Tuesday, December 11, 2018
I was in a hospital, receiving radiation treatments. My grandmother, who died in 1984, was there too. Right next to me, holding my hand.
For some reason the doctors had decided to sedate me. As I drifted in and out of consciousness I watched the laser's cross hairs crawling around on my chest and thought, If this is what dying is like, I guess it won't be so bad.
The nurse who was taking care of me discovered that I didn't even know why these treatments were necessary. She was appalled that no one--especially my own doctor--had talked to me about this beforehand. That's when I realized the seriousness of my situation.
After the treatment they took me to a recovery room. I asked the nurse what she would do if she were in my situation. She seemed reluctant to offer advice, as if answering my question might be breaking some kind of rule. But finally she suggested I look up a Dr. Owen. "She's female," she said, which I understood was a clue that would help me distinguish her from all the other Dr. Owens.
The whole time we were talking my grandmother kept interrupting. She'd always been hard of hearing and needed things to be repeated. Plus, she had a lot of questions of her own. It made it hard for me to follow what the nurse was trying to tell me.
I finally had to ask my grandmother to let me speak with the nurse alone. But by the time my grandmother had left the room, the nurse was gone, too.