Sunday Post 81: The Trent/Elba Exit

Posted by Danny

I knew the day would come.  At some point in my life I would have to return to the Cancer Center at Duke.

Thank God it was just a meeting for work that brought me back there. 

I always get a knot in my stomach when I turn onto the Durham Freeway.  This time, I had to get off at the Trent/Elba exit.  I knew exactly where to go.  My memory had not faltered. 

As I pulled up to the stop sign at the top of the exit, my heart rate increased.  I opened the compartment between the front seats – a leftover pass from 2010 would cover my parking fee for the hour.  It was the last one.  Maybe I should save it. 

Was I temporarily insane for wanting to hold on to the small green coupon?  Would I cashed in a memory when I gave it to the attendant?

I met a friend in the parking deck – he didn’t know me before.  As we meandered through the walkway from the deck to the building, a rush of emotion bowled over me.  Interestingly, the slide show of memories were mostly of laughter.  The two of us in that waiting room – she laughing at my jokes.  Getting temporarily stuck on the elevator, the one with the big red stripe.  A huge mirror behind the toilet in the radiation wing – what an interesting view of myself –

I could picture her in a wheelchair – that was not my wife.  Her fanny pack of 5-FU, the chemo cocktail of choice.

I had forgotten the pattern of the tile.  It was clear today.  Before my head hung low, the design blurred by tears. 

I had gotten used to the troops in hospital fashion.  They stood out now – their rubber shoes and names embroidered on their white coats.

I was intentionally focused in my meeting, my mind was alert.

And then I drove off to where I live now. 

Sometimes pain visits, but he doesn’t live with me now.

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  1. Wayne

     /  July 22, 2012

    The blog we’ve all been waiting for-Dad

  2. Francie Reding

     /  July 22, 2012

    I agree Mr. Ham! And Bruce, that last line is the most beautiful you’ve written. Well said my friend!

  3. Aunt Susan

     /  July 22, 2012

    How wonderful to be at the point to say the pain only visits. congratulations on such a big step. You know we are always thinking of you.


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