Lymphoma Notes, June 3, 2021

Sixteen Years a Survivor!

In my last post, I’d just been hospitalized for emergency transfusions only hours after being diagnosed with lymphoma.

Being hospitalized is its own crushing experience. If you’ve been there, and I’ll bet you have, you know about how your identity is smudged and blurred the moment your step into a hospital room. The first thing is the gown.

The faded hospital gown—the iconic garment of all who are sick—made me feel vulnerable and weak, changed from the woman I am—who tries to be kind; who has good taste, or thinks she does; who doesn’t eat meat; who reads a lot; drinks a little too much; and wishes she weren’t so ambivalent about sex; that woman with those attributes and many more—into a medical record number, lab values, a diagnosis, and a course of treatment. The gown is not who I am. It has nothing to do with me. In just minutes, the hospital has already begun to steal my identity.

It’s after six. If I were at home, I’d be putting cloth napkins on the table, sipping Sauvignon Blanc, and lighting candles for dinner. Instead, I’m waiting for my husband to enter this room and see me as a person he’s never known before.