Tuesday, September 7, 2010

D Day Minus 173 (September 17, 2009): (Part 1) What the Eff?

“What the eff?” I whispered under my breath to you after I was bamboozled. You shook your head, but managed to keep your eyes glued to the bamboozler, and smirked. It happened:
  • right in broad daylight,
  • right in the middle of the Phase I Clinical Trial Waiting room,
  • right during a commercial by an ambulance chasing lawyer for a lawsuit on a drug gone wrong, and 
  • right at MD Anderson - the world class cancer center.
You pretended to be in deep concentration filling out some forms, so you wouldn’t be bothered. I was a sitting duck, a caged animal, with no place to hide. Some guy, handed me two pens, waited for eye contact, then handed me a card saying he was deaf and needed donations to survive.  I couldn't believe what just happened, so I smiled like an idiot and did what I always did– went down the path of least resistance – and forked over five bucks and some change.

“At least we have souvenir pens?” You said kind of louder than I wanted you to.  So I nudged you to be quiet.

“Mom, he said he is deaf. So he can’t hear and if he isn’t, then it doesn’t matter.” Then we both started to laugh at the irony of it all. Some 'deaf' guy pedding for donations to survive off the cancer patients. The cancer patients who didn’t have any other options to survive themselves. Or else they wouldn't be held captive in the waiting room, where they could be bamboozled.   The more we thought about it, the funnier it got.  So we played a few rounds of 'what’s worse roulette': being deaf or having cancer; being partially deaf and having a good cancer with options; being deaf and having cancer.  I teased, "This all sucks, doesn't it?" You nodded mirroring my naughty smile.  Then we both said, "You've got to have a sense of humor."

The grand arrival of the Jolly Trolley interrupted the roulette lightning round. But it was okay. We had a good laugh.  Now I had something different to tease you about.  The infamous and legendary Jolly Trolley.  You told me tales of its existance, but I thought it was only a ghost.  In all the times, I'd been to MD Anderson, this was the first time it materialized.  You were right, it did have complimentary coffee, tea, and mints, and a happy volunteer playing the role of conductor.  It didn't  have what I really wanted - gum and diet contraband.  I told you that and meant it.  And that made you smile.  All of this effing business made us forget (or tolerate) that your appointment with destiny (and Dr. F.) was already two hours late.  I got distracted watching the drama of the waiting (and I meant that on so many levels) room unfold and forgot to tell you -- "Life is stranger than fiction. You can't make this crap up."

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