When my cardiologist gave me good news a couple of years back, my first reaction was to think of what he didn’t offer — namely, any confirmation of my immortality.
The cardiologist said he thought I was one of his success stories, 12 years out from the first treatment for blocked arteries. He added, to underscore his point, that he thought I would ultimately die of something other than heart disease.
My reaction centered on false notions about myself — notions my ego retains even at 65 and after a litany of other health threats, Kyrptonite not yet setting off alarms.
“You mean I’m going to die?” I thought as I sat facing the practically beaming heart doctor.
Yesterday, the biggest shock of my first day of treatment for lung cancer came as I left the radiation center, bullseyes for 34 more days of nuclear bombardment permanently tattooed across my chest. I already had been briefed at least twice on the Monday-through-Friday drill.
The very kind and professional nurse tried to give me a cheery goodbye as she walked me down the hall after my visit with the big “machine.”
“See you tomorrow,” she said.
My mind did a double take.
“Who?” I thought, wondering for a split second if she was talking to someone else. “Me?”