Saturday, December 16, 2017

Gift Horses Sometimes Have Bad Breath

I was walking down the hallway after work, paying not a bit of attention to my surroundings.  I had my keys in my hand, and was searching through my purse for my driving sunglasses.  I passed a young man, and my brain made a note.  Just a note, though, because I work in a school, and I pass quite a few young men.  Unless something they do triggers my "spidey sense",  I go about my business. 

Except on this day.  On this day I hear a voice.

"Oh pardon me! Where are my manners?"  I looked up.  This particular young man, who had been heading the other way, runs past me to open the door.  To hold said door. For me. I smiled and thanked him.  I continued to smile as I made my way to my car, a warm feeling around my heart. What a nice young man, I thought. 

And as I shut the door and put the key in the ignition, something hit me.  It was the thought that that nice young man held the door for me because I reminded him of his mother. What-what-what? I started feeling as though I couldn't breath, signaling the start of a panic attack.  Do I actually look old enough to be someone's mom?  I AM someone's mom, of course, but he's only ten, not twenty-something.  Crap. 

I started inhaling for an eight count, then exhaling slowly.  My brain just kept on rolling along with the "old" comments.  The generally pleasant feeling that I had just before I got into my car had tumbled into the depths, as it does.  I knew that I had to ride this particular train of thought to its destination.

Sometimes I overthink things.  I just have to look in the Gift Horse's mouth, try to find a motive in a behavior when perhaps there isn't one.  This was one of those times.  I shook my head as I pulled into the parking lot of my son's school. 

The truth is that I don't really feel old.  I feel tired, creaky, and cranky sometimes, not old.  I have my AARP card, and am ready to whip it out at a moment's notice to get my discount of whatever, but I don't feel old. Does anyone out there who IS actually what could be considered old(90s?), actually consider themselves old?    

Men and women sometimes hold doors open for the person behind them, just to be nice. Today wasn't the first time that had happened in my life.  When I was younger and men held a door open for me, I was just flattered at the consideration and the kindness.  What was different now?   Nothing. Someone did something nice for me.  Kindness is always welcome in my life.  I didn't need to worry over the motive behind someone else's good deed.  I just needed to be thankful for it.  

That I can do. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Learning to Roll with the Punches

I got a phone call this week from some random guy named Roy or Ray. (I have trouble with other people's enunciation)  He left me a message "regarding your upcoming appointment."  Sometimes such a phone call means that a surgery has been scheduled or the doctor will be out of town.  A couple of years ago, it meant more bad news about my cancer, but those days were over.  When I finally had a moment to call back, Roy/Ray/whatever had bad news.  My oncologist had decided that he was done working with actual patients.  He was heading back to research, and leaving me, and many other patients, behind.  Too bad, too sad.  Pick up your chart and go home. Thank you and goodbye. 

This was a complete shock.

My oncologist, who I'd been seeing since December of 2014, was dumping me.  I was angry, stunned, and hurt. All that time and effort that I'd put into training that man so he understood my crazy, and he was leaving me.  As an Army brat, I got dumped often, the cost of moving so often.  It wasn't anyone's fault, but once you were no longer around, kids forgot about you.   They just stopped writing, or answering my calls, or being around when I visited.  As someone who had trouble making friends in the first place, this hurt.  I didn't understand. 

But a doctor is different, one might say.  A relationship with a doctor is a business relationship.  Surely those don't count?  Such silliness.  Patient-doctor relationships have a monetary component, true.  However, there is very definitely a relationship, at least to me.  I've had the same dentist since I was twelve. I have been seeing the same Ob-Gyn since 1987. I've been seeing my Primary Care doctor since the 90s.  He gets a copy of every report generated by all of my other doctors, and he actually reads them.  I certainly wouldn't get such attention from a Doc-in-the-Box, and that is why I call it a relationship.   I panicked, but then I handled it.  This wasn't my first rodeo, after all.  I called my Primary Care Doctor's office, and left a message.  He called me later that day.

"I'm freaking out," I told him about the phone call.

"Oh no!" my doctor said, in his usual cheerful voice. "No wonder you're freaking out."  

"Do you know any oncologists?"

In my mind was a completely ridiculous idea that all physicians knew each other, but I was freaking out, remember?  Fortunately, my doctor did indeed know an oncologist.  He gave me the number.   I told him that I felt better, which made him feel better.  Good relationships are like that. 

Time to roll with the punches.  I called and made an appointment with the new oncologist the very next day.  Next week I will continue my cancer journey with someone new.  I will attempt to be patient with him, since he won't have any idea about my general crazy. 

Wish me luck!

Friday, December 8, 2017

So This Happened

Actual flakes!
San Antonio is known for it's generally balmy winter weather.  We don't tend to have temperatures below freezing. Most of us don't even bother to have a "winter" wardrobe, because winter here means that you might need a light jacket.  Sometimes we have hard freezes, with sleet and yucky driving, but those are not the norm.

The last significant snowfall was in January of 1985, when we were visited by an entire FOOT of the white fluffy stuff.  It was lovely, and the world grew quiet.  Except we were snowed in for THREE days, because there wasn't a snowplow within 400 miles.  Everyone went a bit stir crazy that week.  A foot of snow in the North wouldn't have been a big deal, but in San Antonio?  Whoa.

We all heard the whispers, the rumors. The local weathermen tried using words like "probable, but not likely".  Their caution did nothing to stop the excitement. Even the teenagers were hopeful, but the kids?  The kids were beside themselves, reciting every prayer that they knew, their bodies quivering in anticipation.

Because maybe...Snow!

It had been raining all day, a chilly kind of damp that seeped into my bones.  We were all at home as the night descended, when my mom texted me to say that her friend on the other side of town had snow. I was suspicious, but then my friends began excitedly texting about the same thing. New Braunfels has snow!  I was still skeptical, but then Maisy demanded to go outside.  I looked out the back door to see rain, and...something else.  At first I thought that it was sleet, but the flakes were too fluffy, and they drifted lazily toward the ground.  

My response after seeing this was disbelief.  It couldn't be!  I texted my mom to ask if this was snow, because it had been so long.  Larry, Zane, and I headed outside, and ALL of our neighbors were outside staring at the sky. SNOW!!  Laughter echoed in the cold air. All of our daily concerns were put on hold.  Everyone we could see snapped pictures, built snow people, made snow angels, had snow ball fights, and just got caught up in the moment.

The amazing thing about snow is that for a few delightful moments, it covers up slight imperfections in the world, and you start to feel as though you are in a painting.  The ugliest places become brighter.  Trees become ethereal.  Everything gets quieter.  It's blissful.   My normally grumpy husband practically glowed with excitement as he began rolling up as much snow as possible into a ball so that he could make a snowman.  It made me happy to see him happy.  Zane was all about the fun, until his hands got cold.  He was in and out, playing.   I spent my time going from the back door to the front, content to snap pictures and watch the world become magical.

Such wonder is always fleeting.  As soon as the sun rose, the snow was gone. It was as if it had never been.

The memories remain to remind us of wonder.