As I spoke with Dr. Smith, Mary Lou arrived with lunch – a meal represented by all the food groups: A Big Mac with a cheeseburger chaser, fries, a Coke and a strawberry milkshake. The good doctor looked askance at my choices.
While I appreciated Dr. Smith spending time with me, the time had come for us to depart. He needed to get the hell out of the way of my Mickey D's feast -- my poisonous reward.
Nosey nurse Robin's work station was near my recliner and I could see hear listening attentively to our conversation. After Dr. Smith left, she told her own cigarette story.
She said she quit smoking 10 years ago. She is over her nicotine addiction, but on busy, stressful days like today, she remembers the comfort a cigarette can provide.
Robin then revealed that a grandmother, her mother and her father all died of smoking-related cancers. She said she began smoking when she was 12 and continued even though she watched loved ones die. She kept smoking through her nursing training and after beginning her assignment in the oncology department.
She said she and her fellow nurses, including her supervisor, would smoke in a break room on the same floor as the oncology unit. What made her finally stop was the day she worked with a man with throat cancer and a tumor so large that he could not swallow his own saliva. They had to insert a tube into his throat to vacuum out his spit.
If Robin's story is not testament to the powers of nicotine, I'm not sure what is.
Not long after lunch, I stuck my ear buds in and, according to Lynn, passed out within seconds, complete with snores and feet tapping to the Dead. I was out around 20 minutes. I've become a perpetual napper. My energy reserves are growing shallow.
Mary Lou left to take Hanna to the Gathering Place for counseling. She needs help.
It rips my heart to know my baby needs it. There's nothing I can do. I just hope the good folks at the Gathering Place can find her some peace.