“The anxiety of waiting is not continuously violent; it has its matte moments; I am waiting, and everything around my waiting is stricken with unreality.” -Roland Barthes
Today, sometime after 12:30 pm, my doctors will decide whether I will get a bone marrow transplant this month.
Those who are ill know that sickness goes hand in hand with waiting — waiting for doctors, appointments, test results, and most importantly, waiting for health and better days. As I sit in the Ruttenberg Center of Mount Sinai Hospital this morning, each passing minute lives in its own world.
Every second of every day of the past eight months has been spent waiting for news about my transplant — my only lifeline to the world of health and recovery. These last moments of suspense seem especially unfair. I am left to wonder: does patience have limits?
Disease infects both your body and your relationship with time. It not only robs you of your health, but it also usurps your dominion over time.
Eastern thinkers and spiritualists encourage us to live in the present. (I’m simplifying here, but you get my drift.) But all I have now is the present. Life-threatening illness brings a terrible clarity to the “now,” while simultaneously obscuring everything else.
I no longer see the boats on the horizon. They’re shrouded in fog.
From the moment I was diagnosed, I became a second-class citizen in the land of time. Illness corrupts one of life’s most blessed and delicious activities: daydreaming about the future, without fear.