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There's nothing I hate more than waiting an unreasonable amount of time for a doctor. I resent the fact that he thinks his time is more important than mine, not to mention that he insults me with his six-month-old magazines. Though I'm not proud of this, I always have the urge to get him back.
Once when my girls were little and we had to wait a ridiculous amount of time, we took the doctor's tongue depressors out of his big jar, drew little people pictures on them, stuck cotton balls on their heads for hair, and lined them up all around the room. We never had to wait for him again!
Another time, after a long wait, I took the doctor's diplomas down from the wall and hung them back up -- upside down. Never had to wait for him again, either!
The third time I tried to play havoc with a doctor's life, it backfired. Again it was a long wait; again I became impatient -- downright bored -- and this time, I began looking through all the stuff on my doctor's desk. Yes, this was a bad thing to do, but I simply couldn't help myself. I was bored! In my rummaging, however, I uncovered a file folder with my name on it. I opened it and discovered a letter he had written to an associate. His prediction was that I would be dead before the year was out -- not those exact words, but I got the picture. To say I was taken aback is an understatement. Shaking like a leaf, I broke out in a cold sweat, followed by a hot flash, and back to a cold sweat. Then I noticed the letter had been written ten months earlier and I only had to live two more months to prove him wrong. That's when the ol' "I'll show him" mode kicked in.
That was fifteen years ago and here I am! I'm alive and the doctor's dead. It's absolutely true, but when I say it in the presence of my daughter Dana, she says, "Mo-ther! Don't say that. It sounds mean-spirited." Dana will not approve of the title of this book, but let me explain to her and to you that it's not intended to be mean-spirited. It's intended to bring hope to those who have been given the death sentence, either by a doctor or from the statistical "evidence" they've uncovered on their own. In my daughter Dana's case, it was a friend, a doctor's daughter, who boldly pronounced, "Your mother is as good as dead!"
This book is here to say ignore the naysayers, ignore the statistics. The computer doesn't know you. It doesn't know how often you laugh or cry or that you have spunk. It doesn't know about the support of your family and friends and how well you're loved; whether or not you're prayed for isn't taken into consideration by the statisticians. And no matter how many mega-giga-humonga-bytes-bits-RAM the computer may contain, it simply isn't capable of computing the fact that -- are you ready for this? -- the God of the universe has a timetable for your life and mine! Yea! Rah! Cheers! Maybe a hallelujah or two!
This book is also here to say enjoy the moment. One evening not long ago, I was batting it down the highway -- in a hurry for no reason at all -- when I noticed that, in spite of the fact the sun was shining brightly, it had begun to rain. I slowed down a bit and did a quick scan of the sky, thinking conditions were right for a rainbow. I wasn't disappointed! There to my left was not one rainbow, but two. A double rainbow that encompassed the entire horizon! I slowed down and pulled to the side of the road, overcome by the spectacular view. It wasn't long until another car pulled in behind me. Then another. Then another. Four of us, all hanging out our car windows, smiling and pointing skyward. As I drove away, it occurred to me that they, like me, had probably survived something, had been given a second chance at life, and were appreciating it to the fullest.
Perhaps only those who have faced a life-threatening experience (or gone through it with a loved one) can fully understand when I say that, before my illness, I might have missed the awe of that moment. I certainly would not have been able to fathom pulling off the road just to soak it in. But having cancer changed my life. Life is more precious. I appreciate simple things and an I-don't-want-to-miss-anything perspective prevails. I'm on the lookout for double rainbows.
I wish I could say I'm a better person. In some ways I am, but when it comes to doctors, I still do unruly things when I have to wait too long. Not long ago, I went to the doctor because of an ear infection; while I was waiting in the examining room, I discovered a humongous roach lying dead behind a chair. I couldn't resist! I picked it up, laid it on its back on the table -- legs pointing heavenward -- pulled out my trusty magic marker, drew a circle around it, and wrote in large letters: Here lies the body of the doctor's last patient. Lie down here at your own risk.
Life is fun. Life is precious. Cherish the moments and look for the rainbows. As for statistics, it's all just fairy dust.