I’m not sure when I realised. When I realised where I really was. I thought it was just any old hospital. It wasn’t.
I think it was when I saw the fifth couple enter the waiting room, both well past middle age and stooped slightly as though evil was bearing down on them…a mysterious intense evil, a demonic hardship, that everyone in my immediate vicinity seemed to be at the mercy of.
I looked around again. Purple and green shiny chairs lined up in rows, abstract paintings on the walls, various bright white corridors branching off in different directions. A very uninspiring space, really.
But there was a distinct energy in the air; something bright and vivid and unrelenting pressed against us as we sat there amongst the immense yet silent pain. It was a power, charging us all and beaming out through the windows and up into the sky above. It was born in this hospital, and couldn’t be contained. It was warm, gentle and soft, yet also stubborn, violently buzzing and unyielding. It was fighting with the invisible evil attacking us all.
I’d been in quite a few hospitals before this, but never one with quite as much aggressive hope bleeding from within it, nor this many patients clinging on tightly to it as they left their livelihood at the doors, in the hands of the professionals. I think that’s what gave it away, and when I realised.
This was not an ordinary hospital. This was a cancer hospital.
It was a building designed and operated within almost exclusively for the treatment (and killing of) cancer. I’d guess that more people who enter that building have cancer, than those who don’t. In all the time I’ve been treated there, I am constantly looking around me trying to pinpoint where the cancer is, who it’s preying on, which kind face I’m seeing will be the one who gets rid of it once and for all – and who won’t be so lucky. Yes. It’s a building full of cancer. Absolutely brimming, spilling over, with this odious disease. And yet…it’s equally full of positivity and determination and courage. You feel it in the air, everywhere. I find that truly astounding, and cannot get enough of it. I just hope it’s the same in other cancer hospitals – because honestly, that level of hope will help in curing.
It’s World Cancer Day.
So right now, all I want to do is shout-out and send infinite love. To the truly inspirational sufferers; the valiant families; the hard-working carers and the medical professionals. The doctors who have to tell patients what’s in them; the toddlers who can only breathe properly through tubes; the mums who tear their eyelashes out in the waiting rooms; the dads who have to tell their line managers they need time off; the older folks who can’t quite explain their illnesses to their grandchildren; the teenagers who race each other down hospital corridors in their wheelchairs; the children attend school in the funkiest headscarves. The people who see cancer hospitals time and time again.
But also the supporters. The ones who grow their hair long enough to cut off and donate ponytails; the ones who volunteer in charity shops or at table sales in the hospital reception area; the ones who run or walk or swim or sit; the ones who have the JustGiving process down to a fine art; the ones who read stories to the kids in the beds; the ones who contact celebrities to visit and make dreams come true; the ones who will never give up the fight for those they love and for afflicted strangers, too.
Trust me, this hideous illness would be even worse without your help.