Let's go back....
Chapter 1: “Unofficially” – of course
This is not the kind of story you want to fall in love with – because to fall in love with it, is to fall in love with hurt, pain, misery, and death. But maybe, just maybe, through all the showers of tears and rage, you can find a smattering of joy, a sprinkling of happiness, and a whole lot of laughter.
After all, when life hands you an illness…spread it
* * * * * *
I sat in Dr. Mary’s office. She was a smallish woman with short brown hair and monkey teeth. Extremely scary to me when we first met, I soon learned that if I became a compliant patient and heeded her advice, she would like me a lot more. After 2 successful years of terror(or so I felt), I could feel something – maybe genuine like for me - seeping from her and infiltrating the air around me.
But maybe that wasn’t it. Maybe she had something horrible to tell me, like I was dying. Oh my god, that’s it! Oh my god start planning now! my mind screamed.
I felt panic-stricken.
Dr. Mary removed her glasses and eyed me. “Stop looking like that,” she chided.
I clutched my chest. “Like what? Like I’m dying?!” I asked.
She wrinkled her eyebrows. “You’re not dying,” she informed me flatly. “But you’re not getting any better either.”
And this is when I found out I needed a lung transplant.
Unofficially, of course.
I felt the sudden urge to ask Dr. Mary – unofficially of course – if she did in fact, hate or like me, or if she was impartial to both. Maybe she had no feelings about me after all…
Maybe she had no feelings.
Maybe she hated the world and all its tiny children.
Maybe she was a Grinch. After all, she was wearing green today. A festive Grinch.
So there I sat in her hard wooden chair, flashes of tiny children, Grinches, and hatred hot on my brain. Her words – mere doctoral smatterings – failed to reach me, and instead floated into my ears through a concrete tunnel.
“Bree? Are you actually listening to me?” Insert pen tapping angry notebook here. Insert doctor who may or may not hate me, there.
“You said I need a lung transplant.” The wall ahead of me was concaved I noticed.
Dr. Mary sighed.
“Not exactly; you’re still a while off. I had a man as a patient with your lung condition who waited 10 years before deciding it was time for one.” Pen tap.
10 years, I thought. Holy fuck. What a miserable life. Not for me, my mind decided.
Dr. Mary droned on, on to the point that she took the shape and form and sound of a Charlie Brown teacher. Time slowed, babies stopped being born, and she concluded the appointment with the ever-impressionable statement:
“And in the future – lung transplant.”
I was 21; I was 21 and I needed a lung transplant.
“Unofficially”, of course.
* * * *
I skidded, slipped, and slided my way to my ’93 red Ford Tempo shittily parked across the street. The act of slipping and almost falling (subsequently breaking my head apart) left me out of breath. I threw my body into the drivers seat, turned the car on, blasted the heat, and started crying. I cried so hard that my short – of-breathness got worse with the effort of being upset. This just made me more upset.
A lung transplant, my mind reminded me, as if I had forgotten.
I hit the steering wheel. I was having an Oprah moment, where you see a guest talking about a profound or impactful moment that makes go ‘aha!’, or has some great markings on their life.
In my case, this was more like a skid mark. Profound; but at the age of 21, not for the right reasons.
A lung transplant. How does ones brain acknowledge that? How can you register and go about accepting that? Ever?
You put your car in reverse, back out of your shittily parked spot, and you get the hell home.
And then you forget about it.