This has been a most eventful day
I picked up Mama soon after 7:00am to go to Dorchester General Hospital in Cambridge, MD. This was the day that she was to have an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) to determine the progress she has made since her esophagal cancer two years ago.
“I’m dreading this,” she confided in me as we were driving over. “I just wish it was over.”
“I don’t blame you, Mama,” I said. “I don’t like it either, and they aren’t even doing it to me.” I did keep her mind somewhat distracted, though, on the way there, because I was in dire need of a ladies room and there seemed to be none with the amenities that appealed to ladies of our upbringing on that long, long road between Bridgeville and Hurlock. I was getting more and more concerned as the miles passed, and even began to look appraisingly at some of the roadside factories and wonder what proximity their ladies rooms might be with the front door.
Just when I thought that there would surely be a catastrophe, we came into the town of Hurlock, and there, right on the edge of town was this ramshackle beer joint/grocery store/ truck stop sort of thing. It looked like it could possibly at least have restrooms (at this point, this was all that mattered) and I hurriedly pulled Mama’s sweet car up in front of it and threw it into park. I did not even bother to turn off the key, and jumped out. As I hastily shut the car door, I tried to ignore the two bedraggled looking black men lounging around an upside down fifty gallon drum, nursing a brown bag and eyeing me with bleary eyes. I hurried down the sidewalk and to the front door. Almost every available window space was covered with homemade white paper banners heralding COORS 12 PACK $—–, BUDWEISER $ —- and BUDWEISER LITE $ —- and PAPST BLUE RIBBON $—–. (and lots of others that I forget!). I tried not to look at them as I sailed through the door. Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find an atmosphere not unlike a slightly rumpled gas station shop. There was everything there — except a sign indicating where the restrooms were. My heart sank as I saw a brown door at the back of the store that had a passage lock and a sign that said:
NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS
BY ORDER OF THE MANAGER
POSITIVELY NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
Except that from where I stood, all I could see was the “No public restrooms” part of the sign. (And my state inspector husband has told me over and over again that no business in Delaware can deny a customer the use of a restroom. It is against the law.) So I sidled up to the checkout counter and looked the ruggedly handsome young Iranian in the eye.
“Sir, I’m sorry. I know your sign says ‘No public restrooms, but I am in desperate need of —” Before I could finish my sentence, he had turned and picked up a key behind him and dropped it into my hand. I was so thankful! I made my way to the back of the store and then I saw the rest of the sign. YIKES! If I had seen it before, I would never have had the courage to ask. (I don’t know what I would have done, but I promise you, it would not have been pretty!) I unlocked the door and pushed it open, wondering what to expect. It was not at all filthy (except some of the inscriptions on the walls) and it smelled of disinfect and soap. It was rather dark, but it was adequate, and all I could think of was how grateful I was for it. I came out, locked the door behind me, made my way back up to the checkout counter and returned the key.
“Thank you,” I said to the young man, wondering how I could delicately express my gratitude. To my surprise, his eyes were cold and contemptuous. I managed another weak attempt at thanks and fled. Through the front doors, past the two men, still lounging by their barrel, and into the safety of Mama’s presence. She did not scold or criticize but she looked somewhat askance.
“I can’t believe you went in there,” she said.
“I almost can’t either,” I said, “but it was necessary!” (It really, really was!)
We made short work of the distance between Hurlock and Cambridge and came safely and on time to the hospital. We were scarcely in when they called Mama to go back to change into the hospital garb, and then they told me to wait in the waiting room until they had the IV started. After about a half an hour, I inquired about whether they had put the IV in yet, and it was another 10 minutes until they let me go back. And then in about ten more minutes they sent me out again because they were ready to take her to surgery.
In a relatively short time, Dr. Murand poked his cheerful, youthful face around the corner and asked for Mrs. Yoder’s family. He waved me out into the hall, and his eyes were so delighted and kind. “Everything went great,” he told me. He waved two pages of repulsive pictures under my nose that he was treating like a delightful Rembrandt painting. “If you look right here, you can see how smooth and healed this is. We have some inflammation here-” (he pointed to a disgusting looking blob of something labeled “Antrum”) “but it isn’t anything to worry about. She looks so good. I didn’t even find anything to biopsy. She is good to go for a year!”
One of the things that Mama was concerned about was that she might need to have the stricture stretched again, so I asked Dr. Murand if he had done that.
“Nope, I didn’t see that as being necessary!” he said. “She is doing so well. There is just this peace about her. I knew the minute I saw her that she was doing good. She was glowing. I think it is her faith and her supportive family (YEAH, US!!!). Everything is just fine!”
“We think our Mama is pretty impressive,” I told him. “She has an incredible will to live, and she just marches on.!”
Then he told me something that was just so special to hear. “You know,” he said, “we have a few people who have come through what she did, and are healthy — at least somewhat healthy. But your mother is far and away the healthiest person we have ever had come through this. She is just amazing!” A person can go on that kind of good news for a very long time!
And then I came flying home and finished up just a few loose ends on my tax records and did a few loads of laundry. Around 3:30, I went to pick up Certain Man (Who had so kindly and graciously gone late to work so that he could get my ladies to their respective centers) and we scrambled to Smyrna to talk to our accountant and give him our paper work. On the way home, we stopped for supper, just the two of us. It has been a very long time since that has happened, and it was just so sweet. Then we came home to discover that Middle Daughter had fed Nettie and Cecilia, (inspite of a rather discouraging day at clinicals) and Youngest Daughter had already left for her quarter final basketball game.
Oh, joy! She was allowed to play tonight. And made 7 points and retrieved 13 rebounds. It would be hard to find a happier girlie tonight in all our fair land.
And so ends this busy, eventful day. Tomorrow, I make soup for quiz meet, and somehow procure two dozen individually wrapped baked goods for them to sell. But I won’t have to worry about getting my taxes together. What a blessed relief that is!