In the middle of the night I woke up obsessing about something I do all the time. I just want to get things over with. Mostly bad, unpleasant things, but often simple ordinary ones too that aren’t horrible at all, until I make them dreadful by wishing them away. Like the last two hours of a work shift. The time spent on a plane. A road trip across the country which has me wanting to whine like a little kid – “Are we there yet??” Waiting to do something or be somewhere or be totally finished with something. I’m not always very good at enjoying the journey.
This wasn’t a dream, because I was awake, tossing around, trying to find a comfortable sleeping position. I imagined myself way back before my life began, in another dimension, with a group of old souls about to embark on our next life adventure. There was excitement, anticipation, high hopes, elation. And me, saying, okay, I’m ready, let’s just get this over with.
Well, I don’t think I can be held totally accountable for the all the weird things my brain comes up with at three a.m.
This morning I drove in to the city to the clinic where my needle biopsy was booked. I made a conscious effort to enjoy the drive through Old Strathcona. Rush hour was over, the sun was shining, I hit lots of green lights. Found a parking spot on P3, took the parking lot elevator to the main floor, walked to the patient elevators and zipped up to the second floor of the clinic. Checked myself in and was told the doctor was running behind. Cheerily said, hey, that’s okay, and sat down to wait.
And wait, and wait, and wait. There was a television blatting away behind my head, so I moved to the front of the room to get away from it. Many different nurses called the names of many different patients for many different doctors. None of them were me. They called for Amelia, and got no response. Same thing with Audrey. After that, every five minutes someone called for either Audrey or Amelia. Finally Amelia sauntered in from God Knows Where. And eventually Audrey and her husband showed up too. Amelia didn’t take long to be seen, but Audrey took for flaming ever. I began to blame Audrey for making my doctor get so far behind. I imagined giving Audrey a little lecture on the importance of not leaving the waiting room. I wondered why Audrey was so damned special and didn’t lose her place in line. I wondered if I could get away with leaving the waiting room to grab a coffee. Stupid annoying Audrey did it. I imagined my file had been misplaced and everyone had forgotten all about me. What the hell were they doing to Audrey, anyway? Amputating her legs?
Eventually Audrey returned with a huge cast on her arm. I decided I shouldn’t hate her anymore. Because obviously we weren’t seeing the same guy. Finally, my name was called (two hours and many magazines later) and I was led down a three-mile long corridor to a little room where two medical students and a doctor introduced themselves to me and asked me lots of questions, gave me lots of information and asked me to read and sign a consent form for the procedure. All three of them took turns poking and prodding at my neck. ( Is there any discomfort? Well there is now. )
I’ve had a needle biopsy before, many years ago, for my thyroid. It wasn’t pleasant, but it wasn’t horrific either. The doctor had to do it twice to get a sufficient number of cells. So when the first student was wielding the needle with the doctor hovering over her shoulder giving her instructions and they decided it should be done again, I wasn’t really surprised. The second student was more aggressive and less afraid to go deep, so her sample was good. Yay. Are we done yet?
I got a band-aid but no lollipop. I was a good patient and helped in the training of two future medical professionals. So good for me. I got that over with.
Deep breaths. Back through the clinic to the parking elevators, remembered where I left the car, paid twelve dollars to get it out of there, did some shopping in a store close to home and then after a quick lunch, crashed for a two hour nap. All that useless hating on poor Audrey zapped a lot of energy I guess.
Tomorrow I will try yet again not to wish so hard for things to be over and done with. It’s so pointless. Everything ends, whether you wish for it or not. Focus on the journey. That’s probably how Audrey lives her life.
What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination, but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive. (Barbara Kingsolver)