I found out that I was approved for the Clinical Trial on Tuesday at around 4:15pm. I was kind of freaking out considering my first infusion was scheduled for Wednesday at 8:30am. When the call finally came I squealed a little and thanked Trafina, my trial coordinator, for getting me approved so quickly.
I had to pick up a couple of things for my reading on Tuesday night, so it wasn’t until after the show at 9pm, when Jaimie and I were already on our way to Atlanta, that I was able to find us a place to stay.
One of the benefits of the trial is that they give us up to $500 in travel reimbursements per visit. I have taken this opportunity to sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a rewards program, and now seemed like as good a time to start as any. I looked for Marriotts near Emory everything was sold out. The only thing I could find was a Sheraton in downtown Atlanta, which apparently is part of the Marriott family. So around midnight we pulled into the Self Parking garage, paid the $35 parking fee (thanks Atlanta) and after about 20 minutes of locked doors and wrong turns, we eventually checked in and made our way to our room.
The room was freezing. FREEZING. I hate being cold but we were too tired to do anything about it. We got under the covers, which felt like they had been stored in a refrigerator, and clung to each other for warmth. At 7am our alarms went off and at 8:30 we were walking into the Winship Cancer Center.
Now given the option, I would never enter a cancer center again in my life. But it had been a couple of years since I had an infusion at Emory, and it felt like a Homecoming. I looked around to see if the Jamaican Lab nurse I liked was still there. I asked what had happened to my favorite Nurse Practitioner. Apparently she had a baby and moved to Florida. The woman who checked my vitals is the same woman who did it two years ago. My oncologist’s nurse is still the same. There’s something comforting about seeing the people who knew me at the beginning of all of this.
I walked up to the desk and an older gentlemen checked me in for my labs. There was a woman sitting right next to him and she was playing the violin. That’s a fairly common occurrence at the Winship Cancer center. A couple of days a week they have live musicians playing throughout the halls. I usually really like it. What’s the harm is adding a little beauty and levity to the situation we all find ourselves in.
I picked up my buzzer and made my way into the Laboratory waiting room. I was sitting close to the door and could hear the sounds of the violin bleeding in from the hall way. She wasn’t playing the normal classical repertoire, she was playing more modern selections. And after about ten minutes of waiting to be called, the violinist started playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Somewhere Over the Fucking Rainbow? God that song is depressing!
I got up and peaked my head outside the waiting room just to double check what I was hearing. Yep. That was the song alright. As people were getting their labs, heading to their doctors, going to chemotherapy, they were being greeted by Somewhere Over the Rainbow! And it wasn’t the happy version that dude plays on the ukulele. It was the sad version Judy Garland sings right before she overdoses on sleeping pills.
It took an hour for them to call me for labs, so I was treated to the song not once, but twice. And I was reminded once again that even in the most stressful moments, life has a way of being hilarious.
It’s up to us whether or not we see it.