The time had come. I heard the squeaky wheels even before I saw a man with a stretcher pull up to my door. I was relieved and ready, but jittery and procrastinating. I went to the bathroom one more time, funny how we overlook the simple things like going to the restroom before surgery. Realizing how weird the patient ID tag around my wrist looked, I gave in and crawled under the starchy, white sheets on the stretcher. I had made a big step toward grasping the tough reality. Mom and Dad walked along side as I was wheeled up, down, here, there, and everywhere by Joe, a great guy who became my personal driver, if you will. I cracked a smile… it was kind of fun. But my self-pity got in the way. I felt so screwed up. Probably one of the weirdest things is having people stare at you as you roll by. They hesitantly peek, as though they’re expecting a mangled, undistinguishable thing to glide past. They sure did get a surprise when I went by, smiling and waving at them. Yeah, I milked that stretcher ride like Miss Pepperoni in the Parade of Pizza. We pulled up to a humongous door, it splitting as Joe pushed a Paul Bunyan size button mounted on the nearby wall. Once again, a whole new world was revealed. The planet OR. It must have dropped about 15 or 20 degrees when we entered the pre-op area, and I snuggled in deeper under my blankets, trying to shake off the uncomfortable chill. Lying down, I was unable to see the schedule board, but my mom later told me what it read. In big letters, I was written on it like the Catch of the Day, battered, fried, with a side of slaw and unlimited soda refills. Nah, just kidding.
It said, “Melinda Marchiano– Anterior Mediastinal Mass.”
copyright by Melinda Marchiano, author of Grace