If you haven’t read Chapter 1: The Presence of Absence, start there.
January 15th, 2017
She was diagnosed last spring when she suddenly went aphasic. They found cancer in her brain and abdomen; the two cancers were, surprisingly, not related. Cancer rarely forms in the brains of adults on its own, it’s generally metastasized from somewhere else.
Operable. A tumor the size of a baseball came out of her head, and two liters came out of her abdomen.
I looked at a baseball after the surgery. Held in up next to my head in the mirror. How is this possible?
A two liter bottle next to my body. She’s not a large woman, in height or in girth.
But it got better, it gets better, it always gets better, right? Nausea wasn’t an issue, but her appetite never really came back. Just didn’t want to eat.
Slept a lot.
And then my wife told me she was getting worse, so she went back home to help take care of her mom, and then I got sick; the doc says it’s not influenza, but I’ve never been flattened for two days by a common cold before.
You don’t put someone like me in the same room with someone who is weakened and immunocompromised. I can’t make her better, but I won’t make her worse.
Haven’t seen my wife for a week and a half. I wake up whenever the coughing starts, take some medicine, eat a bit, check my messages.
And go back to sleep. There’s nothing I have to do, there’s no dinner to be prepared, my work is only part time at the moment, and I’m too sick to go anywhere.
Seen everything on cable.
So I just wait. Prepped the black formal suit, found the black tie, polish down the shoes because spitshines aren’t appropriate at times like these.
I hope she gets better, but sooner or later the captain is going to ask her to put her seat in its upright and locked position, and to stow her tray table.
And today the ambulance took her to the emergency room. Was that the announcement chime?
Are you sure we can’t re-route to a different airport, captain? Just for a while?