Awake at three AM. My eyes opened like a pair of doll eyes. Clink. I did an inventory. Don't have to pee. Nothing much hurts. The cat isn't lying on my legs or stabbing me in the face with her claws.
Then I remembered.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon, I mean many hours, with my friend, her husband and her fresh cancer diagnosis at the fancy cancer center here in town. We're big on cancer in Seattle. Famous. We're striving, full of power and money. We will vanquish the enemy, slay those fucking aberrant cells. A. has health insurance and a plan for treatment where she lives. This is a second opinion and she would have to pay out of pocket, about $150k, if she chooses this 'option'.
The floor we're on isn't too frightening, no gaunt, dying people in hospital gowns with IV's dripping their poison sitting by the windows. But there is a woman with a cart who offers us snacks and juice. Water bottles with those damn pink ribbons on them. Yes, we're all aware of breast cancer, for god's sake. How about eradicating some causes?
We are ushered into a room that is 'our's' for the afternoon. A. is examined by several people. Her mammogram, ultrasound and records are poured over. We leave for lunch. We come back to a conference room where we're visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The conversation is taped because it's so hard to stay conscious when they're reeling out their ideas for surgery, chemo and radiation. Survival rates. Damage to surrounding tissue. Radiation to the heart. A's family history hovering over it all.
We tell jokes. I cue up Dina Martina on my laptop. A's husband laughs so hard he's crying. We touch each other very briefly on the shoulder. We both love A. so much. What is happening is unbearable.
Friends make us a beautiful dinner. We drink too much wine, eat roasted vegetables and arugula salad. As soon as I get into my car to drive home, my back spasms so severely I can barely drive. I'm whimpering when I walk into the house, unable to talk. I stand in the shower and let the hot water scald me. Then I pass out as soon as I get into bed.
A's surgery is scheduled for a month from now. I plan to drive down and be with her husband while she's in the OR. We'll tell jokes and watch silly videos on my laptop.
I'm awake. No, I'm not tired. Anxious, yes. Sad too. But tired, not at all.