Where does the time between memories go? Is it compressed and re-compressed to a quark sized particle in the brain? Is that why I have vivid memories of two mornings in a cold, mid-January over 16 years ago more clearly than any morning last week.
I was getting ready to go to a Memorial Service for a man who had been my husband’s co-worker. Late and rushing to get breakfast for Catherine, my 8 year-old daughter, I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. Of course, the phone would ring now! I swallowed my exasperation. But, it was my sister’s voice I heard and it sounded weak and raspy. She had been fighting a winter cold and the first round of antibiotics didn’t help. I was worried about her.
“Mare, Dr. Chen called. He wants me to go for a chest x-ray tomorrow” I heard fear in her voice.
“Tee, He’s covering all bases. Catherine has had two rounds of antibiotics a few times to get rid of sinus infections. Don’t worry too much.” I wanted to add “yet”. My sister was a heavy smoker.
“I’ll come with you.” I said. I could hear the relief in her voice as we made arrangements.
The next morning I picked her up and we drove silently to the hospital’s x-ray facility. She was called right away. I watched her walk slowly until the door shut behind her.
I couldn’t read the newspaper I brought or any of the magazine’s in the waiting room. I just stared out the window. About a half hour later and much to my surprise, Dr. Chen came into the waiting room and headed straight toward me.
“I am so sorry to tell you this. Your sister has a tumor in her lung very close to her heart. I don’t think it’s operable but I advise you to go to a Thoracic Surgeon, a good one and as soon as possible.. It is going to be a very difficult time” he said.
I could hardly process his words. I was holding out hope, praying. I searched his face but I didn’t see a any hope in his eyes.
“Okay, thank you for your advice.” I said as he turned and walked away.
He left me to tell my sister.