Monday, December 1, 2014

"Party on 7"

For nearly seven years, we had a fairly consistent oncology appointment schedule.  We hit Siteman Cancer Center once a week or once every two weeks, depending upon the severity of the situation at any given time.  (Sometimes we needed to be monitored more closely.)

Given the frequency of our visits, we knew the ins and outs of that hospital building...

Looking for the best non handicap parking space mid morning on a weekday?  Enter the attached garage and loop your way up to the fourth floor.  But, here's the trick.  Nearly complete a circle on the fourth level and begin your descent back down toward level three.  It's on this stretch that you'll always find 2-3 decent spots...close enough to the center's entrance/walkway.  (Of course, throw this logic out the CR-V window when your spouse can no longer walk on her own.  You roll out the fucking red carpet, pull up to the front doors, and take every necessary step to ensure she is comfortable and not overly exerting herself.)

Tired of waiting for the overly congested elevators on level three to make themselves available to you?  Been there.  If you're headed up to the breast cancer floor, there's a separate express elevator bank to the left that will take you directly to the seventh floor.  Find it.  Use it.  Thank me later.

If you're like my wife, you don't want that generic bullshit coffee they spew out of plastic boxes that look like they were left there in the 80's.  So, head over to St. Louis University's College of Pharmacy bookstore.  It's only an elevator ride, hop, revolving door spin, skip, zigzag walk, and jump from Siteman.  The bookstore has a Starbucks ready to accept your $5.65 in exchange for the "Grande soy white mocha, one pump, no whip."

Often times (when Jill was healthy enough for it and we were a bit running late) I would drop her off at the first floor entrance, allow her to check in, and I would then park the car and meet her inside.

I don't know how it originated, but a habit, a ritual of sorts, formed.  I'd pull up alongside the curb.  Jilly would pop out, hold the door, look back at me (w/ a freaking gorgeous smile) and always always always say, "Party on 7!"  Meaning, it's time to do this.  Let's go to the seventh floor, heads high, and make the most of this situation.  My response to Jilly was always the same, "Party on 7!"  Every single damn appointment day.

(B/c I tend to deflect the severity of situations w/ humor, in later months, as Jill would walk away from the car, I would roll down the window and add something loud like, "Make sure to ask the doctor about that nasty fungus that seems to be spreading!"  There was no such fungus.  But, damn it, it made us both laugh.  Mission accomplished.)

Somehow "Party on 7" spread among the seventh floor regulars (staff mainly).  We'd check in for blood work and they'd say the phrase to us as we were signing the clipboard.  They loved it.  We loved that they loved it.  It was something so simple, so effortless, that allowed us to exhale and just barely take the edge off...just enough to get us through another day of appointments.

B/c for me, appointment days knocked me out.  They were so emotionally charged.  What will the numbers look like today?  What's the plan?  Do we have a plan?  Can we get treated today?

It was the little things like "Party on 7," a white mocha from Starbucks, an express elevator, that made appointment days more manageable for Jilly and therefore for me.

Jilly faced the music every fucking day.  And some days it was louder and noisier than others.  There have been a lot of beautifully honest things said of Jill since November 12.  In my opinion, the strength, focus, and positivity she showed every single day (I'm not kidding - every single fucking day) was heroic, admirable, and super human.

Jilly, you partied the fuck out of 7.

All love,

J, J, & r

Good report dance party on 7 circa 2012...


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