top of page

Day 211

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

An unusually disorganized start to my day put me right into rush hour. Consequently, I had to skip the breakfast event I wanted to attend, which left me with a small window in my to-do list.

I decided to take the time to go to urgent care. I’d heard there was medication you can take before public speaking that would keep you from having a panic attack. As Constance’s dedication draws close, my anxiety about it has grown exponentially. It’s like the ticks up the side of a rollercoaster’s hill. I’ve never found the plunge exhilarating—it’s just a terrifying plummet.

Going into the doctor’s office, I felt ashamed. I felt like asking for help was an injustice to Constance. However, the fact is that her death was horrible and I should feel horrible about it. I waited for the visitors’ lot to empty from the morning rush but, when that didn’t happen, I went in. In front of the crowded lobby, the receptionist asked the reason for my visit. Looking over my shoulder, I whispered, “I’d like to speak to the doctor about it.” The seeming intrigue made all the snifflers look on. Realizing they probably all thought I had the clap or something dreadful, I clarified, “It’s not gynecological or anything...I mean, I haven’t even had sex since I was here last week about the sinus’s not that.” The receptionist put down her pen and said, “Okay...” I looked over my shoulder and started again, “It’s not about that stuff at all...” Then, seeing the hole I was digging, I sat down next to someone who made me happy I’d gotten the flu vaccine last week. The receptionist went back to her solitaire.

When I was called back into the private office, a woman with a name tag that read “Mary - Nurse” asked why I was there again. I said, “It’s kind of personal.” She replied bluntly, “You need an STD test?” “No, it’s sensitive.” “Well, I’m the nurse so you’ve got to tell me why you’re here.” “On Sunday, I have to speak at my late daughter’s dedication. I’m feeling nervous about it and I was told there’s something you can take to help with public speaking.” Mary said, “I lost a child too. He died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at 32.” “I’m so sorry to hear that,” I said. Handing me a box of tissues, she proceeded to ask all the questions about Constance that medical professionals ask, such as what happened to her, the care she received, if she had siblings, and if I plan to have other children. She also allowed me to ask her questions about her loss.

Mary looked intensely in my eyes. Mary’s advice was: “If you feel like you need to cry, just cry. Don’t hold it in. When you’re out of tears you’ll get a moment's peace.” She also said, “Talk about her as much as you want, whether other people want to hear it or not.” I used to work in the ER and people didn’t want to hear about him but I wanted to remember him. He lived and I remember.” I was so impressed by her strength.

She shared her life’s journey since her son passed. I gave her my contact information and asked if it was okay if we stayed in touch. She said yes and we hugged.

After Mary left, the doctor and his assistant entered the room. He had been briefed and asked specific medical questions about Constance’s treatment.

The doctor tried to comfort me by saying, “Well, you can imagine her in heaven.” I replied, “I’m just sad about what she’s lost. I’m sad she won’t experience adulthood.” To that, he replied, “All of us lead different lives and our lives are all different lengths but that it doesn’t make them less-than. Take me, for example. I’ll never get to be an astronaut but it doesn’t make my life less important.” I didn’t buy the analogy but I appreciated the calories he was burning trying to comfort me.

The doctor said he’d prescribe me a beta blocker for the dedication. He said I will still be anxious and nauseous, but it would slow down my heart rate. He told me to try it beforehand, in case it made me faint. I said I would.

He then gave me some speech advice, “Imagine that instead of a room full of people there’s just one person. It’s okay if you cry. In fact, you can tell people you’re going to cry and they can just deal with it.” He then told me about one of his friends who lost their three-year-old to a brain tumor. He asked to see photos of Constance and even watched a video of her on my phone. When I left the appointment, my discharge paperwork included the name of a foundation for childhood brain tumors.

Sometimes, people are just amazing.


Recent Posts

See All

2 commenti

Membro sconosciuto
13 ott 2018


Mi piace

Membro sconosciuto
12 ott 2018

Day 212 is at

Mi piace
bottom of page