Last time I saw my oncologist was on a warm, sunny day—or at least it should have been, being in July. I don’t really remember. Last Friday I was scheduled to see him again. Because the only opening that worked for me did not work for my husband, and because I would be travelling at rush hour, I chose to take the light rail, just as I did for those two months of radiation.
I sat in my usual place; how easy to fall back into old patterns. I remembered to run once I got off the first train—down the sidewalk, across two streets to the train platform where I caught my second ride. I made it with a minute to spare. Which put me at the medical clinic well ahead of my appointment time, since I had allowed for the possibility of missing that connection.
In the waiting room I watched people come and go. An elderly woman, face pale and drawn, passed me with slow, unsteady steps. I said a silent prayer for her. A middle-aged man with balding head and expanding midsection greeted the receptionist cheerfully. She called him by name and seemed to know him well; this was apparently not his first visit. A young couple, baby in stroller, entered with a middle-aged woman. None had any obvious signs of illness, and I wondered which was the cancer patient. They, too, seemed quite familiar to the woman behind the desk.
I waited again in the examining room. Friday afternoon is not the best time for an appointment. Especially when it’s the day before your doctor goes on vacation. He walked into the room, sat down, and asked how I was. “Doing well,” I answered.
“Well, good. See you in six months,” he said, getting up and opening the door. We both laughed as he sat back down. We talked about upcoming trips, both his and mine. We talked about minor aches and pains, and how to deal with them. Eat more bananas for those toe cramps, he said. He examined me and proclaimed all to be well.
I rode light rail home in the evening darkness, feeling grateful for modern medicine, for caring doctors, and for a God who is with me, no matter what.