Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the big house

Judging by the size of cancer buildings I would say cancer is big business here in the states. I have known too many people affected by cancer but before I got it I didn't really notice the buildings. Now I see them all over town. Some blend in with all the other office buildings. Some are part of other medical offices. Some just are so huge they jump out at you. From the outside, they are not so bad. But once you walk through the door it is another story. My onc is housed in a building that looks like any other office building. One that doesn't look too different than the last place I worked. But step inside the door and find a gigantic lobby full of way too many chairs. Offices on one side, the entrance to radiation therapy along another wall. Receptionists wearing 'cancer sucks' buttons. Around the corner is the room full of the chemo chairs. When dw and I went there we were instantly uncomfortable. It felt like a place for sick people. I'm not sick and felt like I was in the wrong place. I sure didn't feel like going back. Oddly enough, this is the same cancer house my sis-in-law goes to. We almost had the same tod but I switched appts and ended up with a different one. I think someday I will have to go back and visit the onc again but I am avoiding the radiation and chemo rooms. They scare me maybe more than the slice and gut. I don't want to be one of the sick people.

The other cancer house I go to is huge. I have been there a few times to use the cancer library. It is an intimidating place to enter. The first floor alone is about 100 feet high, no joke. Very fancy, too. The place is encased in marble and glass. I had to warn dw before the genetics counselor appt that you have to prepare yourself to enter this building. I wanted us to be in a good mood for our meeting. I wanted the counselor to get down to business and not be distracted by any tears or fears. You can feel good but once you go through the sliding doors it can take your breath away. One must be focused and ready to enter. The first time I went in there I didn't know where I was going. I went to the info desk but there was some woman there crying and talking to the receptionist. I think she was having a little breakdown so I wandered around looking on my own. At our appt, a woman shouted out that she had just finished her last appt and was 10 years cancer free. Applause broke out in the waiting area. I couldn't help thinking that I was just beginning. When we were done, we took the stairs down. This staircase is massive and fancy and very likely little used in this building full of sick people. It winds from the second floor to the lobby and has more stairs than the three flights I take to get to my apartment. One slip down this sucker and you might not have to worry about cancer anymore. It has big marble steps. I wish I could steal one of the steps. Then I probably wouldn't have to worry about how to pay for the surgeon of my choice. This is where my social worker is housed as well. I had to calm myself outside the building for about five minutes before I could enter as I was afraid my heart was going to bust out of my chest. Luckily the big house is on top of a hill and offers a view of the whole valley and salt lake. Not a bad place to chill. I laugh to think that I used to bring visitors over to the top of the parking garage here for a view of the city. Those were the good ole days.

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