Friday, February 27, 2009

Never the Same Again

What started as a bad hair day had just become the worst day of Maggie's life. She sat in her doctor's office lost inside her own mind as he rambled on about operations and getting a handle on this before it got any worse. Once the word "tumor" escaped his lips the good doctor lost his audience of one. She didn't immediately respond instead she sat in a daze waiting. Maggie didn't know what she was waiting for, perhaps she was waiting to wake up or perhaps she was waiting to fall over dead. It didn't really matter now. Now she had a tumor.
"We can fit your surgery in the schedule two weeks from today." the doctor looked at her sympathetically "Do you understand everything I have explained to you Maggie?"
Maggie wondered how he could ask her such a question of course she did not understand. She did not understand how a minor lingering head ache could be a death sentence. She did not understand the words six months at most.
"Six months." she managed to stutter out.
"Only if you do not have the surgery. This is not a death sentence Maggie. Yes your life will change when you have the operation. You will have some trouble with your memory and reasoning, but you can still have a full, independent and complete life."
Maggie couldn't believe the doctor expected her to let him cut out part of her brain. He claimed she could still live a full and complete life just a little bit more stupid. It was easy for him to be so hopeful he wasn't the one who was going to have a chunk of brain removed. Maggie did not want the surgery. Maggie wanted to say no and go home to live out the rest of her small life in peace...
"Ok." she said quietly. She made the arrangements with the doctor and went to her car. She sat in the driver's seat still lost in the hamster maze that was her mind. She didn't want to go home. She didn't want to tell her husband and children that mommy would be a little bit dumber from now on. She didn't want to be a burden to them or to her husband. She wondered briefly if it would be easier or harder on them if she were to elect not to have the surgery.
She felt selfish for even thinking about not wanting to have it but those feelings did not make make her desire any less true. She stopped by McDonalds on her way home and picked up a McFlurry. The drive through employee spoke in jumbled English though she could tell he was born and raised here. He proceeded to mention the fact that he forgot his shoes when coming into work today and had to go home and get them.

"Would this be me? Is this how I will end up?" Maggie thought to herself as she drove home.
Maggie told her husband the news in private. He was more positive and assured that everything would be fine. They would save her and everything would be fine. He didn't seem to understand the fact that everything would most certainly not be fine. They told their children the news together in a mixture of tears and brave words the family united. No one seemed to want to go about their lives after the news was spoken. The family sat around the table looking at one another, the sudden awareness of their own mortality drifting through each person's eyes.
Maggie's husband stood up and walked out of the room. Everyone watched him go but no one said anything. There was nothing left to say. Maggie would be saved but she would never be the same again.
"How about a game night?" Maggie's husband said as he came back into the room holding the Trivial Pursuit box.

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