At the hospital front entrance we waited for our cab and discussed anything but what was said in their private discussion. While the suspense was killing me, I wanted to hold off on asking her until we were in the comfort of familiar, safe surroundings.
“What did the doctor tell you? I finally blurted out, unable to wait. “It’s bad news, isn’t it?”
Mom met my gaze.
“Maybe we should discuss this at home.”
I knew she was probably right, but we were the only two people around.
“Mom, it’s my body. Can you please tell me now?”
She grabbed my hand and squeezed it,
“Honey, the doctors want to put you in the hospital to wean you off the steroids.”
“For how long?”
“Two to three months. But you’ll have your entire life ahead of you when you are discharged.”
“My entire life? But all my plans ...” I struggled to absorb what she'd said.
Mom gazed outside the window as if searching for our cab or perhaps a distraction, something that would make the news more palatable.
She looked back at me.
“If something isn’t done now,” she said plainly, “they think you won't live to be twenty.”
She gathered me in a hug as the words filtered through the sanitized air, and sunk into my brain.
Sure, the doctors had used the word ‘terminal’ before – but not recently. I still had so many things left to accomplish. I wanted to sing, graduate, learn to drive, go to Disneyland, fall in love, and deepen my relationships with friends and family.
Time – I needed more time.