Lab Rats

Anticipation, slightly fearful. It creeps up me like moss climbing an oak tree. But moss is on the outside. This feeling, it starts to coat my insides. My emotions become choked: cut short by the tightness in my breast.

Be calm.

This too shall pass.

Look forward, beyond this. Let your internals breathe. Allow air, thick and nutritious, to feed your panicked mind. Oxygen seeps in and bathes me in clarity. Healthy, wholesome; it can happen.

Perhaps it will.

I went in, not sure whether I should be accepting this as a big deal, or playing it off. The piercings had to come out, minimal blood loss required.

I disrobed and sat on my gurney. The nurse had fled. The woman next to me was learning  how to keep the bladder wall from being irritated by her cathiter.  Nothing between me and the cold air but a napkin-thin hospital gown.

Naked, I thought. Exposed. Fragile.

And then I thought of all the children, grown or young, who go through this time and again. They are poked and prodded, and treated like lab rats. Their hair comes off along with their clothes. Not just once, but as many times as they can count IV pricks in the crook of their arms. I cried for them. Tears for the battered ones. Tears for this sick, sick world. Tears because of how easy it is to ignore the stench of death that surrounds us.

And I wanted to cry more but it seemed childish to do so. Tears can’t change a thing.