“Do you know why you’re here?” the efficient orderly asked, looking down at his chart.
“Breast lift and tummy tuck,“ I said without a pause. He stopped writing and searched nervously through papers on his clipboard. “I’m just kidding,” I said. “I’m here for cancer surgery.” He looked surprised, then laughed and said there usually wasn’t a lot of joking around in pre-op. Strange, I thought. I guess not everyone thinks cancer is funny.
Three months before that, I was sitting on my porch pondering my mortality (in the way you can when it’s a beautiful day and nothing much else is going on) when the phone rang. I reluctantly stubbed out my cigarette and thought: I really need to quit. I should know better. I do know better. I will know better. As I answered the phone and lit up another cigarette, I thought, “This is good. The faster I smoke this pack, the sooner I’ll be done with this whole disgusting business.”
It was my doctor’s receptionist asking how soon I could come in to discuss my test results. I told her I was busy and it would be awhile, unless it was important. She hesitated. “The doctor…