Monday, March 3, 2008

The scene in the infusion waiting room

Since it would be rude and intrusive to take photos of the infusion waiting room when it is full of people, I wanted to share that picture with you verbally, if you are interested.

The first thing I do, when I round the bend and can see into the room, is to check if my friends are there. I met this couple at my birthday party in 1994, and we've all been friends since. Though I hate that we are both there, I do look forward to seeing them, no matter where it is.

The waiting room is definitely a study in all walks of life and how cancer just doesn't discriminate. There are people from every ethnic group and nationality. Sometimes, it is easy to tell who the patient is, like the woman with the headscarf who came over winter school vacation with her two pre-teen daughters.

Often, I'll notice a family of three: Parents and an adult child. I cannot always tell which is the patient. Most often, like the Portuguese family yesterday, the parent is being treated and the child is the translator.

For the Chinese couple with their son, I wasn't sure. The father and son both sat slouched in the seat, the father is sullen and silent, mother speaks animatedly to the son. Could be the father -- turns out, it was the son.

Another touching scene was of parents and an adult daughter, chatting casually like they were on an errand. Then a name was called, the father stood up with his back straight and shoulders squared. His wife and daughter each gave him a kiss, and he walked back to the infusion unit, alone and just looking so brave. That still breaks my heart.

I loved the two black gentleman, sitting together, not talking. Then a lovely, cheerful, beautiful young black woman entered the room to meet them, the men both lit up and it became like a little party!

There is another man that I see on Thursdays; he dresses, all winter, in shorts and a printed shirt, wanting to defy both cancer and the winter weather. I enjoy talking with him.

Or the skinny black woman with a wonderful headwrap, who told me, they can't do anything to you that you do not choose. She is great!

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