Doctor’s Report

We were sitting in a waiting area of a posh Cancer Center building. This time I was on the receiving end of this business. I was not a provider (doctor) but rather a consumer (patient). I was accompanying my wife for her follow-up appointment with the Hematologist-Oncologist doctor.

It was a day of reckoning. We were going to get the dreaded results of her bone marrow biopsy.

Have you ever waited on a report before? A semester’s grade perhaps? Or a qualifying examination? Or a job application? Or a tax return? Nothing can compare to the anxiety level of waiting for a biopsy report.

As I looked at the people in the waiting room, I can easily identify the patients. To lighten up her mood, I told my wife that I look more as the patient than her, for I am the one with the thinning hair. Though I am not poking fun of the chemotherapy patients at all, for I only have admiration for their courage and resolve as they undergo this difficult treatment.

When we were called inside, we met with the cancer specialist. He reviewed the results of the bone marrow biopsy with us, including some fancy genetic tests that he obtained.

The doctor went into detailed medical description, for he knew I am a doctor too and speaks his language. He then concluded that the test did not show any evidence of Myelodysplastic or Myeloproliferative disorder. In simple terms, no evidence of badness to worry about. It was a good report overall.

It was such a relief!

For the past several days, we experienced silent and unspoken fear about our future. For my wife, for me, and for our family. But now, we will grow old together after all.

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my wife and I (photo taken last summer in Vail Colorado)

If there’s something good that came out of this, is that it made our bond stronger and our faith more steadfast.

As we were leaving the doctor’s office, I glanced once again at the people in that waiting room. One elderly woman who was in a wheelchair, was wearing a colorful bandana but looking glum. Another not so old lady who was wearing a fancy hat accompanied by few friends or family. One middle-aged man who looked frail and sitting alone. And some other ones I failed to describe.

What would the doctor’s report on them be? Would it be very good like ours was? Or not so good perhaps? Or would it be downright heartbreaking? I can only hope and pray for each of them.

Life. So unpredictable. Live it to the fullest. And celebrate it while you can.

Today we will.

 

Waiting in Line

It’s 2014. Happy New Year!

During the New Year celebration in New York City, a million or more people flocked in Times Square to watch the fancy ball drop and ring in the new year. It was reported that many people began waiting and standing in the streets in TImes Square starting around noontime, to get a good location to see the ball drop, the fireworks, and the rest of the show. That’s about 12 hours of waiting and standing in the cold! Was it worth it?

In our recent trip to a theme park, it was so crowded as it was the holiday season. It was jam packed that we could hardly walk anywhere without pushing, shoving, or trampling somebody. It could rival a walk in Divisoria. And the lines to the attractions were ridiculously long that can push the limit of patience in any human being.

The only consolation in these long lines was that they post how long was the wait time – like 45 minutes, or 120 minutes, or gazillion minutes (!) – to the ride or show, so that you have some idea of how long your agony would be. They should post the wait time in the restrooms as well, as there were long lines there too!  How could this be the “happiest place on earth?”

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In one popular ride of the park, our resolve was tested when we stood in line for it. We tried to get a *fast pass, but the time it gave us to return was close to midnight! We may not even stay in the park by then, so we took our chances and waited in line. And we waited. And waited.

The line was long and winding. On top of this, a long portion of the wait, we were cramped in a dark, enclosed place, with hardly any “personal” space. If the theme of that particular attraction was going to outer space, they were succesful in mimicking that environment, as I felt there was not enough atmospheric oxygen for me to breathe. Perhaps more people got dizzy and light-headed while waiting in line than in the ride itself.

After standing in line for more than 2 hours, we finally got to experience the “thrilling” ride. All the 2 minutes of it. Yes, you read it right. A measly 2 minutes! Was it worth it?

Our real life experiences though involves the humdrum of waiting in line. We stand in line for the bus or the train to take us places we want to go. We wait in line when we apply for a certificate, or a license or even for a job, so we can do things we want to do. We stand in line in stores or groceries so we can get things we like or need. In almost anything we do we wait in line.

In truth we have even mastered the art and science of waiting in line. When you line for the check out counter, do you count how many people are lined up in the different lanes, or better yet even count how many items each person have in their grocery cart in front of you, to make sure you line up in the shortest and fastest lane? Guilty, huh?

Then, there are people who wait in line for their destiny to come. Like princes and princesses, waiting for their moment of prominence.

Prince Charles is standing in line, to be the next monarch for more than 60 years! And that is if his mother, the current queen, will not outlive him. Some even feel that he should give way the throne to his son, Prince William, who is younger and more popular. But that is a different issue in itself.

What I am trying to say is this: in this life we wait for something grand to happen. Most of the time the wait is long, and the exciting event can be fleeting and short. Was it even worth it?

I don’t know what you are standing in line for. Maybe for that dream job. Or for your special someone. Or for that memorable occasion. Or that fateful event. Or your appointment with destiny.

I hope that this new year will bring in that event you are waiting for. And if not, just be patient. For I believe we are all destined for greatness. And it is worth the wait.

*****

(*Fast pass ticket allows a guest to avoid the long line by giving them a pre-set time to return to the particular attraction.)

(** photo taken with iPhone)

Terminal Waiting

I already stated in a previous post that I really don’t like airports and terminals, because I associate them with goodbyes and separation. Just ask any overseas worker or an expat, and they most probably will agree with this sentiment.

Well there’s another reason that I abhor airports and terminals is because of the wait and the time-killing involved especially during long layovers. Not to mention if your connecting flight is delayed, then it can really be agonizing.

My last travel back home to the Philippines, which involved a total of 17 hours of flight time, with 2 connecting flights and layovers, includes a total of 23 hours from my airport of origin to my airport destination. That means I sit for 6 hours in an airport terminal just waiting. Six long idle hours waiting and doing nothing!

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Until I happen to have my layover in this terminal gate in Minneapolis, that killing time became a less tedious experience. In fact, it was even enjoyable.

The place was highly wired, with several televisions and many available (yes, empty!) seats with each individual iPad on them, with fast internet connection. The best part is it is free to use with no time limit as long as you are still in the terminal. Maybe they should offer this convenience with a cot so a weary traveler can even lie down and relax. That will be a dream layover!

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The annexing restaurant offers the same convenience of free iPad use and internet connection, with added benefit of ordering delicious food (though a bit pricey just like anything in an airport) and eating it in an unwinding atmosphere that you would not feel that you’re in an airport gate. But in truth, the terminal gate is a look away so you don’t have to worry of being left behind. However with these amenities, maybe you would like to be left behind.

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And what do you suppose I did with my almost three hours of layover in this terminal? I could not help it. I gave in. No, not the part of being left behind.

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