I stopped by the lab just in time to see ( the most wonderful hubby) MacGyver lurking around the lab waiting room. He was holding a small, stuffed green canvas bag in one hand, (which I’m sure he confiscated from our son Billy Bobs room), and a small sty-foam cup which had small wisps of steam softly twirling in it’s escape from the top, when he spotted me coming around the glass doors he smiled at me.
“Are you running away from home?” I ask.
“Maybe.” he replied. “Snacks, word searches, cards, you know. I just thought we might need some fun.”
“You’re on the ball!” I said proudly. I quickly gave him the run down of my morning and suggested he headed for the main waiting room on the first floor.
“I’ll meet you there. Ok?”
“It’s going to be fine.” he whispered.
“I know…..and every day is a gift.” I tried really hard to smile as I looked into those big eyes and believe that.
I glanced down at my watch, it was now 9:45 a.m. I headed for the employee’s elevator pushing the 4th floor button and the doors went shut. Within seconds, they opened in unison, and I was instantly transformed into the secret halls of the operating unit. Most folks never see awake.
Countless men and women all faceless were scurrying about, flipping through charts, while their black stethoscopes slowly swung around their necks like a pendulum counting out the seconds. Others, carried them or rolled them up in their white lab coat pocket like a harmless snake in slumber. They were all stealth like due to the bootee‘s which covered their shoes, and except for size and shape, all uniform in their dull green garb.
“Mari!” I heard a voice call out. I glazed at the nursing desk hoping to recognize who was summoning me, when I caught an arm wave and motion for me to come closer. “You can change in the nurses’ lounge and meet me right here when you’re done.” said the voice behind the mask.
“OK.” I replied. I open the brown door mark break-room, and looked around for all the necessary attire I thought I would need. My presents here were infrequent. I only went directly to the small satellite lab tucked away down at the far corner of the last corridor. I mainly delivered supplies when needed or pick up some stat specimens that needed the expertise of the main lab. I was hardly ever assigned here.
I quickly dressed, slipping on my bootees as I opened and went out the door in search of that voice, of who I believe to be Dr. Corda. Mom’s lung guy. This guy was great. Could have been Charlie Chaplin’s twin brother. He stood no more then 5 feet tall. A very sweet, and admired Doctor. I trusted his judgment, but he looked like Chaplin and made me laugh every time I saw him.
Mother would laugh at my impression of Dr. Corda when he was making rounds, and I just happened to be on the floor. She laughed wildly, but always managed to scold me for my disrespectful behavior when she thought it was getting out of hand. “Now Mari…..(here it comes and you knew play time was over.) you mustn’t…..”
“Just in time they are taking her back. Want to see her a minute?” he asked kindly. “Sure,” I replied. I followed him down the hallway, chuckling to myself about how funny he looked in his operating garb. Truly, my only thought was, “Mom is going to love this!”
There she is, he pointed to her. She laid all covered up in a pure white blanket, it was warm and soft to the touch and had been tightly wrapped around her slim body, making her resembled a burrito.
“Cold Mom?” I asked softly as I leaned down searching into those blue green eyes for guidance. “There just about ready to get started. I love you! And, please be good!”
“Ok, she acknowledges with few blinks of her sleepy eyes,” and they began to slowly pushed her through the double doors of Operating room 3.
I stood watching outside the doors through the small windows of OR #3 as everyone took their places and began rolling machines, side tables, white sheets and adjusting huge round futuristic sliver colored blinding bright lights over my Mom the burrito, who seemed to quickly disappear in all the assembled equipment.
My thoughts wandering to any given Saturday or Sunday mornings as a child when I watched my Mother perform similar tasks when she was getting ready to spend the day painting on one of the hundreds of canvases, she had been lining her painting studio with. She loved oil paint and was very talented. The distinct smell of turptine and menials spirit hovered through our house and was oddly soothing to me as a child. Today the smell of antiseptics strangely had replaced the artist smells’ and becomes reassuring as I watch her lifeless body laying in O.R. 3.
“Meet me in the satellite lab will you, Mari.” said Doctor Nicky as his back side swung open the doors. “They should have our little goodie out in no time.” I headed around the corner, with Mothers last words continually streaming across my brain like one of those annoying neon messages sighs signaling a special or an invitation at the local pub or dinner.
“Faith makes things possible, not easy. Faith makes things possible…..Faith…Faith…..”
“Nice specimen! He said as if he had just found some exotic creature. (These guys in the path lab are scary sometimes) Let’s take a closer look at this varmint, shall we?” He sprang into action as he rolled from counter to counter top. His hands so gently and steady as he picked up the reddest brown, chicken liver looking, pieces of warm lung they just removed from Mom as he prepared it for inspection carefully placing it on a clear sliver thin glass strip. In no time his face buried in one of the large black microscopes, as his hands turning the side dials like they were knobs on a radio. Slowly forward, and then back. One side than the other gentle rolling. His glasses now askew atop his head. We could have heard a straight pin drop. The silence was sickening.
“It’s Squamous Cell Carcinoma metastasizes of the lung I’m afraid alright.” he said softly. “Want to look?” as he pushed back from the counter. I stepped up and peered into the scope. The tears began to fill my eyes and collect in the lenses. It was too hard to see anything. All I could do was nod my head as I tried to focus in this monster, called cancer.
“A lobectomy of that R-lung would be in order Mari. That will be her best chance, that along with chemo and cobalt treatment.” he said.
“I understand Doc.” Was all I could say. “Thank you for doing this and being here.”