It may seem odd to some, but I’m looking forward to chemo tomorrow. Life for me is all about people and relationships, and I am growing fond of the nurses I see each week. All of them are very kind and work hard to make infusion visits as pleasant as possible. My favorite, though, I’ll call Jeri. She totally gets me and we clicked the first time we met.
Jeri looks at life with a quirky sense of humor and is kind of a goofball. To someone who walks into oncology determined to be miserable, she is probably an irritation. For me, she’s just good medicine.
The first time I had chemo, Jeri immediately picked on my husband, Larry. She asked his name and gave him grief about something. He took it well and kept right up with her. Later, she asked me “Did he even give me his real name?” “Nope,” I said. “His name’s Bruce.” He and I found this way too funny and I think to this day she doesn’t know his real name. Last time, when my friend took me, Jeri just said “Hey, thanks for not bringing the big guy.”
Of course, I would rather not be in chemo. This isn’t what I chose for myself and my family. However, here we are, so we might as well make the best of it. In this, as in life in general, perspective is everything.
I see people each week who sit in the infusion rooms, looking like they have already given up. Granted, their situations may be far more dire than my own, and maybe they have reason to despair. Still, if they are still receiving treatment, there must be some hope. I don’t know their stories, but I can read their faces.
Each patient has his or her own small infusion room, with a curtain across the opening. Most leave curtains open and I try to make eye contact and smile. So far, most avoid eye contact altogether and never smile. I don’t have illusions of making friends with everyone there; I’d just like to be a bright spot in an otherwise dreary place.
We all know misery loves company, and I’d imagine the nurses see enough of that every day. From the little I’ve seen, cheerful patients are not the norm. But are things really that much different there than elsewhere in the world? It seems to me that if my eyes are open, I see miserable people everywhere. Our world is gripped in sin and darkness, with walking casualties everywhere we go. Zombies are real, in a sense–there are walking dead all around.
And so, in the course of my day tomorrow, I pray for the grace to look alive–to show others that Life does exist, and that it’s good. I ask God to allow me the chance to shine bright on even one person in darkness, and have the opportunity to share my story. I want to be good medicine.