Last Sunday morning, Winslow interrupted our leisurely walk by following her nose into a black, satiny mass that was hiding under a bush.
“What the hell?” Pat said, straining to keep Coolidge from lifting his leg on the mystery object.
“Looks like someone’s panties,” I said, pulling Winslow aside to gingerly pick up the litter. “No, wait. It looks more like a wine bag – like you’d give as a gift.”
I pulled the black satin bag from the prickles and thorns. The interior was a jaunty black-and-white leopard print. Fastened with a satin drawstring with bejeweled ends, its tag read, Sugar Sak™: Protected with Bioshield 75®.
“Bioshield 75®? What would you put in there that needs Bioshield 75®?” Pat asked.
“Maybe it’s a bag to carry your panties? Like on the walk of shame?”
Then I wondered why the bottom of one’s purse wasn’t a suitable vessel? I mean, it’s not like you’re gonna wear them again before putting them in the laundry.
“Wait, there’s something inside,” he said. “Oh… it’s actual panties. There are panties inside.”
And never I have felt so alive: Lying in a hospital bed, the apheresis machine sucking stem cells from my veins for the better part of a workday. 6 hours, 10 minutes to be exact.
I reported for duty at Mayo Clinic Hospital at 7:15 AM in my favorite, long-sleeved dress-pajamas with my lucky New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Champions T-shirt underneath. They needed ready access to my veins, and I needed a good omen… or three.
Hello, tibia. Hello, fibula. Right back atcha,’ femoral head.
Unfolding from my fetal position among the dogs and husband, today I can feel my thoracic spine, right there at T5. The metacarpal bones of my right hand spent the fretful night reminding me that I am, in fact, right-handed.
This is my life on filgrastim – the stem-cell stimulating drug. I got two shots of it per day for five days leading up to and including the donation – one shot in each chicken wing, among the ample, subcutaneous margins of my triceps.
We lost a wonderful member of our poker group to cancer in May.
Ray was a man who rode jacks to ruin on more than one occasion. He had this crafty smile that crossed his cheeks whenever he was trying to figure out whether you were bluffing. He grilled a wicked Polish sausage and traded naughty barbs about his own Polish sausage, that resulted in a good laugh and a little blushing.
Old men are allowed do that, especially around the card table.
So when I learned of his passing, I called some of the players and proposed an idea that I’d seen on The Wire.