Blue Moon was the last beer I drank, at my favorite campus bar. I left the orange perched on the rim of the glass; I needed beer unbothered. It’s unpretentious, tame beer; I needed that, too. As if a mundane beer choice could somehow balance the blow of it being my last.
Last week I awaited a different kind of last, one infused with cautious optimism and cruel pragmatism. Monday was my final hematology followup, a return to the land of bad blood and beige chairs. “Sooooo, we’re going to have to draw some blood today,” the nurse said as I walked back to a room furnished with a blue chair in each corner. As if they worshiped the wall-mounted display of needles, gauze and tiny tubes. As if I didn’t know what was coming.
I sent my infusion room nurses a thank-you card in May, gratitude and pain weaved together in awkward prose. I wonder if it nests among the cards taped to the cupboards. I wonder what’s inside the cupboard beyond the cards; syringes and Band-Aids and maybe the tacky, tan wraps that leave my arm indented for a few minutes after I unwind the bandages.
No more weekly infusion room visits, hematology appointments or hazy wandering the hospital hoping for casual eye contact with a hot medical resident. I forgot how to be well. Continue reading