Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Forever Changed

Nothing could have prepared me for New York City. Getting off the train, I was confronted with noise, people, smells and frenetic energy that I had never experienced in Madison. I was busily distracted by this heightened level of living when I realized we were getting into a taxi cab. Mom, Aunt Mary and I were squeezed into the back seat of this terribly hot cab, and before I had the time to take a breath, we flew out into traffic at a speed that amazed me. Our driver spent the entire trip screaming at other drivers. He swerved in and out of his lane, everyone seemed to get in his way. He was using some "naughty" words filled with raw emotions. I remember wondering what my mom was thinking about his bad language. I didn't recognize many of his word choices, but I was quite certain that if I used even one of them, I would get my mouth washed out with soap.
We safely arrived at the Barbizon Hotel. Having never been at a hotel, I was impressed with everything about it. There was a doorman, a check-in station, and a bellhop who helped us carry our luggage to our air conditioned room. This adventure was beyond anything I could ever have imagined, until at bedtime when Mom told me she had made an appointment to meet with a doctor who would give us information about the problem I was having with my eye. I told her I was confused because I didn't feel that I was having any problem. Well, that was the perfect opening for her to have a solemn talk with me about the possible seriousness of that white dot in my eye. She explained that we came to New York to meet with this special doctor who knew a lot about how to take care of the white dot.
On the way to the hospital where we were meeting Dr. Reese, I have a vivid memory of looking out the cab window at all the huge buildings that were slicing into the sky. I felt very small and fearfully intimidated by these giants. At that point, all I wanted was to go to the train station and head back to the safety of home. I was ready for this adventure to be over, although in reality the scary adventure was only beginning.
After the appointment I was informed that Dr. Reese wanted me to check into Columbia Presbyterian Hospital the next morning so that he could do the necessary surgery to remove the white dot. I kept thinking, "Then everything will be okay." I kept repeating that until falling asleep in the comfort of the air conditioned hotel room.

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