Holy Shit

Cancer Galore. Young folks riddled with mean masses made possible by god knows what. Sirens and buzzes and beeps and chirping and hissing—more noise than I’m even letting on. Rush! Prioritze! Delegate! Breast, colon, and brain cancer…It’s so much more than you think. A tube in your gut, down your nose, your throat—a line in your heart…medical nutrition, Yum! No tears. Brushing a beautiful 26 year-old man’s teeth while he blinks his response to my questions, once for yes and twice for no. His eyes are big and brown. He has lashes like Snuffaluffagus, a gorgeous sleep-deprived wife, and tubes coming out of 4 delicate places. Christian music, “Praise the Lord!” Rectal suppositories to break a nasty fever. Cooling sheet. Tube feeds. Drowning. Suctioning. Praying. Faith. Faith in what, I wonder? I’ve seen too much by now. No negative talk. Surrender. Work. Be. One less breast. Bra conundrum. Round, sweet, wise little boy named after one of my favorite saints—playing interpreter because I don’t speak her language.” Wear this until your follow-up appointment”  She stands bare chested in front of her children and  husband without a lick of self-consciousness—I wonder much about that. Holy space. 32 days in the joint—I mean, hospital. Two surgeries. Nothing by mouth. Nothing by mouth. Nil Por Os. NPO. Nothing by mouth. Nothing by mouth. Patio privileges. Shit—I forgot to get her patio privileges.  Still so gracious. So mellow. She’s Buddha. Straight catheterization every four hours. Radiation damage. Antibiotics. Nasogastric tube. Tubes. Tubes. Tubes. Untangling tubes and wires and cords for eternity. Private parts no longer private.  Narcotics. Antipsychotics. Blood. Waste. Waste. WASTE. holy fuck….THE WASTE. Life still being lived. Neurons firing faster than anything I can think of besides my firing neurons. Smiling through the suffering. Laughter. Pain. Hope. My heroes make me work for it. Jesus saves— Your soul maybe—but not your body. At least not this time. It’s all so holy. All of it.

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