When My Worst is My Best

This piece dates to last November. Worth a recycle.

Gail Chumbley

The tumor institute quickly became far too familiar, an unsolicited home away from home.  He’d press the down button on the stainless steel elevator, lowering us into that stark, beige basement–the waiting room.  An ordeal.  I pretended to be brave. 

The smell in the unit was a combination of baby powder and rubbing alcohol, probably from the hand sanitizer dispensers positioned everywhere on those bland beige walls.  Fox News blared from a 12 inch television in the corner— while stunned patients and family members stared.  Health magazines and pamphlets were scattered on cookie cutter office chairs and faux-wood end tables. 

We didn’t belong in this surreal place and neither of us were prepared for what was coming. 

Walking phantoms, hairless and fragile, shuffled awkwardly, angular-ly across the nondescript carpet, escorted by unnaturally jolly nurses dressed in flowery scrubs.Patients ambled down one of two passages traversing this subterranean ward.  A straight…

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