Finding Optimism When Overwhelmed

Finding Optimism When Overwhelmed

Hospitals. No one is here because they want to be here. Even the nurses and doctors would prefer cures over patients. You see the spectrum. Seemingly healthy like Brian, sick, frail, and of course, caregivers. 

All represented.

This morning we are here for the PET scan results. We take separate cars so we can go straight to work afterwards. I don’t perform my due diligence and end up at the wrong address for the appointment. I’m panicked because if there is bad news I don’t want Brian to be alone. Ultimately, I get to the office before him because he is waiting at the other valet for me. Brian knows I wanted Team Whaley to walk through the door. In these tough spots, we have become a united front. He likes the Team Whaley thing until I write it on the bathroom mirror, want to make it a shirt or hashtag or something. It may be a bit much, but he knows who he married.

Reassuringly, the PET scan is clear; our final hurdle. There is a small area they may choose to take a further look at, but it seems precautionary. His stenosis, the diagnosis that got in the way of us finding this sooner, is also affirmed. Even hearing the word is irritating. Had the MRI (done right above the mass) not shown stenosis, they would’ve kept searching for a diagnosis. 

Stage IIIa, here we go. 

We move on to the next appointment across campus for a radiology simulation. I sit in the waiting area, writing this while people watching. We are all here for the same reason. We are all doing the best we can. I Love Lucy is on the tv. As we’ve seen, most patients are 10+ years older than we are. 

That evening, Brian is freshly tatted up, marks directing radiologists where to shoot the poison (do you shoot radiation? I suppose I’ll find out). We were told they would be dots the size of a pencil tip. Uuummmmm, not so much. He had two inch crosses, deep green lines in four places, two of them down the center of his chest. I didn’t even know what to think about that so I said nothing.

I don’t know how to think about any of this. Except this one thing. One message received this evening that I wasn’t expecting. 

We are watching This Is Us from the beginning. I was caught up to the current season, but Brian has never seen it. So we are on season one. Episode 12. It’s the birth of the triplets and subsequent loss of one of the babies. Rebecca, the mom, is in a drugged sleep, recovering from the intrusive deliveries. Jack, her husband, is in a state of disbelief and pain. But Jack also knows he has to tell Rebecca a child didn’t make it. 

Dr. K sees the trouble in Jack, the father, and sits down with him. The doctor shares how he and his wife lost their first child. He tells Jack that the only way to get through the tough times like these is to ‘take the sourest of lemons and make lemonade.’ Then you see the healing begin for them all. 

I needed to hear that message tonight. 

Mercifully, the green marks wash off,  just the dots we were told of remain. And mercifully, I now have better perspective. 

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