I’m crying.

I’m crying because I’m running.

I’m crying because I’m running because my right eye weeps whenever the slightest breeze blows against it.

I’m crying because I’m running because my right eye weeps whenever the slightest breeze blows against it because the tear duct is apparently clogged.

I’m crying because I’m running because my right eye weeps whenever the slightest breeze blows against it because the tear duct is apparently clogged, but the way a person gets a tear duct unclogged involves jamming a metal rod down the duct and plunging it out.

I’m crying because I’m running because my right eye weeps whenever the slightest breeze blows against it because the tear duct is apparently clogged, but the way a person gets a tear duct unclogged involves jamming a metal rod down the duct and plunging it out, and I’m not ready to undergo that procedure this month because I’ve been dealing with my torn rotator cuff and working through the impending burden, both physically and psychically, of having a surgery in March that will then entail a month in an immobilizer and a 4-6 month recovery.

I’m crying because I’m running because my right eye weeps whenever the slightest breeze blows against it because the tear duct is apparently clogged, but the way a person gets a tear duct unclogged involves jamming a metal rod down the duct and plunging it out, and I’m not ready to undergo that procedure this month because I’ve been dealing with my torn rotator cuff and working through the impending burden, both physically and psychically, of having a surgery in March that will then entail a month in an immobilizer and a 4-6 month recovery, and also I sometimes have a sensitivity in one or more of my teeth in my lower right jaw even though the dentist took x-rays, and everything looks fine.

I’m crying because I’m running because my right eye weeps whenever the slightest breeze blows against it because the tear duct is apparently clogged because the way a person gets a tear duct unclogged involves jamming a metal rod down the duct and plunging it out, and I’m not ready to undergo that procedure this month because I’ve been dealing with my torn rotator cuff and working through the impending burden, both physically and psychically, of having a surgery in March that will then entail a month in an immobilizer and a 4-6 month recovery, and also I sometimes have a sensitivity in one or more of my teeth in my lower right jaw even though the dentist took x-rays, and everything looks fine–but she also mentioned “bone loss” and “We’ll keep our eye on it” and “Sometimes a root canal has to be redone”–and the very thought of having a root canal redone, even at some indistinct point in the future, is enough to make me cry.

At the core of it, I’m crying, one plopping tear at a time from my right eye, because I’m running along a beachfront road where it’s windy.

And I’m crying, one plopping tear at a time from my right eye, because my body is too much with me, yet I’m willing to let a few things ride for awhile because I’m able to.

And I’m crying, two plopping tears from both eyes, because I’m listening to my friend Ellen talk in my ears, ears which, knock driftwood, still work fine.

And I’m crying, two plopping tears from both eyes, because I’m listening to my friend Ellen talk in my ears, ears which, knock driftwood, still work fine–even though a few weeks ago when I went to the doctor about my shoulder, she also noticed that my right ear was jammed full of ear wax, to the point that she had her nurse, whose abilities I’m not completely convinced put her at the head of her class, pour softening drops into my ears and flush them out, a process that required me to hold a bowl under my ear while she squirted syringe after syringe of warm water into my skull, at the end of which the nurse looked into the bowl to take stock, saw nothing much, and remarked, “Hey, there are a couple of flecks!” and then she looked into my ears and declared them fully cleaned out, except I wasn’t quite sure what she was saying because it had been hella loud to have syringe after syringe of water squirted into my skull, and so I was feeling a leetle deef.

And I’m crying, two plopping tears from both eyes, because I’m listening to my friend Ellen talk in my ears, ears which, knock driftwood, still work fine–even though a few weeks ago when I went to the doctor about my shoulder, she also noticed that my right ear was jammed full of ear wax, to the point that she had her nurse, whose abilities I’m not completely convinced put her at the head of her class, pour softening drops into my ears and flush them out, a process that required me to hold a bowl under my ear while she squirted syringe after syringe of warm water into my skull, at the end of which the nurse looked into the bowl to take stock, saw nothing much, and remarked, “Hey, there are a couple of flecks!” and then she looked into my ears and declared them fully cleaned out, except I wasn’t quite sure what she was saying because it had been hella loud to have syringe after syringe of water squirted into my skull, and so I was feeling a leetle deef–and when my friend Ellen talks in my ears, which are now apparently working fine due to having a few microscopic flecks of ear wax removed from them, her voice is catching since she was choked up when she recorded this episode of her podcast.

