What do you want first: the good news or the bad news?
So I drove to the medical tower, arriving at 12:05 PM, 25 minutes early for my sonogram. I sat in the car and ate a bento box: brown rice, carrots, black beans, tofu, corn, and all kinds of other yummy goodies and wash it all down with ice cold water. In the car next to me, I saw a woman's feet perched on the dashboard, her well-manicured right hand floating back and forth to her painted lips, daintily delivering the death stick's poison to what I imagine are deeply -seared lungs: why on earth do people still smoke??? Anyway, I enjoyed my lunch and wound my way into the office where I was the sole patient awaiting medical attention. Ten minutes after my arrival and check-in, the receptionist informed me that she had me down for a 1:30 appointment. What??? On the telephone, on a walkie-talkie, in English or in Spanish, 12:30 doesn't sound like 1:30; I know they've messed up. She told me that the diagnostic staff goes on lunch break until 1:30, so I must be mistaken.
Inhale. Exhale. Be at peace, Gail. My mind rewinded the tape to Monday when I read that whenever there is a missed appointment, a delayed flight, or a traffic jam, I should consider it an unexpected opportunity to seek out something to give thanks for, to pray for, and to accept as a chance to relax. When she told me I'd have to wait another hour to be seen, I decided to put my latest life lesson to the test.
I walked casually back to my seat, pulled out a book on spiritual journaling, and began to work through some of the writing exercises. Within fifteen minutes, one of my dear friends, Adelle, walked in with her mother who had a doctor's appointment. We hadn't seen each other in nearly three weeks, so we took advantage of "the mistake" and caught up on the latest work and family news. (She and her husband are both physicians.) She recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica with her husband's family - it turns out her father-in-law was raised there, but she had never been. Loved it! Guanacaste, San Jose, Limon, and many other stops in between. And she brought me back coffee! That's what friends are for, right?
Finally, it was my turn. To their credit, they managed to get me in at 1 PM. Southern hospitality and politeness are the rule even with appointment mix-ups and while reclining topless in an examination chair. Chit-chat and small talk with the technician was interrupted by an ominous silence. She said, "Hmmm, I can't seem to find the fibrous sarcoma that was visible on the earlier films. Let me try again." A couple of attempts later she said, "I'm going to go get the doctor and let her take a look." The doctor came in and performed a second sonogram. She shook her head; "Some women come in with full blown breast cancer and say all they need to do is pray. I tell them that they need surgery AND prayer. In your case, it looks like you got yourself a real miracle. I don't see the fibrous sarcoma at all. Maybe it was just a cyst that we thought was something else." I smiled. "Either way is fine with me; I'll take a miracle anytime I can get it." Yeah for me!!!
I practically sprinted out to the waiting room and told Adelle my good news. We continued our earlier conversation: disciplining children, cheesecake lunches, travel, housework, renovations, landscaping - the usual stuff. All the while I was thinking: "It's gone. It's gone. Thanks be to God; it's gone."
Half an hour later, I set up my portable office (journal, pens, and cell phone with headset) on a bench outside of the Bank of America building where Steve works. He called and congratulated me on my excellent outcome. Two minutes after hanging up with him, Kristiana and Daniel and the rest of their day camp group walked past the bench where I was sitting. They were chatting happily with newfound friends and teachers alike. Five minutes after that, Steve came down to where I was and we celebrated my good news with an "Arnold Palmer" - a truly Southern combination of sweet tea and lemonade. Here's to health, love, and happiness!
It was a glorious day.
I don't think so.
PS. There is no bad news.