It’s not unusual to see some patients wearing masks inside the cancer center. When immune systems take the brunt of chemotherapy and other treatments zap our own power to fight off even the simplest of germs, there is a need to take precautions and a mask can help with that.
But an image has stayed with me from a few days ago that I just can’t shake. It seemed like everywhere I turned in the lobby of the cancer center, everyone was masked. Small children being wheeled by their care givers were wearing masks. Patients attached to T-stands and IV drips walking the open area were in masks. The people I rode the elevator with were also wearing masks.
When Leroy was at Hopkins the masks were a pale blue color: solid blue with white ties. No more, just like the nurses uniforms that now come in patterns from cartoon characters to flowered patterns, masks have evolved too. Some are multicolored, others have patterns on them, and I’m sure that’s all a part of an elaborate marketing survey to make patients feel less like patients.
But that day it was imagery overload. It was cancer overload.