The Waiting Room (continued)
I realize that with this post I’m establishing some sort of pattern. I’m alternating between a chronological styled story telling and specific event focused events. It was completely unintentional, but now that I’ve recognized it I think I like it. My favorite part of this blog so far has been that I haven’t actually tried to write anything at any point. Each day there has been something on my heart, I sit down at my computer and it comes out. I’m envisioning some sort of analogy comparing my writing to late night taco bell or Denny’s, but I think I’ll spare you the details. Where was I…
As much as I loved the waiting room as a little kid, now it has become one of the most tedious places in the world. What am I supposed to do? I try and find things to entertain myself, but honestly I’m more likely to pick up an issue of highlights for the hundredth time than pretend there is anything that captures my attention in “Country Kitchen”. Its torture. When I found out dad had begun the evaluation process for transplant I was initially terrified. I leaped from one end of the spectrum to the other. Previously I’d convinced myself that he was sick, but he didn’t ever have to get any worse. Suddenly I was scared I would have to watch him die and there was nothing to do, but wait.
Linscott’s are miserable waiters. Not that we’re bad at serving food, but we wan’t action and we want it NOW! I would post some text messages my Aunt and Cousin have sent about wanting to get the ball rolling for surgery, but I’m scared the FBI might show up to their doors with questions about threats they’d made to medical personnel (I’m only kidding. Sort of). We’re impatient, but with good reason. One of our loved one’s is sick and we are all willing to do whatever it takes to help them. It has been beautiful actually. I’ve always thought my family was great, even if a little crazy, but seeing the way everyone has responded to my dad has been very moving. Two of my cousins volunteered to be donors, one Aunt is constantly encouraging people to become organ donors, the other is just short of attempting to cut her own liver out and force the surgical team to use it, and everyone is constantly checking in on both dad and myself. The extent to which our family has gone to show how much they care is beautiful. The odd thing is though, no matter how much anyone has done, we’ve just had to wait.
Volunteering to be a donor is a serious commitment. You’re a healthy person who is volunteering to undergo a major surgery with rare, but real risks. After the surgery you’ll be able to return to a completely normal life, but in the waiting period you may have to make some “life changes”. Specifically, what I mean by life changes is that you can’t drink alcohol if you want to be a donor. In no way was I a heavy drinker before volunteering, but it has brought some changes. I’m a big beer fan. Especially cold craft beers on hot summer days. I’ve had to give that up. No more local drafts to wash down spicy chicken wings and no more liquid courage to hit the dance floor on Friday night. Do I miss it? Honestly, yes. Is it hard to give up? Not at all. Sometimes things change entirely based on your perspective. When the choice is give up beer or give up dad, there is no hesitation, no list of pros and cons, just one clear choice.
However, if you were a fly on the wall, or perhaps a friend from school, seeing this abrupt “perspective change” was probably very strange. I can only imagine that it was even more confusing for the people who were graced by the presence of “Vanilla Ice”, very much in his element, only a week before. At first I would make up excuses, try and keep too many people from finding out what was really going on. I was putting up walls (hard to believe now that I’ve torn down the walls and built a highway to the heart of the city). I would deflect their offers to drink with silly comments or plausible excuses. “I have to be in the lab tomorrow”, “Nah, not tonight”, “I can’t, I am with child”. Eventually though the truth started to come out. “Actually I can’t. My dad needs a liver and I’m hoping to give him mine”.
Can you think of a worse line to use at a party? Cause I can, “Hey ladies, let me buy you a drink and I’ll watch. Gotta save my liver for someone who won’t be able to use their’s soon ;-)” All joking aside, it was strange at first. Know what the strange thing is though? Because of those conversations I was able to talk about what I was going through with dozens of people. The more I talked about it the more I realized it was ok to talk about it. I stopped putting on my hero face and saying things like “Don’t worry, soon everything will be better than normal” and started being honest. Saying things like “He’s not having a great week, but its gonna work out. Thanks for asking”. Soon there were people checking in on me regularly and while I was still stuck in the waiting room at least there were other people around.
Our time in the waiting room is about to come to an end. The morning of May 7th the nurse will poke in and say “Mr. Linscott, the doctor will see you now.” Its been a long wait. Boring at times, agonizing at others, and oddly kind of fun in spurts. See, regardless of what has happened and how the week has gone, we’ve kept a positive outlook and a good sense of humor. It hasn’t always been easy, but it is a testament of how when we open up and enjoy the company of others we can leave behind our surroundings. Most recently we’ve been laughing about the conversations we have with dad while he’s sleeping. He keeps telling us that we’re crazy and he’s the one leading the conversations. Like I said, good sense of humor. My favorite episode was during Easter when I was showing Shara where I live in New York on Google Earth. I pointed at a building and said “so this is the church and I live…”, meanwhile we could here dad mumbling something while moving his hands. As we paused our conversation to listen, we heard “This is the church, this is the steeple, open the doors, see all the people”. A rhyme taught in Sunday school and he was doing the accompanying hand motions. He was confused when he woke up and we were all looking at him reciting the start of nursery rhymes. We explained why and he laughed.
It hasn’t been easy, but we’re coming out of the waiting room. I won’t be sad to see it go. When I look back at this time in my life though I’ll remember that I got through it with family, friends and a sense of humor.