I didn’t even pee on my hospital johnny.
I didn’t do a lot of things that day. I didn’t cry. I didn’t tell the world I had cancer (that would come later). I didn’t make any rash decisions, including but not limited to,
*packing a bag and moving across the country,
*packing TWO bags and LEAVING the country,
*packing NO bags at all,
*getting drunk (actually, I had stopped drinking the night I started peeing blood because it just seemed like the thing to do),
*nailing scrap wood over my bedroom door and never coming out again,
or any number of other random things that rolled through my head as I walked the half-mile from ER to the pharmacy at Kaiser Permanente in Harbor City. The only plan I had at that moment was getting a bottle of oxytocin in my hands, staying ahead of the pain that had detoured me from lab tests to the ER that morning, and feeling no pain as I drifted off to sleep that night. I didn’t realize it yet, but random plans weren’t anything I was going to be making unless they involved doctors, nurses, and what questions I needed to ask.
After the pharmacy, my son-in-law picked me up for my ride home. My son-in-law who had just lost his own dad to cancer. My son-in-law who didn’t have a lot to say, specific to what I was going through in the last few days, and that was just fine with me. We drove in mostly silence to a couple of nearby carnicerias in search of carne asada… he and my daughter were grilling that afternoon and my extended time in the ER had not been on the schedule for this Saturday. When he and I did talk, the words were real, and there didn’t need to be a lot of them on the long way home to my place.
Before the ride, before I was discharged, I had texted, and then called, my daughter. She didn’t take the news about dad having (probably, likely, not officially confirmed but really REALLY probably) cancer well… at least for a moment… until I heard the sound in her voice that told me she had gotten her game face on. The game face she inherited from me… and got back to her three kids.
Which I would tell you will always be more important.
Facing the future has always been weird for me. Over the years, I had become a dreamer. Always looking for something I never knew quite what. Somehow always hopeful about it. But this year had become the end of that. Plans had become something people no longer talked about, and dreams weren’t something people shared. My plans and dreams were now confined to my morning journal, along with everything else I only admitted to myself.
And now this was happening.
When I finally got home, I did the math on when my next dose of pain meds was due. Yeah, I guess that counted as a plan. Then I said screw it, and just took the meds.
Which would become the next dream.
(c) copyright 2020 William S. Friday