Living in the Realm of Possibilities

August 19: PET scan day. Two days ago, someone from the Oncology Department called to say I could eat and drink before six-thirty the morning of the scan, which is scheduled for10:30. I ate one half of a Rice Krispy Treat at six, took my morning medications, and went out to the garage.

The garage door wouldn’t open.

(Ryan would fix the problem later; It was an outlet problem. Last night’s storm had tripped something or other.) I panic and call Ryan, who takes me to the hospital.

I get to the hospital with little time to spare. The PET scan takes place in a trailer outside the hospital. I am lifted inside by a little outside elevator. When the technician learns I had half a Rice Krispy Treat, he is alarmed: I should have been fasting since midnight. Apparently, sugar can throw the test off. He tests my blood. It’s okay—I can go ahead with the scan. I’m totally flustered—the garage door, the rush to the hospital, incorrect information from the Oncology Department. The technician is kind, soft-spoken. I calm down. I have the PET scan. The technician walks me back into the hospital to hand me over to Ryan, who we see walking toward us. Ryan, focused on finding a seat near Radiology and unused to seeing me in the company of a man, walks past. “Ryan,” I say. He turns. “Grandma!”

Ryan and I eat lunch at a restaurant on the way home. As soon as he leaves my house, I pour a glass of iced tea, the glass slips, I grab it in my right hand and CRUSH it, cutting my middle finger. I take a blood thinner. Blood, all over. I think of calling Ryan, but know I can handle this. I wind a tourniquet (wide rubber band from kitchen desk drawer) around my finger to stop the bleeding, then treat the gash with an antiseptic, and wrap it in gauze and tape. I wipe up the blood, pick up the glass shards, and vacuum the floor. I’m proud of myself for not calling Ryan.

August 20: There’s a storm during the night. My dogs are petrified of storms. They both jump in bed with me. I cram Schatzi under the covers because she’s better off not hearing the thunder god. BoPeep prefers to sit up, so she can escape if necessary. When the storm is over, she lies down on top of the quilt, falls asleep.

When I get up at seven, I’m glad I cleaned up the broken glass and that my kitchen is spotless.  My finger hurts, but I ignore the pain.

I put on a little makeup. I’m still in a daze about the cancer.

The oncologist calls with the PET scan results in late afternoon. The spot on my lung lit up and so did a small lymph node. Good news: Nothing else lit up. His office will call to schedule a biopsy.

August 21: Wish the oncologist’s office would call. I’m walking around with cancer inside me. Help! Is the cancer growing? It must be. How long was it there before the CT scan found it? Let’s start getting rid of it!

Next Post: Literally, alarm bells go off

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