I sat on the cold table, hugging the worthless paper gown to my body. I was shivering, but it wasn’t entirely from the chill. I had to admit, some of the shaking was a result of my fear. Was this it? Was I about to find out I was dying while I sat in a frigid room wearing a stupid paper bag for a dress?
I took a deep breath and looked at the TV. Some talk show was on and the group of women were joking around. I wasn’t paying attention so I missed what was said, but it must have been funny. They were all laughing hysterically.
I wanted to laugh. God, how I wanted to laugh. But I couldn’t. I was scared. I stared blankly at the TV as I thought about how my life had slammed on the brakes. Everything was on hold ever since my annual check up came back with “abnormalities.”
Maybe there was nothing wrong, I told myself wishfully. THAT made me chuckle a bit. When you are sent on two follow-up appointments because of “abnormalities,” and then referred to a “specialist,” the chances of nothing were pretty damn low.
I took a deep breath when I heard voices in the hallway. This was it….but they sure were taking a long time to come in. Good Lord people, don’t wait all day to give me bad news. Just come on! But they didn’t come. I waited and sat shivering on the stupid table staring at the television like a deer in the headlights. I looked at it harder to distract myself. Christina Applegate was walking onto the talk-show set. Cool. I always liked her.
“What a treat! Christina Applegate is here to see us today!” announced one of the hosts. There was a bit of the bustle with all the hellos and hugs for her guest appearance. For a moment, I forgot I was cold.
The hosts seemed to continue to fuss all over her. One of them even appeared to wipe their eyes, like they were crying. “Good Lord, let the woman sit down,” I muttered.
Christina was finally able to take her place among the hosts. Like usual, she seemed so normal to me. Well, not normal looking. Hell, she looked like pin up girl out of a magazine and that was not normal. However, I had always found something real about her, like I could relate to her on some level. Genuine. Yeah, that was it. She seemed genuine. OK, genuinely perfect, but genuine nonetheless.
“Christina, it is a pleasure to see you!” said the lead host.
“Thank you Whoopie.”
“Sorry we all just attacked you. I think I can speak for all of us. We are just thrilled to see you. And I must say, you look stunning my dear.”
“Why thank you. You are a sweetheart.”
“Yes, of course I am. But, we are here to talk about you, and it’s something you have been hesitant to talk about. Right?” probed Whoopie.
“Yes. I am. I am ready to talk about it now though…”
What? What was so serious for this woman? Did she break nails? Did she not find the right gown in the right color? Was she too pretty? Did she have too much money? “Oh, I wish I had the problems of the rich and famous,” I muttered.
“…I was diagnosed with cancer this past year…”
Just then the door opened and in walked the doctor and nurse. I turned to them as they entered. Their look was serious. I forced a smile, a cold fake smile.
“Sorry for the wait Mrs. O’Clair. We needed to check some things before we spoke to you. Before I have you get dressed, I need to draw more blood real quick and take one more look, if that is ok.”
My response was curt, maybe too curt, but I just couldn’t wait anymore. “No. Just tell me what you have to tell me. Then you can take the blood and I can just leave after that. I am tired.”
I heard Christina’s voice while they paused…”I was just so tired all the time…” I looked at the TV behind the pale-faced doctor and nurse.
“If that is what you wish Mrs. O’Clair. I will just get to the point then. You have cancer and we need to discuss options…”
I couldn’t hear his voice anymore. I was listening to Christina.
“…I thought if I finally went public with it, I just might be able to help someone else….”
She had cancer too, but she looked so perfect still.
“…I will give you some time to digest this all Mrs. O’Clair, but we should decide on something this week. We will need to schedule whatever option ….” droned the doctor.
I felt a tear run down my clammy cheek and I wiped it away. Suddenly, a thought came to mind that made me start laughing. I laughed until more tears fell and the nurse came over to console me. I couldn’t stop laughing. Just a few minutes ago, I had wished for the problems of the rich and famous.
And here I was, I had the same problem as Christina Applegate, and all I really wanted was to have the problem of too much money. I laughed harder and mumbled. “I guess I should have been more specific.”