I was hanging out at MD Anderson several weeks ago, waiting for my loved one to finish with a couple of diagnostic tests. I’d driven past their buildings too many times to count in the past couple of decades, but never had to actually turn my car into one of their driveways and actually park. So the tests were taking a long time. I am quickly learning this often happens. It is OK. They are thorough.
It is probably why I engaged a nice lady who was also waiting. Don’t recall her name at the moment. I remember she was from San Antonio and had lots of encouraging wisdom to impart about the renowned hospital. Learned she had already been there … done that … in a major way.
I think she could tell by my questions, our family was like a baby trying to scoot off the blanket with regard to this whole cancer journey. But my running for the exit was not an option. Instead I decided to start collecting any little kernels of wisdom she wanted to share and shove them deep into my pockets for later. The way things were currently going, I totally expected to have enough “corn wisdom” to fill a bushel basket over the next few months.
So far we had mastered so many things: the HOV lane on the Eastex Freeway, where to find the hospital’s coffee shop “Cool Beans,” and the location of the hospitality room for a quick nap between tests. Totally recommend asking for a warm blanket. Best thing on the planet! Oh, and it is probably healthier to get the “Be Well” plate at the Waterfall Café than the personal pan pizza, which totally looks yummy, but obviously oozes carbs. My only question? Is the café’s pizza oven for real … or a fake?
OK … so the nice lady explained to me that several years ago she had spent three months in Houston. They rented an apartment nearby while they hung out for her husband’s treatments. And he was doing fine! The day I was there, she was at MDA while her daughter was being tested. She confidently explained we were in the right place and that was all there was to it. I like people who are direct.
Then she told me about her little granddaughter. Caroline lives in Virginia. She recently turned 6 years old and is quite a bubbly character. She even has her own Facebook page which I promptly “liked” so I could watch her thrive. You see … little Caroline has Leukemia, but the thing about the little girl is not so much about her condition, or her obvious lack of hair. This little girl has a huge personality. The lady showed me a few of Caroline’s cooking videos which where a hoot, especially the one about making Carnation Instant Breakfast. It was very short … and quite informative coming from a 6-year-old. I laughed until I almost wet my pants. Maybe it was the way Caroline explained cutting the top of the packet off and pouring the contents into the glass. You had to be there.
I also liked how Caroline cracked an egg. This video was on the grandmother’s phone. The lady explained that her little granddaughter smashes the egg in the bowl with one hand and picks out all the shell pieces. The grandmother tried to show her a better way, but Caroline wasn’t having any of it.
My favorite story about spunky little Caroline was the day she came out of her room with a teeny rubber band perched at the top of her head wrapped around a few snippets of her very short hair.
“What is that on the top of your head?” her mother asked.
“Oh, I thought I would wear my hair up today,” Caroline said cheerfully.
I will remember that story about Caroline’s up-do for a very long time … and her radiant smile … especially on one of those days during a very long wait at MD Anderson.