April…and Waiting

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time staring into space. It’s an activity I’ve often though is under-rated, but I may be carrying it to extremes. Usually, it’s the space between my laptop and the bulletin board on the wall in front of me, where I try to avoid the little sign attached with two thumbtacks: Write a little bit every day without hope or despair. Right. Any minute now. But I think I’ll check Facebook again. You just never know what might have showed up in the last ten minutes.

When I tire of the bulletin board, I shift my gaze to the right where, looking out the windows of my study, I see the cruelty of April unfolding.

Of course, it began in March, and for the first time in a decade I’ve been here to see it all: the crisp white snow cover gradually softening into slush and sinking into the ground; the water rushing from the hills across the fields, through the culverts, and into the river; the annual reappearance of the puddle — nearly a lake, really — in a back yard hollow which, god knows, I’ve had 40-some years to deal with. And haven’t.

The mower will get stuck again for the first mowing or two, but then I’ll forget about it again. Of course, there are the more cheerful signs of spring as well. The ducks are back on the river. We saw several sandhill cranes landing on the field a few days ago. Although there’s not much sign of green yet, crocuses and daffodils are poking through the soil, and both the rhubarb and the garlic are showing evidence of life.

It’s been a long, strange couple of months since we returned early from Mexico to deal with Jack’s cancer diagnosis. We were at first heartened by how quickly he moved through a system that is often sluggish. Within three weeks of his diagnosis in Mexico, he had seen a urologist/oncologist here in the Sault, undergone tests to determine that there has been no metastasis, been referred a surgeon specializing in renal cell carcinoma at McMaster Medical Centre in Hamilton, and had a consultation with that surgeon. But that was four weeks ago, and he’s still waiting for a surgery date. Sometime in April, we were told then. It’s April now, okay? Let’s get on with it.

I wrote earlier that I’m happy to be part of a medical system where everyone is in the same boat. I am. Really, I am. And while the system is not noted for its speed, it is noted for its effectiveness. After meeting with the surgeon, Jack was reassured that his situation is not critical, and that time is not of the essence. That’s why he’s on a waiting list, not an emergency list. Which is sort of an April place to be, I guess. Dreary, puddled, muddy. Waiting.

In the meantime, I’m staring out the window, watching drizzle fall on puddles, and feeling mildly pleased with myself because now I’ve written a little bit today.


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3 Responses to April…and Waiting

  1. Annie C. Smith says:

    you could feel very proud of yourself. Yes, in the north April is the cruelest month. In Vermont with my firstborn I used to read TS Eliot aloud to him while he nursed. So glad to read what you wrote. I hope for a call for you soon from the hospital. Dreary, puddled, muddy, waiting can’t go on forever no matter what it feels like looking out the window. I am happy you are writing, Thinking of you both with so much love….Annie

  2. Marilyn says:

    Hope you hear soon. I’ve been wondering.

  3. Sue Corcoran says:

    Paula and Jack We are so very sorry to hear that you are still waiting. And without a set date as well. Not that having a date makes it easy. When John had bladder cancer three years ago we checked on all options, surgery vs radiation vs radiation and chemo first then surgery, which surgeon, which hospital. Most reassuring was a friend, a nurse at the local hospital who looked up the reputations of both the surgeon and the oncologist. Happily it all went well and our insurance pretty much covered it. So please know that we are thinking of you. Sue


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