Saturday, August 11, 2007

August is Extremely Slow

Arriving at the outpatient clinic at the ungodly hour of 6:25 am, I enter into utter chaos. I wish. Seriously reader, this is Floriduh, not NYC. In NYC, any outpatient clinic adjacent to an emergency room entrance would be an obstacle course of gunshot wounds, stabbings, heart attacks, strokes and those who, lacking medical insurance or a primary care physician, use the ER as their GP. No. Wait. That was NYC in the bad old days. Now, post Guiliani, post 9-11, ER's are as eerily calm as the forested mountains of Idaho. You can't hear the buzz but you know it lies just under the surface, coiled and ready to strike.
In any case, I enter a ghost town. There is no one at the entrance, the admitting desk, in the corridors. I wander the halls, wondering how I'll get into the clinic. Maybe it's an omen that I should just turn about and leave. It is a medically indicated procedure, but not a medically necessary one. Preventative, ergo optional at this time. I can leave and continue the family tradition of acting against medical advice. I remember the results of my parents and brother opting to ignore their physicians' preventative treatments. Suicide by inches.
I stand there, in that deserted hallway. Turn. Turn again. Consider my options. Which, truthfully are more limited than you might think, as I have no escape vehicle to jump into and take off for parts unknown, exceeding the speed limit just enough to not be accidental. Suicide by inches? Oh no, that is not for me. When I go, if I opt out earlier than my five year allotment, it will be in a blaze of glory. Full tank of gas, skidding head first into a pylon and exploding with sufficient heat to melt whatever I crash into. Or just having the good luck to be on a structurally deficient bridge at the exact moment it chooses to collapse. When I was a child, I envied those who died on the bridge at San Luis Rey. Only a friar questioned their innocence, their reason for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, since there is no such thing as coincidence. I wanted to be one of them, feel the rush of free fall, of knowing that sooner than I could count it would be over.
I turn, in that deserted hallway, pondering my most recent brush with sudden death. How I knew I would be alright, that it was not time. There is a security in knowing it is not yet time. I can live life as the Shakers did: Do your work as though you had a thousand years to live and as if you were to die tomorrow. Put your hands to work, and your heart to God.
Except I know I will not die tomorrow or the next day or the next day after that. I have a reprieve. I still have some time to squander in idleness, although not as much as most. I cannot afford to waste time in illness. Ignoring medical advice will result in more intervention in the long run, more tests, more examinations, more poking prodding sticking drawing. More fear. Ever so much more fear. Chilling, paralyzing fear. Despite my outward calm, my blithe assertion that it is really just cosmetic, preventative, the memory loop playing is of my doctor twenty years ago asserting that, if certain changes were to take place, this procedure would have to be done.
Change happens. The exact changes I was warned about. And I am here. Turning around and around, ever so slowly in the deserted corridor of a hospital triage area. Making myself dizzy, giddy with dizziness, to cover the gut wrenching fear I try so hard to deny.
"Ma'am, can I help you? Were you looking for the main entrance to the hospital? The cafeteria? Outpatient surgery?"
I blink, startled. Look at the nurse as if I've never seen one before.
"Ma'am?"
"Oh yes. Thank you. Outpatient surgery, please. I'm supposed to be here at 6:30."
"Well, you're right on time. Let me get these doors and you just go right on through. Someone on the other side will guide you."
"Is Virgil waiting for me, then?"
"Virgil? No, he's not on duty this morning. I believe Kathy and Julia are doing intake."
She presses a code for the doors. They swing open. I smile my thanks at her and step through to the other side.

2 comments:

DeePee said...

I miss falling asleep to the sharp symphony of gunshots. Ahh...New York, New York.

zoesmomdebbie said...

Okay, so EXACTLY what is going on with you? You can answer me NOW privately.

Me