When I was escorted in, their pens snapped into place. Notebook binders popped open. The pages turned. The crowd’s carefree conversation shifted to monotone professionalism that eventually trailed off into slight murmurs, then into a haunting hush. My neurologist began talking in a foreign tongue, medical jargon too lofty for me to understand. The eager medical students feasted their eyes upon me. I was more than a scripted textbook. This was for real.
My forehead fell against the cool panes of the window. My breath fogging up the glass with every exhale, I watched the residue evaporate with every inhale. I stood motionless, helpless. It was the first time I questioned my existence. I wanted to extrapolate answers, and the reasoning to all of this. The explanation never came…in my time. There I stood breathing in, breathing out. I peered into a reflection only to see my blue eyes staring back at me.
I waited. This day a dismal gray lingered. Standing in the halls of the UC San Francisco Medical Center atop a hill with obstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge, I was beyond tears. I was a worn out well where the sieve had run dried. I was fatigued, emotionally numbed by all that had transpired. My soul was cast into perplexity, garnished with anxiety, and filled with an anger brewing to the onslaught of rage. I would be sentenced to a life for something I did not deserve.
San Francisco is a city that demonstrates exuberance. The skyline builds an ambiance bigger than life. The bridges span the bay. The spiraling spotlights protect the harbors. The white caps dance upon the surface of the deep. They spray a mist as the waves clash. Generated by strong winds, the chill cuts a reddening to your skin. The seagulls squawk. The cable cars clang, rattling along the rails. Pungent smells of crab and lobsters infiltrate the air. I have fond memories standing on that water’s edge.
This day would be all too different. The electricity of the city life I cherished fizzled when my vibrant world of adolescence loomed in utter darkness. It dismantled all the dreams once hovering as that beacon of hope. The day I was diagnosed, I screamed -“Just cut my neck off!” As I fidgeted and jerked my body away from that medical forum, the door slammed thundering an echo throughout the corridor. The gavel banged down. The verdict was in. Oh, how I wished this had been a dream! I was living a nightmare.