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Small Talk!

Few things make me sadder than when my alarm goes off before 7am.

Few things make me more uncomfortable than awkward small talk.

This morning, I got both.


I know waking up before 7am is normal life for 75% of you, and quite frankly that’s depressing. How easily you let your “jobs” or your “kids” keep you away from what really matters in life- sleep.

But there I was this morning at 6:55- DING DING DING! I hit snooze a couple of times. Not to sleep, simply to wish it was four hours earlier. At 7:15 I pushed the sheets back and begrudgingly started my day.

I was getting a CT scan. That was the reason for my early rise. I had a PET scan back in August which showed disease progression in my lungs. My doctors found that incredibly strange considering I had shown drastic improvement since starting this new round of treatment. Thinking/hoping what they saw on the scan was an infection, they put me on antibiotics and steroids and did two more rounds of chemotherapy. The scan today was to see if all that worked. If it did, we’ll keep going with this. If not, we’ll move on to something else.

I got to the hospital at 7:45. I checked in, and two minutes later I was called to registration. I can only describe the people who work in registration as chatty.

Very. Very. Chatty.

Their job is simple- they make sure our insurance is still the same, our address is still the same. Then they have us sign our consent forms and things like that. During this time they are making small talk. Polite, friendly, never ending small talk. I’m sitting there getting ready for chemo or nervous about my scans, and they are droning on and on about the most pointless stuff on the face of the earth!

Here are some examples of things that have been said:

Registration: What are you doing this weekend?

Me: Getting chemo.

Registration: Oh…

(David stares blankly. End of play.)

Registration: What’s the weather like outside?

Me: Hot.

Registration: It certainly is.

(David stares blankly, wondering why he was asked a question she already knew the answer to. End of play.)

Registration: Are you married?

Me: No.

Registration: I had a couple the other day, they were together for 20 years and never got married. They just didn’t want to. Isn’t that crazy?

(David lifts eyebrows. Silently nods head. Contemplates starting drinking again. End of play.)

I feel like such a dick writing this. I know they’re just trying to be friendly. I also know that the alternative, them sitting there in cold silence, is a much worse proposition. And if you are my mother reading this please know I am not rude to these kind people. I fake smile as I grit my teeth while they tell me about the traffic on the way in this morning, or when their lunch break is. They’re just trying to be the sunshine in someone’s day. It’s not their fault I'm mentally prepping for chemo, or nervous about my scans. It's not their fault I’ve been at this for two and half years straight.

Besides, I know full well that it’s simply a matter of time before this is all over. Before I know it I’ll be back home, back in bed, waiting for the next alarm. And that one will be going off way after 7am.

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