Little ice-melt pebbles crunch under our boots as we trace her daily path through the hospital doors. There’s a little “cover your cough” stand with sanitizer and paper masks. She takes a mask and stretches it over her head, two boney manicured hands, ring finger diamonds sparkling. The taunt white elastic band presses onto the delicate skin of the scar on her neck. We pass a gorgeous photograph of a bear cub playing with a moose antler on a river bank, a white porcelain Mary, and a chapel. The chapel intrigues me. The chapel bothers me, as if to say, you’re going to need to start praying.
We sit down with the naturopath in his office. He is a handsome Jewish man who looks you directly in the eyes when he speaks. My first impression was that he was too hurried. She mentions a GI tube consult she’s going to later. He explains the ridges of the GI system, what chemo/radiation can do to it, and why it’s better to eat orally rather than through a feeding tube. Use it or loose it. Out the huge windows of his office is a wide view of scratchy black trees clinging to the white sky and fogged mountains. I wonder what makes things grow upward, what the trees reach for, what is beyond. It’s a good distraction from listening to my mother talk about loosing her sense of taste, hair and will to eat. He tells me to feed her lots of Indian food, tumeric. He turns to her, “Do you like the taste of ginger?” He asks her about her skin, explains melatonin with drawings on scrap paper. She shows him all of the new freckles showing up on her neck and face. I think it’s the cutest fucking thing ever and it makes me want to jump out of my seat and hug her. I think about tattooing them on me. I think about the matching freckle we’ve always had on our left hands just below the thumb.
As the naturopath wraps up the appointment he tells me to start stealing Queezy Pops for her from the radiation desk. I decide I like him.