8:15 a.m. And so it begins. With a doughnut run. We never eat doughnuts. Yet CC, she can’t eat processed foods and sugars for the next year, deems this the perfect, Last Hurrah/Fuck You Chemo! stint. She gets the biggest pastry in site: Apple Fritter. We pretend the apple bits are healthy as clumps of glazed sugared dough falls all over her black sweater.
9 a.m. Turns out there’s no special chemo unit in the hospital—it’s a special chemo space at the Oncologist’s office. Momentarily, my Hospital Savvy blurs into Chemo Clueless. Give me the ICU or Cardio wing any day. The Chemo Lounge is it’s own beast.
Like any decent lounge there’s an ice machine and water dispenser…but that’s it.
No bowl of cocktail peanuts or honor bar.
No flat screen TV’s rolling CNN.
There is a bowl of hard candy (good to suck on during chemo to keep your mouth moist) next to the wig display.
That’s right: The wig display—in case you forgot why you were here—is centrally located and visible from the Chemo Lounge’s waiting area (4 chairs methodically lined up against a half wall room divider) and almost every barcolounger in the joint.
Caveat—the only reason I knew there’d be “barcoloungers” in the lounge is because my Maid of Honor went through Chemo Hell two decades ago and her off handedly mentioning, “Sitting in the barcolounger with the tube in my chest….” has yet to leave me.
“Help me pick out a good spot,” says CC. We start wandering the room, sitting in every available recliner—look around, take in the view and feel of each space. We Goldilocks our way around the lounge and settle for a spot in a corner facing 4 other chairs flanked by windows.
I open the vertical blinds so CC can see some blue sky. Except it’s gray. For the first time in months, it rains in Santa Monica, California. “CC look,” I say, “The angels are crying for you.”
“No,” She’s quick to decide, “I believe it’s washing away all the bad for a fresh, clean beginning.”
To be continued….