We knew we’d have to draw on all our reserves of strength while my husband was undergoing a stem cell transplant. We would be staying 100 miles away from home for 2 months, immersed in a cancer treatment center, surrounded by cancer patients and medical personnel, while his immune system would be destroyed and reconstituted.
Perhaps because his medical complications were few, and relatively minor, we found that what pushed us to the edges of our tolerance was the parking garage under the apartment house for the families of transplant patients. It had been built in the 1960s, when (apparently) cars were smaller. The parking spaces were narrow, and concrete pillars and walls dotted its landscape. On our way out to the hospital for the surgical insertion of Paul’s central line, I couldn’t negotiate the narrow ramp up and out of the depths, and dented and scraped the left side of our hybrid Camry. On our return from the last weekend we were allowed to go home, Paul scraped the other side trying to get into our designated parking space.
We were both thrown into deep despair. The sense of incompetence, diminishment, and vulnerability was intolerable. Our new knowledge, that we were no more exempt from the vagaries of fate and aging than anyone else, had already softened us up for this blow.
on our dead-end street
to admire its blackness
before walking on