Friday, February 19, 2016

The In-Between

I have long adored J.M. Barrie's tale of Peter Pan and was delightfully charmed when Peter said he would wait for us between sleep and awake - the space where dreams are remembered and love is endless.  My brother called that drowsy spot BooBoo Land, a cozy suspended state between dual worlds.  Anyone who has experienced anesthesia may well know that warm and fuzzy place too. But as I found out recently, there is nothing warm and fuzzy about an in-between land where one waits for medical test results.  Scary medical tests.

Helping a loved one cope in the medical In-Between is as good as residing there yourself.  You want to take away the pain, the want it to be you and not them.  The endless "what-if's" expand and seep into every crevice of every thought...until the mind is bubbling and spouting like spreading lava.  Or perhaps I should just say I understand the phrase, "waiting to exhale" like never before.

My dear sister and I were in the In-Between for several weeks.  I'll stop here to tell you, she's going to be fine.  But the not-knowing nearly did us in.  And it got worse until it got better - to make it even more agonizing, we dealt with an appalling number of apathetic medical office staff, dropped phone calls, a doctor's sudden vacation was hell.

One night, I googled "how to cope while waiting for medical test results" and surprisingly found something called, "A Healing Prayer for a Sister Awaiting Medical Tests Results".  It was sweetly comforting and genuine and I shared it with my sis.  But there is no really good information on coping with life in the In-Between although I know it's a place nearly everyone gets to visit.

Throughout, my sister and I did learn a few things.  Numero Uno is that one must have hope however that manifests itself in your life (i.e., the found prayer).  Next, I would be careful with whom you share.  I cannot tell you how many people responded with an immediate "Yikes!" when I described what was going on.  I'll be very careful next time.  As best as one can, sticking to a routine is helpful as well as ice cream - the creamy full-fat kind.

In the end, my sister found out she will be made as right as rain.  The relief was immense.  And because she had been suspended for so long, she was exhausted.  So yesterday, she took the first flight out of In-Between and landed in BooBoo.

With love...I met her there.

PS:  Would love to hear how you coped on your trip to the In-Between.


  1. First, I am glad to read that your sister will be 'made right as rain'. We live in that in-between land a lot, as our son lives with leukemia. We'll go for a few months as normal as we can be and then be shot into that difficult place by a change in treatment or another bone marrow sample. I have found that it is very important to choose one's confidants carefully. Leave Facebook.Be careful of one's choice of reading material. Talk about next month, next summer, next year. Have great birthday, Christmas, Easter, whatever celebrations. Walk a lot.

    1. Second your suggestion of leaving Facebook...The other suggestions of choosing reading material carefully is very wise too. I'm so glad you shared. I find Grace Livingston Hill books to be very life-giving during times of medical stress. Thank you so much for sharing Pondside. It makes one feel much less alone.

  2. My father was ill with lymphoma a few years ago. I told just a few key friends whom I asked to pray for him; cut back on my career obligations where I could and kept in daily contact with my parents via e-mail and frequent phone calls. I'm glad that your sister is doing well; my father saw his oncologist last month and is still in remission. Christie

  3. I just found your blog and have been reading all your old posts. I smiled at many of your memories of the 60s but my life was quite different as a "field hand" along with my brother on our ranch in Montana. I was never expected to be a "girl" and have no memories of dating, proms,or pretty clothes. Thank you for sharing yours.

  4. What a lovely sharing, Donna. I know that your twin is so glad you're there for her. I just loved this! XO K

  5. So happy for your father, Christie!!!

  6. Thank you so much for your comment Gayle! Please keep reading.

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  8. Gosh, I'm going through this right now for myself(waiting for appointments for second opinions, waiting for records to be transferred, infernal apathetic employees, etc) and what seems to help me the most is what Abraham Lincoln said about steering from "point-to-point" and not focusing on the "what if's" and worse-case scenarios in my own mind. I've made the appointment for a second opinion, that's my next point and all I have to think about right now.

    My biggest problem as a reader (and librarian) is finding something to read in waiting rooms - it needs to be light and engaging but not silly. I've got a gossipy book about the Royal Family that fits the bill and I save it for waiting rooms.

    I'm also trying to inject as much humor into my daily life as possible - watching the final season of Parks and Recreation, which never fails to make me laugh + some books by David Sedaris. I feel like I need to laugh more these days, to counteract the worry.

    Anyway, that's what I've discovered so far.

    1. Amy, those are all good choices. I love what Lincoln said. My beau treats medical issues that way. He always believes his doctors have his best interest at heart and will take good care of him no matter what. Point to point. For waiting rooms, I find Instagram and Pinterest to be helpful. Or I bring along a favorite book like Simple Abundance.