Every six months my life gets put on pause. I pack my bags with my mom by my side and together we make the five hour drive to the Cleveland Clinic. The week leading up to the appointment sends my body into a blur, as a numbing feeling takes over. As the emotions of a journey I’ve traveled for three years radiate throughout my body; I feel anger, frustration, happiness, relief, pain, fear, and so much more. Maybe it’s the fact that I never know exactly how the appointment will go that leads me to feel so many emotions. Maybe it’s that I have trusted my health and wellbeing to a human that until 4 years ago I had never even heard of. Maybe it’s the fact that I couldn’t heal things on my own.
Every six months I walk through the sliding doors and find myself standing in the middle of a huge facility buzzing with life and death literally. The white halls and white coats hustle every which direction and everyone seems to know exactly where they’re going, even I do. It’s a place that gives life and it’s a place that also loses life and you can feel that in the every step you take. It’s unlike any other hospital I’ve step foot in. It’s like what you would imagine hospitals to look like in the future almost. I will walk to the elevators and find my floor- pediatric neurology. I will ride the elevator up with my mom and we will get off and find ourselves in the old part of the hospital. The waiting room is stale and it doesn’t fill you with a sense of innovative care quite like the new part does. I’m taken back to a room with what I’m sure is filled with quite possibly the oldest equipment around. The exam table I’m sure is going to crumble under me someday. I don’t mind though, because as soon as He walks in the room it is filled with this overwhelming sense of security. He is like an angel to me, literally. I’m pretty sure that if it was possible he would have a glowing halo with fluffy wings and would float around everywhere he went instead of walking. I question why I look up to such a man, one that flipped my life upside down, but then works to turn it back around. I question how I can be just one of hundreds of files he calls his patients. I question why he chose to take on such patients like I, knowing he will most likely never be able to cure us, or give us the answer we are always looking for. I feel guilty questioning him when he chooses to help me.
Every six months I toss and turn in a hotel bed the night before my appointment, I never know what to expect and it keeps me up. I wonder if he will tell me I’m healing, or if he will tell me my health has declined since he last saw me. I wonder if he will pull out his white pad and write up for a new bottle of pills to try, or if he will decide it’s time to take a different approach. I realize that I leave my care in his hands, that I look to him when I am unsure of how I move forward with my health. It’s a funny thought really I place the care of my own body in someone else’s hands because I am unsure of how to deal with it myself. Maybe it’s more unsettling than funny but at this point all I can seem to do is laugh.
Every six months my life gets put on pause. The months in between seem to stretch on for far longer than six months, but the day always comes. At the end of the appointment he says he will see me again in six months and we laugh together at how old I will be by then and where I will be in life. Time then seems to go by fast when we look back on the last appointment but waiting for the next is slow. I always leave feeling either tremendously happy with what is ahead or feeling somewhat lost in what is to come. I hope that someday I can tell someone that I will see them in six months, that they will leave my office with a fire inside to tackle the world much like I often do. I hope that I will be able to tell someone what they searched to hear for so long but never did. I hope that someone will travel far and find comfort in my words.
I strive to give back for all that I’ve received. The pain and fear seems so minuscule when I realize what life used to be before I ever heard the words “I’ll see you back in six months”.