Jennifer Blanchard, MSN, RN, CWON
Submissions are welcome from oncologists, oncology nurses, and other cancer caregivers. E-mail only, please, to: OT@LWWNY.com, and include affiliation/title, address, and phone number, along with a photo, if available.
The hospital called to say that I was canceled for today. In fact, I made this private request in hopes that I could squeeze my family just a little closer than I did yesterday. I am uncomfortably numb but trying desperately to be present in each moment, while the kids play loudly on the trampoline and bounce carelessly towards the sky. The leaves have started to turn to a dingy light brown and crumble into pieces to the bitter cold hard earth.
The day I met you must have been one you would have rather canceled, yet you smiled through it all joking and laughing through many hours spent hooked up to an ugly mint green reclining chair. I carefully accessed your port of fragile thoughts and emotions to build rapport through veracity. The sun was beaming radiation through window panes with bright blue skies of wishful optimism. There was not much that I did not know about your life, your hopes, your dreams, your fears, and your hair; God you loved that full head of hair! I helped you shave off the lonely remnants and wipe the tears we shed on a day that could not be canceled. The heavy rain and hail was beating down the tin roof through the silent grayness of humanity's elephants in a room full of bald warriors bravely battling cancer.
You've been looking and feeling so much better these days and they said the stem cell transplant was quite successful. I thought you were just running a little late yesterday as I stared at the empty chair, but the truth is that you canceled on me unexpectedly, so now the frozen wind blows through me as the first snow of the season kisses my stinging wet face. The hospital called to say that I was canceled for today and I will hold my family much closer than I did before yesterday.
JENNIFER BLANCHARD, MSN, RN, CWON, a nationally Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse, previously worked as an oncology nurse in charge of a rural outpatient facility. She has been in nursing for more than 15 years and is now pursuing a PhD in the profession with a research focus on grief and loss. She currently works as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Saint Luke's College of Health Sciences in Kansas City, Missouri. She writes that she has enjoyed writing poetry for most of her life, but has never pursued publication until recently.