We’re gonna schedule a CAT Scan and some other tests. Because of your dad’s history and how young you are.
I watched her doctor eyes, their laser-beam focus, void of emotions, and cringed. I hate that my dad died of kidney cancer and that it comes up when family history questions are asked.
As soon as I pulled up to the hospital parking lot and sandwiched into a spot, they came. Those hot streams of tears. Where do they even come from? I was feeling fine up until now.
They refused to stop, and I pulled myself together long enough to check in, pay, then mark boxes and answer medical questions on the radiology form.
I didn’t expect the emotions that hit when the doctor led me to the room. Lying on cloud-colored crunchy paper, I felt a prick in a vein, and suddenly it hit: this is too close to home.
How did dad feel when he had his first CAT scan?
What was he thinking about when his body moved back and forth under the alien looking orb instructing, ‘Hold your breath. Now breathe.’
With his hands laying flat behind his ears, did he think of mom when the chemical took effect, warming his body with a suffocating sensation as though holding your breath under water a few seconds too long?
Did he consider his days?
While the narrow conveyer beeped hospital dings and slid back and forth, I closed tight my eyes and cried. I cried because I hate thinking of dad in there, wondering about the outcome. I cried thinking about my boys and how much I adore them. I cried because the whole thing, in all its’ medical-ness and sterile-y circumstance hits a little too close to home.
For fifteen minutes, I laid on my back, unable to wipe a small puddle gathering at the base of my neck. And I released myself to those tears.
It stills me to think of the bravery it takes to pay attention and seek answers in the form of medical questions and probing procedures. About how some people do this weekly. Daily. They walk into rooms, alone, while machines buzz and scan and read their bodies. Do they feel scared? Do they cry?
As the iodine wore off, cold shivers replaced warm tingles, and I squirmed my feet, trying not to pee. My teeth chattered as though the room had suddenly become a giant icebox.
And when it was done I ran to the bathroom and bawled. Just sat there on the toilet and bawled. Even though, no matter what, I know I’m going to be fine. Sometimes tears are the only way to express emotions.
It brings to the surface how quickly life shifts, like the temperature of a CAT scan procedure. Hot. Then cold.
And I can’t help but think of so many of you who may feel alone, going through check ups or chemo, or are experiencing internal or external pain, and don’t have a hand to hold, or maybe just need a hug and someone to say, It’s going to be okay.
So I’m telling you, even through my own too close to home tears. You, loved one, you’re going to be okay.