The computer keeps crashing
they said, apologetically. That’s why
you’ve been waiting so long. She has
to compare this set of scans
with the last one, so please wait
a little longer. The phone game
is almost distracting enough,
as the pink-clad women sweep in
and out. Some chatter, relieved –
that’s done. An hour passes; three
different nurses come in to apologize.
My heart jumps each time they say
my name. The computer’s crashing
every time your files come up; the IT guy
is here now. I don’t tell them the same
thing happened six months ago. I do
start wondering if I’m a little cursed.
While I wait, I wonder how I will
take the news, if it’s bad. If they say,
the cancer’s back. Will I burst into
sudden tears? They’re used to that,
surely. Will I be so calm and stoic
that they will ask me, as my first
doctor did – do you understand
what I just said? I am a writer,
and so I rehearse various scenes,
try out the dialogue, when the game
is not quite distracting enough.
Finally, they pull me into the hall
and hand me the sheet that says:
benign. They say, she couldn’t
quite get the last one up, but
she thinks it’s fine; she’ll call you,
if there’s any problems. Great,
I say. What else can one say?
Head home, where I do not need
to decide how I will take the news;
how I will tell Kevin, the kids.
I will always be a cancer patient
– barred from giving blood, subject
to a higher level of scrutiny for every
small illness or injury. Today, though,
the only decision to make is whether
to have sushi or Thai to celebrate.
One year cancer-free. Huzzah.