of tea.  “Here we are,” she says. “Our little table for two.”

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2 Responses to Our Four-Star Hospital Cafeteria

  1. bethfinke says:

    I’m with you. I, too, wish she and those folks at the cancer treatment center had never met. Can’t say I see eye-to-eye with the evaluation you got from that wife of yours about the looks of your polyps, though. Beautiful? Hmmm. Your writing sure is beautiful, though. Thank you for sharing this with us. _____

  2. Andrea says:

    I agree with Beth. You not only write lovingly using lovely words, but I also laugh out loud!

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