My mom never went to appointments by herself. Except for little things, like a check up. I made sure of that. She was never alone. She often got concerned that she was taking up too much of my time. She never wanted to put anyone out. She even figured out how to take a cab to her radiation treatments, just in case I couldn’t help. But it never happened. And she never wanted to be alone.
Really. I wouldn’t have given up a single one of those appointments. The waiting. The little kid of mine sitting and reading books in the lobby while we waited for her oncologist. Not a single visit gave me a single regret.
We used to watch the women coming in alone, and leaving alone. She would always tell me, in her big girl voice, “See, I could do that.” But every time, she would tell me how glad she was that I could drive her, be with her, care for her.
“Nobody should have to go by themselves.” I hung on to that idea with all the fierce intensity that I could muster. It made me so sad, I wanted to get the phone numbers of all the people who were arriving alone and pick them up for their next session.
I sat through radiation for her and 12 years before, I sat through chemo and radiation with dad. A few years before the cancer, I nearly carried her to the clinic, dehydrated and very, very ill from an intestinal parasite that was trying to kill her. I dragged her to the doctor. Because no one should have to be sick alone.
Tomorrow morning, I ride the city bus to the hospital for an MRI. I’ve only had an open sided MRI, and we need a better picture, to help all the puzzled practitioners figure out what the hell is going on in my shoulder and my neck. I’ll be taking a tranquilizer on the bus, and another when I arrive.
Wow. That should knock me out.
I will arrive alone. I will have the test alone. I will wait until my husband picks me up. He isn’t the most timely of folks, and he will have my 6 year old with him, and be rushing to work shortly afterwards, so after the procedure, I will likely be alone.
It’s so weighted, this word, “alone”. My single friends remark at how lucky I am to have children and a husband. I am. Even though my kids and husband are all sick, I still have them. I am lucky. I am blessed. And, at the MRI, I am still alone.
What would someone sitting there do for me? I’ll be drugged. So, likely not feeling claustrophobic. The last MRI I took the bus to and from. It’s not being alone that gets me. It’s the idea that I don’t have anyone to sit with me like I sat with my mom. There is no one to hold my hand like my mother would. There isn’t anyone to be there.
I am so lucky that Lyme is not an illness that lands me in the emergency room very often. The last time that happened, my bp was seriously low and the doc told me to go to the ER. I took the bus. 2 buses in fact. And, people do this alone every day.
I’ve always heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around,” thinking that all the care, concern, and being-right-there-ness that I have always had for others would mean that I wouldn’t be alone, in a waiting room. But I’m learning the world doesn’t operate the way I believed it did. I don’t want it to mean that I am not loved. I know that isn’t true.
I just never thought I’d be alone.