There was a line at the elevators this morning at the cancer center. It seemed we all parked, at the same time and we all met at the elevators, at the same time.
There were the patients with their masks on, dressed in jeans and Baltimore team jerseys. Clearly they came comfortable, knowing that the morning would stretch into the afternoon. Treatment is never quick.
There were the visitors carrying the latest magazines and get well cards. They were dressed to inspire. When you’re a cancer patient in the hospital, it’s always nice to see family and friends and if they dress in bright Spring colors, the mood in the hospital room is uplifted. It’s a mental thing. It might sound crazy, but it works.
And then there were the parents. And there was the son. I noticed them in the crowded elevator because the Dad was totally confused about what floor they needed to go to and how to navigate the lobby once they got there. The Mom had the cancer center tote bag completely packed. Newspapers, book, cell phone, notepad; she was ready for a day at Hopkins. The son just walked purposefully to the check in area. He was on a mission.
Everyone went their separate ways. A typical day of treatment and outpatient care.
My day moved from meeting to meeting in the building I have come to know so well, with the occasional flashback of cancer days with Leroy.
The day complete, I turned the corner to get to those same elevators and there was the “Mom” sitting in a lobby chair, reading her book. I remembered this stranger from the elevator ride because of her bright blue blouse. I stopped mid-step and turned back to say “Wow, you’ve had a long day?” She smiled, with tears in her eyes, and said “My son, he’s still in surgery. It will be a few more hours.”
I asked if I could get her anything, she shook her head ‘no’ and I told her I hoped it would all work out.
She said “it will.”
The long days of cancer are exhausting.