I couldn’t remember how long it had been since we entered the ninth floor. Somebody had covered the elevator area with cartoon animals and landscapes. Not surprising, since all the children’s wards were here.
Funny idea, that: I am still a child for medical purposes.
I was not sick. Not more than usually, anyway. I didn’t need to get an IV drip installed or even change into the patient uniform the first night. There was nothing to do or feel. No guilt or fear, unlike last time — this check-up had been scheduled for along time and served as a simple test to see how my bone marrow was doing. No annoyance, either, because I knew it mattered; but no apprehension of the results, or of the needles. You can never get used to the needles, but you learn to just accept them anyway. There is nothing to be done about them.
Who knows? The result could be something bad. But I know enough not to take this hypothetical seriously before it was anything other than hypothetical.
I slept, and dreamt of vomiting carrots.
A nurse slid needle number 2 into the back of my hand, connected it to the IV, and added a painkiller to the drip canister, in preparation for needles number 3 and 4. (Needle 1 had been dealt with the previous day, for an even more routine blood test.) Waiting for the doctors, I typed on my computer until I felt lethargic.
10:51. The white glare of the screen slowly became unbearable. Clearly, this painkiller had many other effects than relieving pain. It hit me again that I was just a walking bag of chemicals.
“i can’t type it makes me dizzy
I closed my laptop and vomited in real life.
Soon, it was my turn.
Not soon enough. I put on my earphones, set Owl City playing for whatever reason, turned the volume to five squares, and vomited again.
“Okay, we’re putting in the anesthetic needle.” Number 3, that is. I don’t know why they had to administer both local anesthetic to the area and painkillers intravenously. In any case, I was in no position to argue with them.
“Welcome back / Winter once again / So put on your warm fuzzy sweater / ’Cause you’ll feel much better when…”
In went the last needle for the bone marrow itself. Dull abrasive vibrations, presumably of metal on bone; then, when I thought it was over and had let down my guard, a sharp twinge. Something inside me exploded. I let out a muffled groan.
“We’re done!” chirped a chorus of voices, as if that would make everything alright.
I languished for a couple more hours before leaving the hospital with my family, in a wheelchair because my cerebellum was on strike.
I procrastinated posting this for a long time. As usual. There’s a small livid spot on my back that still hurts if bent the wrong way, but that’s all. Even if this isn’t really the last trial, it’s one significant step closer.
The only remarkable thing about any of this is how apathetic I feel about all of it.