Surgery. December 7, 2015


Monday, December 7, 2015. Today is the day. Surgery.

I’m sitting in the waiting room at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. It’s a fairly nice waiting room. There are plenty of seats, televisions, magazines, newspapers, complimentary coffee, and a large monitor where you can track the progress of someone’s surgery with their ID number. Mary is undergoing surgery as I type this. Her husband, Phillip, who was up most of the night with  her, has finally given in to sleep despite sitting upright.

There are poinsettias to mark the holiday season, and outside the world continues as if it’s a normal Monday. As I stare out the window and try to come up with the words to describe today, I find myself falling short. This is Mary’s story. Phillip’s story. Their daughter’s story. I have no idea how to do it justice. While I sip on a Hazelnut coffee, listen to The Cars, and tap away on my keyboard, Mary is one floor up, with a breathing tube in, and she’s having parts of her body removed to battle the cancer that has moved in. The body that was hers for 40 years will never be the same. And while she’s asked me to write for her, how can I possibly understand or even know what to write.

Five stories down, a driver is blaring his horn at another car that hasn’t moved through the green light quickly enough. I know this because I’ve been staring blankly at the street and the cars that stop and go during the changing of the lights. And as I listen to this exchange of impatience and frustration, I find it amazing how much difference a little perspective makes. In here, there are numerous people undergoing surgery. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, all have loved ones nervously waiting on them. And outside, someone is upset about having to wait an extra second for a traffic light.

In here, the wait continues. We sit, we watch the board, have another cup of coffee, or try to catch a little sleep. In here, I wait to walk back with Phillip when Mary is out of surgery. I’ll take more photos, I’ll try to say the right thing, and I’ll be nervous. And then I’ll see Mary, and once again I’ll realize that this is not about me, this is about her. This is her story. And she has asked me to share it. So I’ll remember to get out of my own way and continue to do what Mary has asked me to do. Tell her story. Whether it’s the right way, or the wrong way, time will tell.

I should close by thanking everyone for their support, positive energy, and help. Mary would ask me to thank you all and tell you how much your love and support mean. So from Mary, to all of you, thank you.


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