Ellen got choked up during Episode 18 of her podcast, which is called The Radiation Diaries, because she was recalling a moment when she was waiting, somewhat impatiently, for her 17th radiation session.

Ellen got choked up during Episode 18 of her podcast, which is called The Radiation Diaries, because she was recalling a moment when she was waiting, somewhat impatiently, for her 17th radiation session; she had managed to get herself to the appointment on time and was ready to go, yet as she sat, expectantly, ready to roll and get the hell out of there, she heard a bell ding.

Ellen got choked up during Episode 18 of her podcast, which is called The Radiation Diaries, because she was recalling a moment when she was waiting, somewhat impatiently, for her 17th radiation session; she had managed to get herself to the appointment on time and was ready to go, yet as she sat, expectantly, ready to roll and get the hell out of there, she heard a bell ding, and when a bell dings, it means someone’s treatment is just starting–so Ellen realized she would have to wait because they were running late and just starting the session of the patient before her.

Ellen got choked up during Episode 18 of her podcast, which is called The Radiation Diaries, because she was recalling a moment when she was waiting, somewhat impatiently, for her 17th radiation session; she had managed to get herself to the appointment on time and was ready to go, yet as she sat, expectantly, ready to roll and get the hell out of there, she heard a bell ding, and when a bell dings, it means someone’s treatment is just starting–so Ellen realized she would have to wait because they were running late and just starting the session of the patient before her–and then, ten minutes later, Ellen heard all the technicians and the previous patient talking and laughing and carrying on, and she, well, she was still sitting there, feeling her day get away from her.

Ellen got choked up during Episode 18 of her podcast, which is called The Radiation Diaries, because she was recalling a moment when she was waiting, somewhat impatiently, for her 17th radiation session; she had managed to get herself to the appointment on time and was ready to go, yet as she sat, expectantly, ready to roll and get the hell out of there, she heard a bell ding, and when a bell dings, it means someone’s treatment is just starting–so Ellen realized she would have to wait because they were running late and just starting the session of the patient before her–and then, ten minutes later, Ellen heard all the technicians and the previous patient talking and laughing and carrying on, and she, well, she was still sitting there, feeling her day get away from her, but then she realized that those voices were exuberant, and they were celebrating something.

And then a patient Ellen recognized walked out, a woman whose hair Ellen had previously admired in the waiting room, even after she realized it was a wig.

And then a patient Ellen recognized walked out, a woman whose hair Ellen had previously admired in the waiting room, even after she realized it was a wig, and this time the woman wasn’t wearing her wig but, rather, was wearing a soft cap that covered her bald head, and this woman was the one who was so happy and who had held up Ellen’s appointment.

And then a patient Ellen recognized walked out, a woman whose hair Ellen had previously admired in the waiting room, even after she realized it was a wig, and this time the woman wasn’t wearing her wig but, rather, was wearing a soft cap that covered her bald head, and this woman was the one who was so happy and who had held up Ellen’s appointment, and it was her last day of four weeks of radiation after chemotherapy, and she exclaimed to Ellen, “I get to ring the bell!”

In such a way, Ellen learned that not only is there a bell that rings when a radiation treatment begins, there is also a bell that patients ring when their treatments are completely finished, when they are able to return to days like any other, not days built around appointments and changing into dressing gowns or soft jammies and waiting for the patients before them to be done. Ellen is choked up as she recounts the woman saying that, no, she wouldn’t be doing anything special to celebrate her last day of treatment, that she was just going to work to have a normal day, that she was just going to “have my life back.”

So Ellen’s voice gets thick and shaky as she tells this story, and my single eye dripping turns into two eyes dripping because that woman rang the bell.

In a few weeks Ellen will ring it, too.

Then all our eyes can drip together, and it will have nothing to do with plugged tear ducts or windy beachfront roads or imminent shoulder surgeries.

It will have everything to do with the triumph of medicine, the astonishment of bodies, the glory of spirits, the sharing of experiences, the power of voices,

the fact that it’s not such a huge deal after all

if our appointments are running late.

Bell

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Listen to Episode 18 here: Episode 18

Listen to all of Ellen’s episodes here: The Radiation Diaries

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Published by Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."

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